Next Article in Journal
(Un)Heard Voices of Ecosystem Degradation: Stories from the Nexus of Settler-Colonialism and Slow Violence
Previous Article in Journal
Trust, Power, and Tax Risk into the “Slippery Slope”: A Corporate Tax Compliance Model
Previous Article in Special Issue
Fashion-as-a-Service: Circular Business Model Innovation in Retail
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

The Carrot or the Stick? Stakeholder Support for Mandatory Regulations towards a Circular Fashion System

Unit Sustainable Materials Management, Flemish Institute for Technological Research, VITO NV, 200 Boeretang, 2400 Mol, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14671;
Received: 27 September 2022 / Revised: 28 October 2022 / Accepted: 31 October 2022 / Published: 8 November 2022


In recent years, fast fashion has boosted global production and consumption, decreasing the lifespans of garments and increasing volumes of discarded textiles which are neither reusable or recyclable. Consequently, multiple visions and strategies regarding circular fashion have been developed, addressing a broad range of features pertaining to a potential circular fashion system. Most remain vague about concrete ambitions and policy measures. However, the design of transition pathways involves a good understanding of the policy instruments among stakeholders that operate in a globalized industry with complex value chains. In this study, we investigate stakeholder support for policy instruments that could contribute towards a circular and sustainable fashion system. We identify 30 aspects of a circular fashion system, based on a screening of visions and strategies published by supranational bodies, NGOs, and sectoral organizations. Then, we present survey and focus group results, displaying broad stakeholder support for government intervention, particularly mandatory regulations. A plausible explanation is the prisoner’s dilemma most stakeholders face regarding global value chains, indicating the need for a more level playing field. We identify and address the differences between stakeholder preferences and conclude that mandatory regulations appear to be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for a transition towards a circular fashion system.

