Department of Fashion works with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to eliminate plastic pollution

Ellen MacArthur Foundation
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Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Ravensbourne University London’s Department of Fashion have signed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global commitment to “eradicate plastic waste and pollution at the source”.

The commitment was launched at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali in October, aiming to create ‘a new normal’ to reduce the production of plastic packaging. The targets set will be reviewed every 18 months and become increasingly ambitious as time progresses. The businesses that have signed up to the pledge will be required to publish annual data on their progress towards the targets for transparency, and to encourage other organisations to join.

The full list of signatories features over 250 organisations including major retailers, packaging producers, NGOs and other educational institutes including the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sussex.

As part of the exchange, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation provided learning resources for Ravensbourne, which informed the BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Brand Management course’s new ‘Manufacturing and Sustainability’ unit, to be introduced in 2019.

Caroline Gilbey, Programme Director for the Department of Fashion, said: “When approached by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we had no hesitation in signing up to their commitment to accelerating the circular economy. It is well known that historically, the fashion industry has been one of the worst in terms of carbon footprint, ecological damage and social sustainability. At Ravensbourne, we are passionate about educating our students about their capacity to change all this in the future. It is time for our future fashion professionals to lead the way, turning this reputation around through education. Our students will graduate with an understanding of slow fashion, sustainable design, traceability, responsible sourcing and working towards a circular economy.

“We already offer a unique opportunity to our students to learn about the circular economy first hand through an educational visit to a sustainable manufacturing plant in Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka. We also place a strong focus on developing new sustainable materials on our Fashion Accessory and Textile Futures course so students are made to consider using components that have already had a use and may have another use again in the future. So the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s mission is completely in line with our own.”

Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year. We need to move upstream to the source of the flow. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment draws a line in the sand, with businesses, governments and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic. This is just one step on what will be a challenging journey, but one which can lead to huge benefits for society, the economy and the environment.”

Find out more about the pledge on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website.