Recycled fibers for circular economy - The case of the fashion industry
Abstract: Some fashion companies have started to use recycled fibers to improve their sustainability practices, as it is a way to implement circularity into their business. By combining the theoretical frameworks of stakeholder theory, socio-technical (ST) systems and sustainable business models (SBM), this study discusses how the current business models of fashion companies relate to the concept of circular economy and what fashion companies’ future perspectives are. Based on a case study approach, empirical data was collected on six Nordic fashion companies: Acne Studios, Filippa K, Ganni, House of Dagmar, Gina Tricot and Pure Waste. Both fastfashion and high-fashion companies are reviewed, as their approach to business and sustainability differ. Drivers, challenges, partnerships, future perspectives to recycled fibers are discussed for each company and put in relation with the concept of circular economy. Additional circular initiatives from the companies are considered. The key findings indicate that fashion companies are motivated to use recycled fibers because of their sense of responsibility and wish to continue doing their business. Their future goals, collaborations and additional circular initiatives depicts a forward-looking attitude hopeful about the potential of sustainability. This study contributes to the understanding of implementation of circularity elements from a corporate perspective in the fashion sector, and what is needed to further implement and develop the use recycled fibers.
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