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Clothing and Textiles: Sustainable Development

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 58081, tabled on 10 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support environmental sustainability in the fashion and textile industries.

Answered on

17 June 2020

In the landmark Resources and Waste Strategy for England (2018), the Government committed to develop policy measures to promote sustainable practices in the clothing and textiles industries. We are continuing to work with industry through WRAP on the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), and are currently engaged in developing an ambitious new phase of the voluntary agreement for 2021-2030. The most recent figures show that between 2012 and 2018 signatories to the SCAP reduced their water and carbon footprints by 18.1% and 13.4% respectively.

We are seeking enabling powers in the Environment Bill to introduce ecodesign and product information requirements, subject to consultation. Through secondary legislation these requirements could be applied to support durable, repairable, and recyclable textiles. We also identified textiles in the Resources and Waste Strategy as a priority area on which to consult for an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme.

We are supporting the textiles reuse and recycling sector, which has experienced particular challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, through the WRAP-administered Resource Action Fund. The textiles fund makes a total of £1.5 million available, for small grants of £20 000 to £170 000. Our plans to promote sustainable practices in the textiles sector will be built on and enhanced in a new Waste Prevention Programme, which is currently in development.