Outlook for a new textile economy in China banner

Outlook for a new textile economy in China

The fashion industry is in the process of rethinking how it manufactures, consumes and disposes of textiles and apparel. Circular fashion is an industrial system conceived by various stakeholders as a solution for bringing about sustainable industrial development. The vision is in line with the principles of a circular economy and aims to maximize the value of fiber, textile and apparel in use and recycling, reduce the consumption of natural resources and the generation of waste, and thus reshaping the textile industry towards a more resilient and responsible future.

China's textile and apparel industry plays an important role in the global fashion industry, and its circular economy transition is crucial to the future of global circular fashion and will have a profound impact on its development. On the one hand, China is the world's largest textile and apparel producer and exporter. In 2018, China's total fiber processing volume accounted for more than 50% of the world's total fiber processing volume, and China's textile and apparel export volume accounted for about 35% of the global total. 

On the other hand, China is also one of the largest textiles and apparel consumer markets in the world, and one of the top three markets for many well-known fashion brands and companies. With the expanding new middle class groups and increasing consumption awareness, the potential of China's textile and apparel market to be the industry driver of sustainable consumption will be further boosted.

With increasing pressure on both resources and the environment, it is imperative to accelerate the circular economy transformation of the industry and expand the scope of practices.

China is building an ecological civilization and accelerating its circular transition. Circular fashion is of great significance for China's textile and apparel industry to cope with various complex resource and environmental challenges. At this stage of development, China's textile and apparel industry has put forward a vision for a new textile economy in China to keep pace with the nation's circular development strategy as well as the developments in international circular fashion. The vision is to build a green, circular, and low-carbon textile and apparel industry system, so as to improve the resource efficiency of the industry and reduce the resource consumption and the negative impact on the environment. The new textile economy recommends five goals addressing raw materials, design, production, consumption and after use.
The goals include:

  • Goal 1. Optimize the raw material structure to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resource
  • Goal 2. Turn to textile design based on the principles of a circular economy.
  • Goal 3. Further improve resource efficiency in production.
  • Goal 4. Innovate business models and expand green consumption. Goal 
  • 5. Upgrade the quality and efficiency of textile waste recycling.

This Report has been published by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and produced by the Sustainability Stewardship Department of the Office for Social Responsibility of the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), who take full responsibility for its contents and conclusions.

You can access the report HERE.


Trademarks and copyrights are owned by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and information is based on publicly available data. Ubuntoo is not affiliated with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation


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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

October 27, 2020
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