Circular business models, like clothing resale and subscription rental, are taking off - but can they ever fully replace today's retail models and deliver the radical sustainability improvements we need?
Experts and practitioners agree that simply improving upon today's take-make-waste linear business models will not ensure the apparel industry can operate within the planet's ecological boundaries. Instead, a new circular economy is needed and thus new circular business models. Circular business models, like resale and rental, are not actually new. But up until a few years ago, models like these were marginal, primarily employed by second hand stores and charity shops. How things have changed! Today, nearly every major brand has a circularity department working to develop and test these circular models as a means to increase their market share, profitability and sustainability performance. So is this the radical breakthrough we have all been waiting for? And will these models, if scaled, deliver the environmental and social benefits advocates are promoting?
To get updated, Michael invited three industry pioneers - Gwen Cunningham, Lead of Circle Economy's Textiles Programme and Switching Gear Project, Jeff Denby, co-founder of The Renewal Workshop, and Sam Gillick-Daniels from WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) - to weigh in. If you are interested in getting updated on the current state of circular apparel business models and the challenges and opportunities facing them, this episode is for you.