1. Introduction

Fashion is big business. Every year, around 130 billion pieces of new clothing are produced worldwide, of which around 80 billion are sold [1]. Clothing production has doubled since 2000, driven both by an increasing global middle-class and by increased per capita sales [2]. At the same time, the average lifetime of clothing has halved [3]. These trends are mainly a result of the ‘fast fashion’ model, which delivers fast-changing fashion styles and countless new collections per year, often at low prices [4,5]. While most European brands released only two new collections per year in 2000, this number increased to almost five new collections per year in 2011. Some brands deliver up to twenty-four new clothing collections each year [3,6]. Today, ‘ultra-fast fashion’ is taking over at an even faster pace, putting new styles up for sale in only a few days and fuelled by e-commerce, which has soared since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 [7,8]. Post-COVID-19, it is expected that fashion demand will grow further, supported by further technological developments such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blockchain, and mobile commerce [9].
This high level of fashion consumption comes with a downside. A first concern is that global fashion production and consumption generated about 92 million tons of waste in 2015 [10,11,12]. It is estimated that only about one third of all garments that are produced are sold at full price; another third is discounted and the remaining third is not sold at all and eventually ends up in landfill or incineration [13]. Globally, about 75% of textile waste is landfilled or incinerated, while only 25% is collected for reuse or recycling and less than 1% is recycled into new fibres for clothing [2]. Fibre-to-fibre recycling is challenging due to many technical limitations, low technology readiness levels (TRL), costly infrastructure, and unfavourable market conditions [14]. Second, the textiles manufacturing industry is one of the most polluting in the world. Cotton cultivation requires vast amounts of land, water, fertiliser, and pesticides, while the production of synthetic textiles uses fossil feedstock and energy, and are considered a major source of microplastic emissions [15,16]. Additionally, textile processing uses a variety of chemicals, such as dyes and finishing agents, which cause water pollution, as connection to wastewater treatment is often limited or lacking in many production regions [17,18]. Finally, there are the social impacts in the producing countries, where a majority of mostly female workers are working in unsafe and unhealthy labour conditions at low wages and often below the national minimum wage [12].
A transition to a circular economy has been frequently mentioned as a strategy to achieve the sustainable use of resources and eliminate waste, by promoting longer use, reuse and recycling. Many definitions of the concept have been proposed [19,20], and circular economy approaches have been explored to improve sustainability of various product systems, such as electronics [21,22], plastics [23,24], and construction [25,26]. Circular product design, entailing measures to enable longer product lives or facilitate disassembly and repair, is a key feature to adapt products into a circular economy, although design strategies to reduce overall environmental performance of a product (i.e., ecodesign) are often mentioned too [27]. Crucially, the establishment of a circular economy is a means by which to achieve sustainability, and not a goal in itself [28].
In their review study, Dissanayake and Weerasinghe [29] define the term circular fashion as:
“a fashion system that moves towards a regenerative model with an improved use of sustainable and renewable resources, reduction of non-renewable inputs, pollution and waste generation, while facilitating long product life and material circulation via sustainable fashion design strategies and effective reverse logistics processes. Application of circular fashion needs a system perspective where all the designers, manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and consumers are involved and committed with a positive shift in mind set.”
To tackle the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry, many strategies have been taken in recent years by governments and industry to make the fashion system more sustainable, circular and fair. Within Europe, the Circular Economy Action Plan has paved the way for an ambitious EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles [30], inspired by the awareness that “textiles are the fourth highest pressure category for the use of primary raw materials and water, after food, housing and transport, and the fifth for greenhouse gas emissions” [31,32]. Together with industry stakeholders, a Transition Pathway is under development to make commitments more concrete [33]. Additionally, within the textile industry, initiatives are being implemented to reduce the negative impacts of fashion production. Many fashion brands are committing to the use of recycled fibres to replace conventional synthetic fibres [34], pioneering repair and reuse services, or experimenting with rental systems as an alternative to traditional sales [35]. Other initiatives focus on the use of safe and circular materials [36], or a more efficient monitoring of sustainability [37]. As an increasing number of consumers are concerned about the social and environmental impact of the products they buy, companies are responding with an increasing range of eco-friendly clothing and working to ensure that ethical manufacturing practices are in place throughout their supply chains. Ethical brands can use sustainability certifications, such as GOTS-certified cotton and Fairtrade labels to qualify their sustainable commitments. However, while consumer pressure and voluntary measures taken by brands can help steer the fashion sector towards more sustainable practices, it may be necessary to put stricter laws and regulations in place to achieve a true transition to a circular fashion system [38].
At the policy level, textiles and fashion have been acknowledged to significantly contribute to the environmental impacts of EU consumption [16], and are identified as one of the priority sectors for a circular economy [32]. Additionally, in popular media, the impacts of fashion production, consumption and waste management have received increasing attention in recent years [8,39,40,41,42]. Moreover, academic attention to the transition of the fashion system towards a circular economy has also flourished over the last few years [29,43,44,45]. In several review papers, policy initiatives formed by both governments and the industry itself have been identified as both barriers to and enablers of the transition towards a circular economy. Existing legislation and regulations have been reported to act as a barrier by hindering the use of waste as a resource [46,47,48], restraining cross-border waste transfers [49] and impeding innovation [45]. On the other hand, a lack of enforceable laws and regulations to stimulate circularity at every stage of the supply chain has been identified as a principal barrier as well [50,51,52,53]. This is a particular concern for developing countries, as fashion companies tend to outsource production processes to countries with less regulations [43,54,55]. Furthermore, scholars point out a lack of systematic regulation [56,57,58], inconsistent policies [59,60,61] and a lack of policy support to create openness and a competitive environment for circular businesses [62,63,64]. Conversely, regulations, legislation, CSR and awareness campaigns have been identified as major enablers for a circular economy; affecting how companies operate [43,65,66], provide incentives for businesses and consumers to implement circular business models [67,68], and provide directives that steer consumer behaviour in line with circular strategies, such as the separated collection of waste [69,70,71,72]. Policy instruments can reduce the up-front investments costs of circular business models [73], stimulate environmental procurement criteria with suppliers [45,74] and drive companies towards investments in and the implementation of circular economy strategies [75].
While a wide variety of policy instruments are available, varying from non-mandatory subsidy schemes to mandatory regulations to ban the use of specific materials, the design, implementation, and evaluation of a consistent and coherent policy mix remains a major challenge. It involves political processes, path dependencies, implementation costs, compliance costs, and side-effects [76]. Setting novel ‘rules of the game’ to accelerate the transition to a circular economy means creating new relationships, arrangements, terms of agency, and therefore, may cause tensions and contestations [77]. A wide systems perspective is required to reduce the risk of burden-shifting along the value-chain [78]. In this respect, the fashion system is particularly challenging, as the fashion industry involves a complicated supply chain with many different stakeholders and various interconnected processes across the globe [29,79]. Stakeholder groups in the fashion supply chain include companies, civil society organisations, trade unions, service providers (e.g., finance and IT services), education and research institutes, and consumers [80]. Companies in the fashion supply-chain engage in one or multiple activities, varying from product design, the production of raw materials, yarn, or fabric, dyeing and printing, confection, distribution, branding, retail, packaging, logistics, and finally, collection, sorting, and recycling [81].
Within supply chains, stakeholder pressure is recognised as a significant tool by which to implement circular strategies [82,83,84]. Stakeholder support has also been studied as an important driver to increase the quality of policymaking, enabling a transition in complex issues, including environmental policies [85,86,87,88] and social policies [89]. Therefore, a successful policy mix design should involve the support of these stakeholders, aligning their incentives to engage in collective action towards a circular fashion system. This requires a thorough understanding of incentives, strategic interactions, and externalities among and between stakeholders [90,91,92].
In this paper, we investigate stakeholder support for a variety of policy instruments to foster the transition towards a circular fashion system. We formulate the following research questions:
  • RQ1—What policy instruments are preferred by various stakeholders for a transition to a circular fashion system?
  • RQ2—What differences in policy instrument preferences do we notice between different aspects of a circular fashion system?
  • RQ3—What is the relationship between personal, stakeholder, and company characteristics and policy instrument preferences?
First, we identify different aspects of a circular fashion system as mentioned in the literature, and screen how leading policy and industry initiatives address these aspects. Then, we investigate stakeholder support for different types of policy instruments, making use of a stakeholder survey and focus group research. We then aim to inform policymakers and other leading initiatives in their design of policy mixes that align incentives towards a circular fashion system, in addition to its academic originality.
The rest of the paper is structured as follows. Section 2 presents a list of features of a circular fashion system as identified in the literature, including an empirical mapping of ambitions and policy instruments related to these circular fashion features by leading public and private institutions. Then, we describe the methodological approach to validate stakeholder support for different types of policy instruments. Section 3 describes the results of the survey and focus group research, followed by a discussion of these results and an overview of its limitations and suggestions for further research in Section 4. In Section 5, we conclude and provide recommendations for policymakers and companies.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Identifying Aspects of a Circular Fashion System

