Stella McCartney, Burberry and H&M vow to cut down plastic waste

Executives at Stella McCartney, Burberry and H&M have vowed to cut down on plastic waste.In the face of the world’s plastic crisis, officials at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have launched the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment in collaboration wi…

Executives at Stella McCartney, Burberry and H&M have vowed to cut down on plastic waste.

In the face of the world’s plastic crisis, officials at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have launched the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment in collaboration with UN Environment, with the strategy aiming to eliminate plastic waste and pollution at the source.

In addition to McCartney, Burberry and H&M, bosses at fashion retailer Inditex – which owns Zara – have also agreed to cut back on plastic, while other companies who have committed to the initiative include Danone, L’Oreal, Mars, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, and Unilever.

“Plastic waste and pollution is one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our age,” said Burberry chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti in a statement.

While Cecilia Brannsten, environmental sustainability manager at H&M, echoed the Burberry executive’s sentiment.

“Plastic waste and pollution is a big global environmental challenge,” she commented. “There is no single brand that can tackle this industry-wide challenge on its own. We must act as one voice and the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment is a big step in the right direction, as it will align business and governments on a common agenda and time frame.”

The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment has been signed by 290 organisations, representing 20 per cent of all plastic packaging produced globally.

Targets in the scheme include the elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging, a move from single-use packaging models, ensuring 100 per cent of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled, or composted by 2025 and circulating the plastic produced.

“We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year,” added Ellen MacArthur of the initiative. “We need to move upstream to the source of the flow… This is just one step on what will be a challenging journey, but one which can lead to huge benefits for society, the economy and the environment.”

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Nike, H&M, Burberry and Gap pledge to lessen waste

Nike, H&M, Burberry and Gap have joined Stella McCartney in signing up to an initiative aimed at reducing fashion’s waste.McCartney, an advocate for sustainable fashion, was the first to board the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular sc…

Nike, H&M, Burberry and Gap have joined Stella McCartney in signing up to an initiative aimed at reducing fashion’s waste.

McCartney, an advocate for sustainable fashion, was the first to board the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular scheme last year, with global brands soon following her lead and pledging to recycle raw materials and products.

“Over the past 15 years clothing production has doubled, while the amount of time we wear those clothes before throwing them away – usually to be landfilled or incinerated – has fallen dramatically,” Francois Souchet, head of Make Fashion Circular, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“We can change this ever faster model into one in which clothes are never seen as waste, through better design and new leasing and resale business models.”

Working with HSBC bank, the brands and designers part of the initiative will spend three years finding new ways to lessen the amount of pollution they are putting out.

A report by the foundation found that less than one per cent of clothing is recycled, and half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres, the equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles, are released from washed clothing annually, adding to the high levels of ocean pollution seen around the globe.

H&M spokesman Inigo Saenz Maestre spoke to Business of Fashion about the retailer’s decision to join the foundation.

“There is no single company that can solve the challenge of shifting the whole industry from a linear to a circular business model on its own, that is why a collaborative approach is crucial,” Maestre said.

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