Fashion giant H&M has entered into a joint venture with German waste management company Remondis to create a Fashion company aimed at collecting and classifying second hand and used textile waste for potential resale. Looper Textile – which is 50% owned by each company – has said its aim is to be the reference provider for companies and innovators involved in the resale and recycling of used textiles, according to an article published by Modaes.
As it begins its operations in Europe, Looper aims to collect around 40 million used garments this year. It will also test new collection and sorting systems and form other partnerships centered around reuse and recycling. The European Commission approved the joint venture in December 2022, and H&M Group’s commercial director Emily Bolon was named as its CEO, while Remondis’ COO Marc Shubert will take up the COO position at Looper.
Launching its first sustainable collection in 2011 and partnering with many sustainable start-ups through its investment arm Co:Lab, H&M has been seen as a fashion pioneer for sustainable and circular strategy. However, it has also been accused of “greenwashing” in its clothing campaigns – a practice used to exaggerate claims that its products benefit the environment.
The joint venture was formed in anticipation of the European legislation on extended producer responsibility – forcing retailers to take ownership of the collection and processing of textiles. Companies are able to meet specific objectives either individually or through a collective group. H&M is already part of a group created in Spain, which also includes Inditex, Mango, Tendam, Decathlon, Kiabi and Ikea.
Other industry players look set to follow the trend of sustainability collaborations. Textile giant Inditex is looking for possible collaborators and suppliers to launch its second-hand platform in Spain. The report notes this also indicates that Zara “Pre Owned” not only facilitates the purchase and sale between individuals, but also the adjustment and reparation of garments.
While brands are prioritizing actions with second hand clothing, the EPR must include a strategy to circulate their unsold stocks, all the new clothing that is brand new and has never been used. The priority for these garments should be to reach their first wear before entering second hand or waste treatment cycles, in order to respect the resources allocated in its production. Best practices focus on finding international outlets and distributors outside of their main markets to find a circular and economical solution for their unsold goods, while avoiding competition of their own discount collections within their main markets with new collections.