Recently, a multitude of visions, pledges, roadmaps, and guidelines have been published about sustainable and circular fashion [30,93,94,95,96,97,98,99]. Some only focus on certain features of sustainability or circularity, while others adopt a broader scope. Conceptual scholarly work on circular fashion models, as well as review studies, summarise the most common elements that should be encompassed in a circular fashion system. While some of them mainly focus on recycling and reverse logistics [45], other authors include reduction and reuse within their scope [44].
In their conceptual paper on circular fashion, Mishra et al. [100] addressed the mitigation of environmental impacts, the reduction of waste generation, the promotion of sustainable supply chains, and the maximisation of product life cycles by promoting zero-waste design, reuse, repairability, and resource-sharing practices.
A circular fashion system consists of a broad range of features. Different actions can be taken along the value chain of textiles, from material choice and extraction to garment production, use, and waste treatment [10]. After an extensive review of policy papers and reports by governmental, sector, and company initiatives regarding sustainable and circular fashion (e.g., [2,30,36,94,95,96,97,98,99]), and those identified during a stakeholder workshop in the framework of a European research project on circular fashion (, accessed on 26 September 2022) [101], as well as an academic review of the literature (e.g., [2,10,15,16,29,44,45,60,102,103]), we identified 30 features of concern for a circular fashion system, organised into four lifecycle dimensions (design, production, use, and waste management) and three transversal dimensions (waste prevention, social justice, and value chain collaboration). First, we provide a short presentation of these features. In Section 2.2, we explore how these features are incorporated in the most salient visions of and strategies for circular fashion.
Textile design is a key factor in determining production impact, product durability, and recyclability [102,104]. Therefore, low impact fibres are an important starting point in considering a circular fashion system, including the use of recycled fibres [2,102], the use of renewable fibres [105,106], and the use of fibres which are less prone to micro-fibre shedding [15,107]. A circular fashion system also encompasses low impact production processes. These include some features of sustainable agricultural practices: using natural fibres [108,109], efficient water use [110,111,112], and efficient energy use [113,114,115]. Other relevant features include phasing out substances of concern that are hazardous to human health or the environment [93,116,117], the reduction of carbon emissions [118,119], and a shift to sustainable modes of transport and logistics [120,121].
A third dimension of a circular fashion system involves the longer use of garments, including durability, repair, and reuse, which are enabled by design strategies [122,123]. Design for durability is an important starting point in determining a garment’s longevity, which includes both ‘physical durability’, i.e., quality and resistance to wear and tear, and ‘emotional durability’, i.e., designing clothes that people become attached to and want to keep using [16,124]. Emotional durability can be supported by long-lasting fashion styles, focusing on timeless ‘basics’ that do not go out of fashion [125,126]. A second aspect to making garments last is the ability to extend a garment’s life by enabling disassembly and repair, by adopting dedicated design for repair strategies [127]. Longer use also entails new market practices, such as the development of re-use and second-hand markets [128,129], and sharing platforms [130]. In general, many of these features are strongly interconnected with the deployment of circular business models [67,68,131] and the development of insights into customer behaviour [83,132,133].
Recycling is a fourth important dimension within a circular fashion system. Designing clothes for recycling is crucial in order to allow the closing of resource loops at the end-of-life, by choosing recyclable fibres or fibre combinations. Mono-materials are preferred, and if different materials are used, their assembly should support disassembly to enable fibre sorting. [134,135]. Then, improved waste collection and sorting systems, as well as high quality recycling technologies, need to be developed further [66,136]. Additionally, phasing out waste exports to developing countries is also considered an important part of the circular fashion system [137,138].
Furthermore, there are a few cross-cutting elements that should be applied throughout all the stages of a circular value chain. First, there is waste prevention [139]. This encompasses the minimisation of overproduction, e.g., by producing on demand, a cap on the number of fashion collections per year, or imposing a ban on the destruction of unsold garments [30,140,141]. Furthermore, it includes design and process adaptations to minimise production waste and a reconsideration of logistics to reduce packaging waste [139,142]. Finally, a reduction of post-consumer waste should be taken into account; for example, by supporting longer product lives, upcycling initiatives, or nudging consumers to correctly separate textile waste to enable high-quality automated sorting for reuse and recycling [143,144]. A second cross-cutting feature of any circular and sustainable system is social justice [145]. This concern is particularly pressing in the fashion industry, as media have repeatedly accused fashion brands of violating the human rights of textile workers in producing countries, who are underpaid and forced to work long hours in unsafe sweatshop-like conditions [40,146,147]. Fair fashion involves healthy and safe working conditions [148,149], fair wages [150,151], increased social protection [152,153], a ban on forced labor and child labor [62,154], and the abolishment of discrimination on the work floor [1,155]. Finally, a third thread in circular systems is value-chain collaboration. This is particularly challenging for the fashion industry and involves a highly globalised, complex, and extremely fragmented supply chain [156,157]. Collaboration involves increased transparency [71,157] and traceability [66,158] throughout the supply chain, as well as partnerships between producers and waste processors to allow closing resource loops [120,159].

2.2. Screening Ambitions and Policy Instruments

In recent years, many public and private institutions have created concepts concerning circular fashion, sometimes including concrete targets or policy measures. An extensive literature study was undertaken to map these intergovernmental, non-governmental, and sectoral initiatives. We provide an overview of some leading initiatives in Table 1, and indicate to what extent they include in their vision the different aspects of a circular fashion system discussed above.
In terms of policy, the most important document from a European perspective is the recently published EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, which formulates an ambitious vision for 2030, announcing the development of binding product-specific design requirements in terms of circularity [30]:
“By 2030 textile products placed on the EU market are long-lived and recyclable, to a great extent made of recycled fibres, free of hazardous substances and produced in respect of social rights and the environment. Consumers benefit longer from high quality affordable textiles, fast fashion is out of fashion, and economically profitable re-use and repair services are widely available. In a competitive, resilient, and innovative textiles sector, producers take responsibility for their products along the value chain, including when they become waste. The circular textiles ecosystem is thriving, driven by sufficient capacities for innovative fibre-to-fibre recycling, while the incineration and landfilling of textiles is reduced to the minimum.”
An important element of the strategy is the planned revision of the Ecodesign Directive into a new Sustainable Products Initiative by the end of 2022, which will contain binding product-specific design requirements in order to support durability, reusability, repairability, and fibre-to-fibre recyclability. It also aims to reduce carbon and environmental footprints and minimise the presence of substances of concern and microplastics release. It will also contain mandatory recycled fibre content requirements.
From an NGO perspective, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s “vision of circular economy for fashion” focuses on products that are (1) used more, (2) made to be made again, and (3) made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs [93]. From the industry position, the Global Fashion Agenda launched a vision consisting of five pillars: (1) respectful and secure work environments, (2) better wage systems, (3) circular systems, (4) efficient use of resources, and (5) smart material choices [94]. Some other supranational initiatives have a more specific focus, e.g., on transparency [97] or on climate action [98]. Our screening exercise also includes the roadmap ‘Textiles 2030’, led by WRAP [99], the OECD Due Diligence Guidance [95], and the Circular Economy Action Agenda Textiles, created in 2018 by the World Economic Forum and hosted by the World Resources Institute [96].
The overview presented in Table 1 shows which of these initiatives state ambition levels regarding different features of a circular fashion system, as defined in Section 2.1. In the case of the EU strategy, we were able to go further and look at the kind of policy instruments proposed or suggested. By increasing order of compulsion, we identify awareness building, voluntary industry targets, non-mandatory policies, and mandatory regulations. Awareness building is considered the least compulsory policy instrument. Even while more consumers become environmentally conscious, many of them do not see ethical and ecological problems associated with a fast fashion consumer culture [44,132,160,161,162]. Their awareness is often limited to energy consumption issues, while they do not see sustainability as an issue inherent to purchasing clothing [133]. Many studies identify a lack of awareness as a major barrier to a circular economy [43,70,71,163,164]. This lack of awareness and education is also problematic among the workforce, since this largely hinders the transition of organisations towards the circular economy [29]. Kirchherr et al. pointed out that a ‘hesitant company culture’ is often a greater barrier to a circular transition than technological challenges [164]. This is especially true of top management, with the decisive power to steer company strategies, who need to be aware of the competitive advantages and business opportunities that circular economy strategies can bring [165,166]. Other authors highlight the importance of including key features of a circular economy in design education [66,167]. Overall, it is essential to promote awareness and provide knowledge, tools, and training to all actors throughout the supply chain [168].
As a second instrument type, we included voluntary industry targets. Given pressures imposed by NGOs and reputational effects among customers, voluntary industry targets and CSR policies can be considered as more compulsory than awareness building, while enhancing companies to remain competitive in the long term [82,169,170]. Finally, government policies can be considered the most compulsory, taking into account the difference between non-mandatory policies, e.g., fiscal incentives, and mandatory regulations that are enforceable [45,76]. Notably, there is a generally higher concentration of mandatory EU legislation towards the end of the life cycle (e.g., waste policies), while policies targeting consumption are typically less compulsory.
In the results of our screening exercise, as shown in Table 1, a confirmation of the relevance of the different features of a circular fashion system, as defined in Section 2.1, can be observed. However, a lack of specific policy measures presented or envisioned in the most leading initiatives on circular fashion also exists. At best, examples of policy instruments are given. In the case of the EU strategy, most policy instruments refer to legislation that will be developed in the years to come. This confirms the relevance of our study, to investigate stakeholder support for policy instruments with varying levels of compulsion.

