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Sustainability is a growing driver of brand choice - Fashion has opportunities across life-cycle

Sustainability is a growing driver of brand choice for Consumers, particularly youth. But most industries have a long way to go to achieve circularity, e.g., for Fashion Apparel, under 1% of clothing is recycled back into new clothing in California.

Fashion industry generated about 4% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally in 2018.

🌿 McKinsey’s Mar’22 report highlights opportunities for apparel circularity in California where consumers tend to be on leading edge of “green” causes:

  • “80% call sustainability important when selecting a fashion brand to buy

  • 72% are more loyal to brands that use sustainably sourced or recycled materials.”

🎯 Appropriate marketing to target audiences is (always) key, as there are key differences across age groups:

  • Younger Californians (18-34-years-old) feel more strongly about promoting sustainability and are willing more to pay almost 15% more for apparel made with recycled materials. They are more deliberate selecting which fashion brand to buy, considering origin of materials.

  • Older Californians (55-65+) are less inclined, perhaps due to more fixed buying habits and being less willing to experiment with different products. Also, brands marketing to older consumers may focus less on talking about recycled materials, leaving these consumers less exposed to them.

👗 McKinsey notes “Circularity has three dimensions that would reshape the typical fashion lifecycle:

  1. REDUCE: How can we design and manufacture products that use more safe, recycled, or renewable textile materials (e.g., organic cotton)?

  2. REUSE: How can we keep products in use longer (e.g., increase accessibility to resale or secondhand markets)?

  3. RECYCLE: How can we turn used textile materials that have reached the end of their useful life into new, high-quality materials that can re-enter the fashion value chain?”

While above is noted for Fashion, similar thinking can be applied towards building more sustainable solutions across most industries.


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