Delivering on circularity: the fashion industry's role in transitioning to a circular economy
21 Jun 2022
DHLs whitepaper ‘Delivering on circularity’ explores the changes required to move to a sustainable future
The baseline: Recognizing the significant environmental impact of the fashion industry
The fashion industry is responsible for a large share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts - including resource, land and water use, as well as waste. This puts the industry in a prime position to embrace the circular economy, and keep in line with global sustainability targets.
The mission: Unlocking the potential that Circularity holds for net-zero
Up to 80% of emissions of an average fashion item accrue during production, so extending the product lifetime as much as possible is essential. The 4 Rs provide the critical dimensions to achieve circularity, by - Reducing use of virgin materials in production, Repairing products to extend their first lives, Reselling products to new owners, and Recycling products at end of life into materials for new production. Giving products a second life can curb emissions by 55 to 75% per item compared with producing new from virgin materials.
To transition to a circular economy requires a change at the heart of the supply chain. Materials, products, and packaging must be innovated, agile production and novel use concepts launched, and smart product return and recycling processes developed. To bring these elements to life, supply chains need to be designed in a circular way, ensuring visibility and close orchestration throughout, and establishing new consumer behaviors.
The call for action: Collective stakeholder action needed
While the successful transition toward circularity is certainly a shared responsibility, logistics players are the natural backbone by facilitating new business models. Circularity changes the way materials and products move – from a straight line to a regenerative circle – to extend the lifetime of products and raw materials. Visibility backed by digital technologies will be a central anchor to master the increasing complexity of the flow of goods and ensure ease of use for consumers.
These activities are at the core of what we do at DHL, since sustainability is part of DHL’s DNA. Through GoGreen initiatives and working practices the group aims to be net-zero by 2050 as the first logistics company.
The #2030Goals will help DHL to get there by targeting the reduction of our emissions to under 29MT, the use of more than 30% sustainable aviation fuel for all air transport, electrifying 60% of last mile delivery vehicles, the use of carbon neutral design for all new buildings and finally offering green alternatives for all of our core products and solutions.
Want to know more?
In the white paper ‘Delivering on circularity’, DHL has laid out the ways in which global production and consumption behaviors will need to change to be compatible with the environmental goals that lie at the core of sustainability.