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CASE STUDY: Greening the fashion and textile sector

Inspiration from the Nordic Region
23 January 2019
  • Consumer Information for SCP
  • Sustainable Lifestyles and Education
Picture of fashion / clothing on hangers
The global fashion and textile sector is an engine of global growth and development with a €1.5 trillion turnover in 2016, and the employment of some 60 million people (Fashion United, 2016). At the same time the consumption of textiles is the most environmentally impacting European consumption area after mobility, food and housing (EEA, 2013; JRC, 2014; Tucker et al, 2006).
There is a dire need for more sustainable approaches across the full value chain of textiles; in the way clothing is produced and marketed, how consumers gain access to and treat their clothing and through squeezing as much as possible utility out of products and the materials they contain via a circular economy.
The Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM), the intergovernmental forum for the Nordic governments has been encouraging this green transition since 2012. It has commissioned no less than 16 projects in that time. A number of these were projects were developed under the umbrella of a Nordic Action Plan for Sustainable Fashion and Textiles, Well-dressed in a Clean Environment that was adopted in 2015. 

The NCM projects have a wide range of focus and many different types of outputs. Much of what has been developed – publications, guidelines and tools – has relevance outside the Nordic region. This work deserves to be spread to help build capacity in other regions.

As a first step in disseminating these works, summaries of 15 the projects and links to their main outputs have been uploaded to the OPN site. Links to the 15 summaries are provided below.  

The longer term plan is to create a Sustainable Textile and Fashion Hub hosted by the Programme on Sustainable Lifestyles and Education on the One Planet network website. The vision is to create a hub with the Nordic resources at its core but which quickly expands to include relevant resources from around the world. Stakeholders will be encouraged to upload their own relevant resources and initiatives and link them to relevant parts of the textile value chain. The Hub will act as a key catalyser and gathering point for policy makers and stakeholders interested in engendering a green transition in the global value chain of textiles and fashion.


  • Consumer Information for SCP
  • Sustainable Lifestyles and Education
Case study
Certification, Circularity, Consumer goods, Eco-labels, Innovation, Lifecycle, Lifestyles, Systems change, Textiles, Value chain, Waste, Water
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