Circular Economy Practice Applied to Reverse Logistics : A Multiple Case Study from Fashion Retailers Perspective

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: The fashion industry has been criticized due to environmental issues, such as the causation of increased scarcity of landfills, hazardous emissions, and exhaustion of non-renewable resources. At the same time, customers, and governments require organizations within the industry to be transparent, offer sustainable consumption, and take responsibility for textile waste. The proposed solution for this is called circular economy (CE), which aims to present a circular system where the value of materials, resources, and products is preserved in the economy for as long as possible. Reverse logistics, referring to managing product returns, end-of-life processing followed by recovery operations, has been stated to be the primary component of CE. Thus, there has been a research gap on how CE practice can be applied to reverse logistics within the fashion industry. To enrich the literature in the field, the purpose of this study is to describe and analyze how sampled Swedish founded fashion retailers state that they apply CE practice to reverse logistics. The methodology applied was a multiple case-study, using semi-structured interviews and official documents. Driving forces that were stated as reasons for applying CE practice to reverse logistics were categorized into three main categories: environmental, social, and economic forces. They were linked to the theory of institution. Signs of all types of isomorphism was shown in the research. This could explain why fashion retailers stated that they performed similarly causes of actions. The stated approaches were divided into four main categories: product-service system, clothing collection, direct redistribution, and reuse or recycling. These categories included the following practical activities: 1) product care and leasing service, 2) in-store clothing collection, 3) sales in outlet stores, sales in second-hand stores, and donating garments to charity and, 4) collaboration with a recycling organization, reuse, and producing and selling upcycled collections. Thus, before implementing the approaches the design and production stage had to be considered.

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