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Circular Textile and Apparel in India - Policy Intervention Priorities and Ideas

  • Published on April 28, 2022

This paper highlights how circular economy can benefit the apparel and textile sector, and how policy interventions can support the transition.

The Indian apparel and textile sector contributes significantly to the Indian economy in terms of manufacturing, employment, exports and GDP contribution. This report was created to summarise the scope and potential of circular economy in transforming the apparel and textile (A&T) sector in India. The A&T sector is a crucial component of India’s economic backbone. It contributes about 2% to India’s GDP, and employs about 10.5 crore workers in the A&T and allied sectors. But the sector has a high impact in terms of environmental pollution. Given India’s commitment to improve its environmental performance while expanding its economy, circular economy can show the way forward, by promoting resource efficiency (RE) and helping in creating new business models.

CRB’s work on circular economy is motivated by the fact that sectoral RE policies are not yet formulated. Sectoral RE policies must be prepared and integrated in the national RE plan so that the full potential of “Green Growth” could be achieved. Circular Economy is a promising production and consumption paradigm that can help promote resource efficiency. It can minimize resource use impacts and create new jobs in almost all sectors of the Indian economy.

When circular economy priorities are linked with social benefits such as fair wages, good working conditions, augmented by transparency in business practices, opportunities open up for businesses to cater to global value chains. The A&T sector can especially benefit from such a “social circular economy”. It can boost exports by adhering to global norms and voluntary sustainability standards, while create new jobs by prompting and formalizing activities such as recovery, repurpose, repair, and recycling of garments, post-production and post-consumer textiles, etc.

This paper aims to highlight the potential of circular economy for the A&T sector and highlight policy interventions to support a transition of the current linear economy. It provides an overview of the sector and some components of circular economy, along with the priority areas that need focus in the coming years.

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