2.3. Survey and Focus Group Research

The results of this paper stem from a wider envisioning exercise that was undertaken in a European research project on circular fashion (, accessed on 26 September 2022) [101]. Within this research project, we launched an online survey among relevant stakeholders in the fashion value chain to explore their preferences with respect to policy instruments. The use of stakeholder surveys is a well-established research practice [171] that has been used in evaluations of a variety of sustainability challenges and policies [172,173,174].
Our survey questions included personal and company characteristics (where applicable) as control variables. Personal characteristics included gender, age, country, professional position, stakeholder type, and the number of years active in (or working in) the fashion industry. Company characteristics included value chain activities, the type of markets served, the number of employees, the geographical scope of sourcing materials, operational activities (manufacturing and design), and sales. The survey was tested by multiple researchers and stakeholder types before its launch in February 2022. The survey was distributed by newsletters, social media, and direct mail sent out to a variety of stakeholders by sector federations, research institutions, and fashion companies. This resulted in 382 responses collected between February 2022 and May 2022. As 61 were collected by a single major fashion brand among its employees, which could cause bias, we only included the remaining 321 respondents in our analysis. Correcting for item non-response, we obtained full data on policy instrument preferences from a total of 261 respondents. Descriptive statistics of the survey responses are reported in Table A1, Table A2 and Table A3 (Appendix A).
The results of our survey were presented at a participatory user board, and focus groups were organised to validate the results and identify policy recommendations. These focus groups were organised around the themes of “fibre technology”, “textile design”, “retail and use”, and “waste collection and management”, and were moderated by the authors and two other experienced researchers. The duration of the focus groups was between 50 and 90 min. More details on these focus groups are included in Appendix B. In this Appendix, we also describe the methodology used by our project partner to identify, map, and select stakeholders following a stakeholder-integrated (STIR) approach [80,175]. This approach resulted in the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders from the fashion system, including companies at different stages in the value chain (fibre producers, brands, retailers), sector organisations, research institutes, policy makers, and public interest groups.
Table 1. Screening of ambitions and policy instruments for a circular fashion system in policy documents.
Table 1. Screening of ambitions and policy instruments for a circular fashion system in policy documents.
Aspects of a Circular Fashion SystemEU Strategy
EMF Vision
GFA Agenda
UNECE Pledge
UNFCCC Fashion Charter 2021
WRAP 2021
OECD Due Diligence Guidance 2018
Circular Economy Action Agenda Textiles [96]
Low impact fibres
 Use of recycled fibresMRxxNAxxNAx
 Use of renewable fibresABxxNANANANANA
 Reduce micro-fibre sheddingMRxxNANANANANA
Low impact processes
 Sustainable agricultural practicesVITxxNAxNAxX
 Efficient water useABxxNANAxxNA
 Efficient energy useABxxNAxxxNA
 Phase out chemicals of concernMRxxNANAxxNA
 Reduce CO2 emissionsMRxxNAxxxx
 Reduce transport and logisticsNANANANAxNAxNA
Longer use of garments
 Design for durabilityMRxxNANAxxx
 Design for repairMRxxNANAxNAx
 Long-lasting fashion stylesABxNANANAxNAx
 Re-use and second-hand marketsMRxxNANAxXx
 Sharing models (e.g., garment rental systems)ABxxNANAxNAx
 Design for recyclingMRxxNANAxxx
 Improved waste collection and sorting systemsMRxxNANAxNAx
 High quality recycling technologiesMRxxNANAxNAx
 Phasing out waste exportsMRNAxNANANANAx
Waste prevention
 Minimising overproductionMRxxNANANANANA
 Minimising production wasteABxxNANAxNANA
 Minimising packaging wasteNAxNANANANAXNA
 Minimising post-consumer wasteNMPxxNANAxNANA
Social justice
 Healthy and safe working conditionsVITNAxxNANAxx
 Fair wagesVITNAxNANANAxx
 Increased social protectionNANAxNANANAxx
 No forced labor, nor child laborMRNAxNANANAxx
Value chain collaboration
 Transparency throughout the value chainMRxxxxxxx
 Traceability of the supply chainMRxxxNAxxx
 Partnerships between producers and waste processorsABNAxxxxxx
Abbreviations: NA = no ambition levels, AB = awareness building, VIT = voluntary industry targets, NMP = non-mandatory policies (e.g., tax incentives), MR = mandatory regulations (e.g., product norms), x = this aspect is mentioned but no policy instrument has been identified.
The advantage of this mixed-method approach is that it combines the analytic rigor of multivariate statistical analysis techniques with qualitative techniques that fully consider the undocumented and implicit knowledge of stakeholders in a descriptive way [176]. Focus group research within the domain of circular economy research has been used to gain an in-depth understanding of value propositions and boundary conditions for the implementation of circular business models and circular economy strategies [177,178,179,180,181]. A mixed-method approach has been applied to circular economy challenges, such as stakeholder awareness [182], reverse logistics [183], and organisational implementation practices [184].

