The definitions of key concepts as they are defined in this report are detailed below. These are listed in order of relevance to one another (i.e. linked concepts are grouped together) as opposed to alphabetically. An alphabetical list of these key concepts and other relevant report terminology is included in the Glossary.
The concept of goods, services and systems adhering to circular economy principles and therefore being suitable for consistent circulation within the economy.
The concept of a product adhering to circular economy principles and therefore being suitable for consistent circulation and reuse by consumers and/or businesses.
Raw material circularity
The concept of raw materials adhering to circular economy principles and therefore being suitable for consistent circulation and reuse by industry.
The concept of designing products and services in line with the principles of a circular economy. Using sustainable materials and designing out waste and pollution represent fundamental first steps. The overarching focus is to preserve the value of a safe-to-use product or service for as long as possible by designing for upgradeability/modularity, repair/refurbishment, and reuse. Recognising that end-of-life can be inevitable for some products, the focus shifts to maximising the sustainability of the end-of-life process by designing for redesign, disassembly, and recycling. Within this, circular clothing design refers to designs that use recycled and renewable materials (and/or post-production offcuts), and designs for emotional and physical durability, reuse, repair, redesign, modularity, disassembly, and recyclability.
An economic system in which raw materials are extracted, transformed into goods and services, consumed, and ultimately disposed of as waste. This is currently the dominant system in the global economy.
This report uses the related terms linearity and linear to describe activities, processes and flows that are characteristic of a linear economy. An economic system that eschews traditional linearity and is built on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.
Circular and sharing business models (CSBMs)
Business models, such as clothing rental or subscription schemes, that minimise the material used and waste produced while maximising the value of materials and products by keeping them in use for as long as possible, if not permanently. These models promote a focus on the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit.
A dynamic network of interconnected actors operating within a bounded geographical space.
Just and fair transition
A transition that ensures that the unprecedented opportunities and benefits on offer are shared equitably across society so that all have access to a viable, prosperous, and secure future.
An individual, group, or party who has an interest in, or who is affected by, the operation and outcomes of the UK’s fashion ecosystem. In this report, we make reference to 13 stakeholder groups that span the fashion ecosystem: Academia; Brands; Collectors; Consumers; Designers; Digital Innovators; Government; Institutions, industry bodies and third sector; Investors; Logistics Providers; Manufacturers; Reprocessors; and Retailers. Definitions for each stakeholder are included in the Glossary.
As defined by the Brundtland Report (1987): “[...] development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The state in which we are able to meet all of our needs within the ecological boundaries of the planet. These needs range from minimum standards for education, housing, social equality, income, and health to the basic provision of food, water, and energy. Meeting them within the ecological boundaries of the planet means that we must stop damaging and demanding too much of our planetary environment.
Synthetic or natural raw material that is derived from the recycling of used textiles and other fashion related materials and either suited to replacing virgin inputs for new clothing manufacturing or suited to use in alternative applications and industries.
Enabling the preservation or enhancement of the planet’s resources and environment.
A recycling process which restores fibres to their original raw material state, with no degradation in quality. This allows for the fibres to be continually reused in the same application, creating a closed loop of constant circulation.
Raw materials that are naturally replenished at a faster rate than they are consumed.
The number of times that a product is used by a consumer.