Circle Economy one of five global partners funded by the C&A Foundation

June 19, 2018

The "Circular Activation Project" will guide 6 leading brands towards circular business model innovation and help to bridge the implementation gap in the textiles industry.

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Circle Economy is proud that the “Circular Activation Project” is one of the supported initiatives in which 6 pioneering brands will be guided through a circular innovation process toward new business model innovation in the area of recommerce and renting/leasing. C&A Foundation announced its decision yesterday about the awardees of the open global call about “Bridging the Gap’  in the implementation of the circular economy in the Apparel Sector”

“Circle Economy is delighted to be selected and we we are incredibly thankful to the C&A Foundation for their continued support. The”Circular Activation Project” aims to uncover and overcome the internal and external barriers that brands face towards the implementation of circular business models. Circle Economy will guide them through a Circular Innovation Process and work with brands to design and launch recommerce and renting/leasing pilots. I believe that disruptive circular business models are the next frontier for the fashion industry and we are extremely excited to kick off this next phase of important work.

Gwen Cunningham, Lead Circle Textiles Team, Circle Economy

In total, five pilot initiatives have been selected by C&A Foundation as part of its open request for proposals to bridge the gap in the implementation of circular business models at all levels of the global apparel value chain. This will also give a major boost to the C&A Foundation’s commitment to make circular fashion a reality. The Bridging the Gap’s partners will complement existing industry initiatives working towards a circular fashion industry, including Fashion for Good, Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular and Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment.

Circular business models are essential to transforming the fashion industry and creating a system that provides safe and just working conditions regenerates ecosystems and strengthens economies and communities. However, while many brands and retailers are showing an interest in a circular economy, few are redesigning their business models to make it happen. The key question is how businesses will adopt them for their own company.

Douwe Jan Joustra, Head of Circular Transformation, C&A Foundation, said: “We are delighted to have found these five partners. It is time to move the discourse on circular fashion from words to deeds, and each of these initiatives will develop and share unique insights into how we can do this.”

The initiatives include:

London Waste and Recycling Board and QSA Partners: Creative Circular Economy Business Models

This London-based initiative will provide one-to-one support to four retailers and lead each company through a tried and tested process for developing circular business models. Three retailers will then pilot a circular business model by the end of 2020 and commit to permanently bringing these offers to market by May 2021.

Circle Economy: The Circular Activation Project

This Europe-based initiative will uncover the operational barriers to circularity and build a circular innovation process to be piloted by six brands or retailers by October 2020. A multidisciplinary team will guide brands through the process, increasing their capacity to overcome barriers towards implementation of re-commerce and renting/leasing circular business models. The lessons learned throughout the process will be used to develop a suite of commercially viable offline activation tools for widespread use by brands and retailers.

Forum for the Future: Circular Leap Asia Programme

This initiative will support the uptake of circular business models in Asia by developing six new types of partnerships between upstream and downstream companies in apparel. A large proportion of apparel manufacturing typically operate on thin margins and face significant barriers to the uptake of circular approaches in their businesses. The proposed new partnerships will enable joint innovation and the collective sharing of lessons learned through a summit for practitioners of circular fashion. It will also result in a series of recommendations for industry-led advocacy focused on the policy shifts that promote circular fashion in Asia.

World Resources Institute and WRAP: Market Makers

This initiative will challenge the status quo by demonstrating the market demand for clothing reuse models in over 20 major apparel brands in the USA, UK, and India. It will assess consumer demand, pilot innovative business models, provide a common approach to impact assessment, and identify policies, regulations, and incentives that increase clothing re-utilisation in each geographic location.

MADE-BY and Global Action Plan: Love Every Fibre of Your Being

In this initiative, brand executives from British based retailers and young women will come together through workshops and panels to co-create prototype business offerings and brand messaging for circular business models that aim to improve the mental well-being of young women. The best ideas will be packaged into installations and shared with the public around a popular fashion event such as London Fashion Week.


Interested to learn more about Circle Economy’s work in the textiles industry or want to become a participating brand in the project? 

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