3. Results

3.1. Stakeholder Preferences on Policy Instruments

In Figure 1, we present summary statistics of the preferences our respondents expressed in terms of policy instruments to be used for a transition towards a circular fashion system. These preferences are mapped for each aspect of the circular fashion system identified in Section 2.2 (Table 1). Policy instruments are presented in order of their compulsory character.
The most noticeable observation is that, in general, there is considerable support for mandatory regulations. As several survey respondents pointed out in open comment fields: “very stringent legislation on all these issues is a no-brainer”. Mandatory regulations are preferred by almost all respondents for aspects of social justice, especially when it comes to forced labour and child labour.
On the other hand, preferences for mandatory regulations are weaker when it concerns the use phase of the fashion system, being the lowest for sharing models and long-lasting fashion styles. One survey respondent formulated their opinion as follows: “Fashion styles can by no means be long-lasting. Fashion is short-term”. Another survey respondent wrote: “I think garments are personal items like tooth-brushes. If someone was forced to buy secondhand cloth, there must be a strong reason for it”, recognising the role of fashion in presenting one’s identity. Additionally, reasons behind fashion consumption are often more emotionally or culturally inspired than by mere functionality, as illustrated by the comment made by another survey respondent: “We must recognise that new clothing acquisition is not always (and arguably rarely) to replace worn out ones. So, we need to look at bringing down volumes of new clothing put on the market every year too”. Since fashion choices are considered very personal expressions of personal identity and freedom of choice, it makes it potentially more challenging to interfere with strict regulations on fashion consumption. Or, as put by another survey respondent: “I think it is a community culture rather than rules that would make the system work and prosper”.
However, overall support for mandatory regulations is very high. Focus group participants and survey respondents using open comment fields gave specific examples of mandatory regulations they considered as effective and pressing. We provide an illustrative overview in Table 2. Focus groups participants also highlighted the importance of non-mandatory policies, voluntary industry targets, and awareness building as complementary measures that strengthen the impact of mandatory regulations. We also include specific examples in Table 2.

3.2. Profile Differences

Separate from features related to ‘longer use of garments’, where support for mandatory regulations was lower than in other dimensions, most aspects of a circular fashion system shared similar results with respect to policy preferences. Moreover, scores on policy instrument preferences for all 30 aspects showed a very high level of internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.9596). Therefore, for each respondent we calculated a score representing their average preference across all 30 features, and continued our analysis by investigating statistical differences between these scores [185].
Figure 2 shows the differences in the average scores of different stakeholder types. Here, on average, respondents representing NGO’s and trade unions are most in favour of mandatory regulations, while companies and their sector federations, on average, show a lower preference for compulsory measures. Notably, the scores are high for all stakeholder positions, indicating that there is significant support for government regulations (both non-mandatory and mandatory) across stakeholder types.
Similarly, Figure 3 focuses on respondents that represent companies in the fashion value-chain, reporting differences in preference between professional positions within a company. Support for compulsory measures is the highest among designers, and the lowest among respondents in strategic and general management.
When investigating other bivariate differences, t-tests showed significantly lower preferences for compulsory instruments by male respondents (p = 0.0019), professionals with more than 20 years of experience (p = 0.0010), and SMEs with 11 to 50 employees (p = 0.0403). Preferences for compulsory instruments were significantly higher among respondents younger than 25 years old (p = 0.0303) and companies serving business-to-consumer markets (p = 0.0293). However, despite the statistical significance of these differences, we can conclude that there is strong general support for government regulations across all stakeholder types.
To identify statistical differences while mutually accounting for all relevant personal, stakeholder, and company characteristics, we applied a multivariate regression technique. Since many respondents indicate a preference for mandatory regulations, making use of ordered probit regressions for each aspect of a circular fashion system often resulted in completely determined observations, rendering standard errors questionable. Essentially, it is hard to identify meaningful profile differences when almost all respondents indicate a preference for mandatory regulations, e.g., for forced labour. Trying to learn as much as possible from variations in our data, we counted the number of times respondents indicated they were not in favour of mandatory policies. This allowed us to perform a Poisson regression, an appropriate regression technique to deal with count data.
In Table 3, we present the results of two Poisson regressions: one for the entire set of respondents, and one that focuses on respondents representing companies. Notably, coefficients in a Poisson regression can be interpreted as semi-elasticities; e.g, for a unit change in the predictor variable, the difference in the logs of expected counts is expected to change by the estimated regression coefficient, given the other predictor variables in the model are held constant. For example, the coefficient of NGOs in the first regression is estimated at −0.4074. This means that the expected number of times a respondent working in an NGO indicates a non-mandatory policy instrument as his preferred choice is 40.74% lower compared to that of other respondents (all other things being equal).
Poisson regression results show that male and older respondents were less in favour of mandatory policies. The multivariate analysis confirms the stronger preference for mandatory policies among designers and respondents working at NGOs. When we focus on respondents that work in a company, Poisson regression results in Table 3 confirm again the stronger preference of designers and lower preference of strategic management for mandatory policies. Looking into the value-chain, we also see a stronger preference for mandatory policies among respondents working in logistics, retail, and reuse centres.
When looking at the type of markets companies serve, we noticed a lower preference for mandatory policies among companies that serve business-to-business-to-consumer markets. We also accounted for the geographical scope a company was active in. Results showed that the more international the scope of sourcing and sales, the higher the preference for mandatory policies, while companies with an international scope of manufacturing have lower preferences for mandatory policies.

