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Fashion companies unite to create digital ID to enable circularity

By Marjorie van Elven


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“Circularity” is replacing “sustainability” as the buzzword in the fashion industry. After all, it doesn’t suffice for companies to rethink the materials and energy used to produce their clothing, they should also take responsibility for the entire life cycle of the product.

With this idea in mind, H&M, Target, C&A Foundation, PVH Corp, Microsoft, Waste Management and other academic, design and sustainable fashion organizations have joined forces to create CircularID, a unique digital identity permanently attached to the physical product. The initiative is titled Connect Fashion.

H&M, PVH Corp, Target and Microsoft team up in circularity initiative

Similar to a tag, CircularID will use technologies like RFID, NFC, QR Code and UPC barcode to provide data that’s useful at the end of the product’s lifecycle, such as product name, brand, SKU, color, description, manufacturing location, material content, the dye process used, as well as recycling instructions.

The tool will also help the resale industry, which is expected to grow to 51 billion US dollars in the United States alone in five years. Products with a CircularID will have a “digital passport”, meaning a record of all its transactions, making it easier for resellers to authenticate and price the product.

The idea is to establish a global standard for the identification and management of products in a circular economy. If every brand adopts CircularID, it will be much easier to reuse, resale, repair, rent and recycle products. By leveraging the Internet of Things and Digital Identity to power intelligence, communication and transparency, it’s possible to unlock a global circular future,” said Shelley Bransten, Corporate Vice-President of Global Retail and Consumer Goods at Microsoft, as quoted by CircularID’s website.

The founding members of the initiative are currently inviting other players in the industry to give them feedback ahead of CircularID’s planned launch in November.

Image: Facebook page of the Connect Fashion Global Initiative

C&A Foundation
Circular Economy
Connect Fashion Global Initiative
PVH Corp