4. Discussion

4.1. Significant Support for Mandatory Regulations

Our results show significant support for government policies in general, and for mandatory regulations in particular, to encourage the transition towards a circular fashion system. This finding was confirmed by the responses in the open comment sections of the stakeholder survey: “We need a clear message from governments and concrete legislation urgently”; “Nothing moves without regulations”. During focus group discussions with stakeholders from throughout the value chain, further support for a strong policy-led transition was expressed.
The support for government policies held for all features of a circular fashion system, from design, fibre selection, and manufacturing processes to the use and end-of-life phases, including transversal aspects like social justice, transparency, traceability, and value-chain collaboration. In order to understand this observation, we have to consider the importance of strategic interactions between actors throughout the fashion value chain. While a sustainable, circular, and fair fashion system would be beneficial for all stakeholders in the long term, each individual actor has an incentive to opt for non-sustainable options, which are often cheaper or more convenient in the short term. In game theory, this kind of strategic interaction is called a prisoner’s dilemma.
A prisoner’s dilemma is characterised by the fact that cooperation would be mutually beneficial, but each player has an incentive to deviate for its own gains, resulting in a sub-optimal Nash equilibrium. A Nash equilibrium is a game theoretical concept, indicating a combination of strategies where all players play the best reaction on each other’s strategies. Therefore, in a Nash equilibrium, no single player has an incentive to deviate solely from his/her strategy, even when the outcome is detrimental for all players. In a prisoner’s dilemma, playing a non-cooperative strategy is always more rewarding for a player, regardless of the cooperative or non-cooperative behaviour of other players. Many empirical applications of a prisoner’s dilemma can be found in the overutilisation of common goods and the underinvestment in public goods [186,187]. Fortunately, humanity has been sufficiently creative to resolve situations where prisoner’s dilemmas have occurred. These include mandatory rules, financial and social punishment mechanisms, reputational effects, and psychological instruments including guilt, shame, and identity formation [188,189,190]. These mechanisms alter incentives and change payoff structures in such a way that cooperative outcomes may be achieved.
According to Robèrt and Broman (2017), the prisoner’s dilemma is an often misunderstood concept [191]. Instead of a race to the bottom, they argue that companies may develop a competitive advantage when they engage in sustainable practices. The potential self-benefit of understanding the dynamics of major system changes better than one’s competitors may alter incentives of these companies sufficiently to prevent a potential prisoner’s dilemma. The transition towards a circular, sustainable, and fair fashion system may be such a major system change. However, we can only expect the development of competitive advantage in a context of monopolistic competition (having heterogeneous goods, such as specific brands). In markets that are characterised by perfect competition (with homogeneous goods, such as cotton fibre), companies cannot differentiate sufficiently towards their clients to signal sustainable practices. On the other hand, in markets that are characterised by significant market power, companies have no incentive to alter their strategies. Therefore, we can expect that the prisoner’s dilemma plays a crucial role in most environmental and social externalities along the textile value chain.
In business terms, mandatory regulations are very useful in levelling the playing field between competitors or in supplier-client relations. While it limits the degrees of freedom that can be used in strategic and operational decision-making, it may prevent adversarial effects of strategic interaction, including free-riding and a race to the bottom of prices, quality standards, and working conditions [192]. Since all parties effectively have their hands tied, they can easily explain this to their clients and stay competitive, at least if mandatory policies are effectively enforced and count for all market players in the same way.
Even in cases where there is significant support to behave in a ‘just’ way (e.g., to ban forced labour), mandatory government regulations remain important. An important reason for this, is the fact that many operations within the fashion supply chain are subject to a high degree of asymmetric information [193,194,195]. Customers are typically not able to detect whether a fashion brand acts in a sustainable, circular, or fair way. Similarly, due to opaque and complex supply chains, companies are often not fully aware of the production conditions provided by their suppliers upstream. Governments, on the other hand, have superior mechanisms by which to detect and enforce the application of standards and procedures, levelling the playing field for all actors involved.
Therefore, mandatory rules can often be a necessary condition in order to foster the transition towards circularity. However, one major challenge remains the highly globalised nature of the fashion system and the fact that no international government exists to impose mandatory regulations across the globe. This results in a prisoner’s dilemma between the governments of producing countries, discouraging the implementation of stricter social or environmental regulations in fear of creating a competitive disadvantage for local companies compared to companies in other countries with less strict regulations [196,197,198]. Therefore, regulations have to be designed in such a way that authorities have an incentive to punish parties who do not comply [199]. A lack of incentive compatibility to enforce regulations, because of administrative burdens, corruption, or protectionism, is therefore detrimental for the implementation of mandatory regulations.
Supranational institutions such as the World Trade Organisation and the European Union have been designed to resolve these issues and should be looked to to develop strong policy instruments. Nevertheless, fashion value chains are still too complex to resolve this in a short timeframe.

4.2. Investigating Profile Differences

This study identified some significant profile differences that deserve further discussion. Concerning personal characteristics, it was found that men were less supportive of mandatory policies and young respondents showed greater support. Studies on the impact of gender and age on preferences towards circularity remain scarce. Some studies have found that women were, on average, more informed, aware, and passionate than men with regard to the application of sustainability principles in various fields [83,200]. This gap is commonly explained because of differences in socialisation [201], and the fact that eco-friendly behaviors and lifestyles may be judged as un-feminine [202]. Moreover, within boards of directors, women have been found to be more oriented towards social and environmental actions, being more philanthropically driven and community-oriented than their male counterparts [203,204]. With respect to age, survey research has revealed a growing attention among younger generations to sustainability and the circular economy [83].
In terms of those occupying professional positions within companies, respondents in strategic management showed a significantly lower level of support for mandatory regulations. Mandatory rules offer less degrees of freedom in a business environment, which is accompanied by challenges other than circularity issues. While circular strategies can be promising in the long term for shareholders, people in strategic management often receive incentives to be successful in the short term [205]. Moreover, many companies do not see the adoption of circular strategies as a strategic priority yet [206]. This highlights the importance of values, beliefs, and institutional structures with respect to circularity and sustainability at top management level, who have the strategic decision-making power, in order to encourage the implementation of circular economy in a company context [165,166].
On the other hand, our findings showed that designers are very supportive of mandatory policies. While sustainable fashion design is still a niche market, a circular economy can foster new design innovations [207]. Within traditional product development processes, designers may find themselves having a relatively low influence on corporate sustainability strategies [208]. Additionally, circular product design requires strong interactions between designers, material developers, and chemists, who should all have a high awareness and knowledge of sustainability to be able to develop a circular product [66]. Moreover, traditional design teams are often pushed to pursue fast fashion cycles and profits, and are rarely given opportunities to consider circular alternatives [29]. Therefore, these elements may contribute to the fact that designers seem to be more in favor of mandatory policies to gain leverage towards a circular fashion system.
When looking at stakeholder positions, the fact that NGOs are in favor of mandatory regulations may not come as a surprise, as this complements their objectives to achieve a sustainable, circular, and fair fashion system [82]. The same applies to the finding that reuse companies are supportive of mandatory policies that enable and enforce the longer use and reuse of garments. Appropriate design, good quality, and durability are essential for garment reuse [209,210]. Sustainable fashion also requires increased consumer awareness, as consumers tend to be reluctant to purchase used clothes, while they express less concerns about buying other used items [128]. A well-developed reuse market in industrialised countries can also reduce sustainability issues stemming from exports of used garments to secondhand clothing markets overseas [211]. Given all these factors, mandatory regulations imposed on various stakeholders may foster the development of reuse markets.
More surprising was the finding that companies in retail and logistics were supportive of mandatory policies. A potential clarification is that these supply chain actors face strong price competition, leading to a race to the bottom with respect to quality standards and working conditions. Since they face increasing social pressures to engage in sustainable practices, levelling the playing field by imposing mandatory regulations may be the only pathway that may bring them towards a circular fashion system without putting their competitive position at risk. Moreover, the organisation of reverse logistics and the development of reuse shops may generate business opportunities for both retailers and logistics firms, but these are only expected to be viable if the same rules apply to everyone in the value chain [65].
While companies in Business-to-Consumer (BtC) markets feel the pressure of end-consumers, and Business-to-Business (BtB) and Business-to-Governments (BtG) markets are increasingly confronted with green procurement criteria, companies in Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (BtBtC) often remain overlooked. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that these companies are less supportive of mandatory policies.
The results also show a significant relation between the geographical scope of a company in the fashion industry and its preference on mandatory regulations. Companies that source their materials on a global scale are more supportive of mandatory policies. While sourcing location decisions are traditionally based on an assessment of cost and time criteria, it has been found that social and environmental sustainability considerations represent a new key criterion to orientate sourcing location decisions [212]. Since fashion companies are often criticised for low transparency within their supply chains, they may need a level playing field to be able to engage in circular and sustainable practices. Similarly, companies that organise sales on a global level are more supportive of a level playing field, as online shopping makes it increasingly easy to compare prices and collections on a global scale. Conversely, we see that companies that organise their manufacturing on a global scale are less in favor of mandatory policies. Here, the financial constraints of reverse logistics at a global scale may impose a major barrier, as well as the transaction costs of organising audits throughout a complex global supply chain. Moreover, companies may lack trust in the extent to which mandatory regulations on manufacturing will be implemented and enforced, in an equal and just way across all countries. Additionally, the role of the informal economy can be very different between countries and regions, making the implementation and control of regulations very challenging [45,65,213].
When interpreting and discussing these results, important features touched upon during our focus group discussions should not be forgotten. First, it was mentioned that mandatory regulations may be a necessary condition to allow a shift towards circularity in the fashion industry to occur. However, participants stressed that without an accompanying culture shift, this will not be a sufficient condition. Therefore, a sustained investment in awareness building is an important policy instrument that should be used in a complementary way with regulations. Otherwise, consumers will remain attached to fast fashion consumption and not perceive its negative consequences [44,214]. When aiming toward a reduction in purchasing and production volumes, a policy mix that encompasses insights from a sufficiency approach will be crucial. While sufficiency seems to contradict business goals in the short term, the development of service- and sharing-oriented business models may create new business opportunities [210].

4.3. Limitations and Suggestions for Further Research

When interpreting the results of this study, it is important to consider its limitations. Limitations include its geographical scope, the risk of self-selection bias, and a lack of responses from consumers in our empirical strategy. We are fully aware that most of our survey respondents (92.83%) and a vast majority of our focus group respondents are situated in the EU. However, for policy purposes related to the EU strategy, this is a relevant approach. Moreover, many of the companies and NGOs involved are active on a global scale or have decision centres outside the EU. Nevertheless, any transfer of these conclusions to other regions should be considerate of differences, particularly in developing countries. Therefore, further research on stakeholder support in these settings is highly recommended.
We are also aware of the consequences of self-selection to participate in our survey. While this criticism applies to most surveys in academic research, we are aware of potential biases this may generate. One plausible bias includes that our respondents were highly aware of the challenges and opportunities presented by the transition towards a circular fashion system. Therefore, we expect that our results mainly reflect the preferences of front-runners. However, barriers mentioned by frontrunners are as valid as those of other value chain participants who may lag behind. Therefore, our conclusions should be interpreted rather as necessary conditions instead of sufficient conditions.
Finally, we are aware that no specific empirical strategy was developed to capture the preferences of end-consumers. While consumers play an important role in putting pressure on fashion companies to change, many consumers are not aware of the consequences of traditional fashion models [214,215]. Therefore, further research should conduct a large N survey to capture consumer preferences in a nuanced way.

5. Conclusions and Recommendations

In this paper, we studied policy and stakeholder features of the transition to a circular and sustainable fashion system. In addition to its academic novelty, the aim of this work was to inform policymakers and other leading initiatives in their design of policy mixes that align incentives towards a circular fashion system. First, we identified different aspects of a circular fashion system and screened how leading policy and industry initiatives addressed these aspects. From this screening exercise, we learned that most initiatives remain vague regarding the choice of instruments to be used to direct this transition. Then, we reported findings of a stakeholder survey and focus group research to investigate stakeholder support for different types of policy instruments. These instruments included awareness building, voluntary industry targets, non-mandatory policies, and mandatory regulations, reflecting an increasing level of compulsion.
From this research, we concluded that there is broad support for government intervention in general, and for mandatory policies in particular across all stakeholder types throughout the fashion value chain. This support was most outspoken on aspects related to social justice and fair working conditions, while it was weaker regarding features related to the longer use of garments. Regarding stakeholder profiles, we found that designers tended to be more in favour of mandatory regulations than stakeholders working in management positions. We advocated that the focus on short-term profitability and the lack of a level playing field in the global fashion system causes fashion stakeholders to be prone to a prisoner’s dilemma. Although a prisoner’s dilemma prevents value chain actors from collaborating in an optimal way, psychological and social mechanisms, such as reputational effects, may alter incentives and partially enhance sustainable outcomes. Nevertheless, mandatory regulations, led by governments and supranational institutions such as the EU, are powerful means by which to create a level playing field and mobilise collective action to shift focus towards long-term sustainability.
However, while mandatory regulations appear to be a necessary condition, they are by no means a sufficient condition to achieve a circular fashion transition. Complementary, non-mandatory, and often economic incentives, such as tax shifts, may be necessary to support and encourage brands to adopt more circular practices. Companies can also play a leading role in the transition, by initiating and participating in voluntary industry initiatives that lead the way. Local governments and companies, as well as NGOs, have a role to play in provoking a culture shift from fashion consumerism towards conscious production and the use of more durable fashion, especially in terms of physical longevity and emotional attachment; achieved by establishing awareness campaigns that engage consumers in fundamental behavioural changes, involving reduced consumption, longer use, repair, and adequate waste disposal.
During the survey and focus group discussions, participants provided a broad range of examples of policy instruments they considered effective. Focus groups participants also highlighted the importance of non-mandatory policies, voluntary industry targets, and awareness building as complementary measures, and stressed the need for economic incentives, such as tax reductions, eco-modulated EPR schemes, and investment support, to enable the necessary shifts among industry players. This shows that a combination of ‘carrot and stick’ will be required to achieve a transition to a circular and sustainable fashion system. Considering the implementation challenges presented by global and complex value chains, the optimal use of these approaches, in order to foster a circular transition, provides promising research potential for many fields of study, including game theory, policy studies, and behavioral economics and psychology.

Author Contributions

Conceptualisation, S.M. and W.V.O.; methodology, W.V.O.; validation, S.M.; formal analysis, W.V.O.; investigation, S.M. and W.V.O.; resources, S.M. and W.V.O.; data curation, W.V.O.; writing—original draft preparation, S.M. and W.V.O.; writing—review and editing, S.M. and W.V.O. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program under the grant agreement 101003906 (SCIRT project).

Institutional Review Board Statement

Ethical review and approval were waived for this study due to reasons: (1) The research did not target any vulnerable groups. (2) The aims of the research were clearly stated to the participants, and no form of deception was involved in the test setup. (3) Participation to the research survey and focus groups was entirely voluntary and not linked to any reward or adverse consequence on those players that refused to participate. (4) The research did not entail any activities that would result in any form of risk, pain, anxiety, physical or psychological stress for the participants. (5) No sensitive data were gathered or processed; all results were reported anonymously.

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

Additional information can be obtained from the authors upon request.


The authors would like to thank all respondents to the survey and participants at the SCIRT user board meetings in Antwerp (18 January 2022) and Vienna (11–12 May 2022) for valuable feedback and discussions.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to publish the results.

Appendix A

Table A1. Summary statistics of personal characteristics.
Table A1. Summary statistics of personal characteristics.
Variable (n = 321)Frequency%
  - Male11034.27%
  - Female20664.17%
  - Non-binary00.00%
  - Prefer not to share this information51.56%
  - <25 years309.35%
  - 26–35 years8626.79%
  - 36–45 years8325.86%
  - 46–55 years7423.05%
  - 56–65 years4413.71%
  - >65 years41.25%
Number of years active in (or working on) the fashion industry
  - <3 years5517.13%
  - 3–5 years3410.59%
  - 6–10 years319.66%
  - 11–20 years3711.53%
  - +20 years6319.63%
  - I am not working in/on the fashion industry10131.46%
Current professional position
  - CEO/General Management5216.20%
  - Strategic Management329.97%
  - Operational Management3611.21%
  - Expert7824.30%
  - Designer299.03%
  - Operational or administrative co-workers4112.77%
  - Independent consultant3510.90%
  - Other185.61%
  - Belgium16049.84%
  - France4213.08%
  - Germany268.10%
  - Ireland195.92%
  - Netherlands123.75%
  - Italy72.18%
  - Countries with 6 respondents: Austria, Sweden123.75%
  - Countries with 5 respondents: Switzerland51.56%
  - Countries with 4 respondents: China, Denmark, Spain123.75%
  - Countries with 3 respondents: Egypt, Portugal61.87%
  - Countries with 2 respondents: Bulgaria, Poland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates82.5%
  - Countries with 1 respondent: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil,
    Croatia, Greece, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia,
    United States of America
Stakeholder Type
  - Company12137.69%
  - Government134.05%
  - Supranational organization (EC, UN, ILO, WTO, …)41.25%
  - Non-governmental organization (NGO)329.97%
  - Sector Federation226.85%
  - Trade Union or Worker Movement72.18%
  - Research Institute268.10%
  - Myself, as a Fashion Customer7723.99%
  - Other195.92%
Table A2. Summary statistics of company characteristics.
Table A2. Summary statistics of company characteristics.
Variable (n = 118)Frequency%
Value chain activities
  - Retail and sales4134.75%
  - Fashion designer3933.05%
  - Fashion manufacturer (finished goods)3630.51%
  - Textile manufacturer (yarn, fabric, …)2016.95%
  - Logistics and distribution1916.10%
  - Waste management1613.56%
  - Fibre producer97.63%
  - Reuse shop65.08%
  - Other2218.64%
Type of market(s)
  - BtC7059.83%
  - BtB8068.38%
  - BtBtC3227.35%
  - BtG1411.97%
  - Peer-to-Peer43.42%
Company size (number of employees)
  - >1000 employees1311.02%
  - 251–1000 employees1311.02%
  - 51–250 employees3126.27%
  - 11–50 employees2319.49%
  - 1–10 employees2722.88%
  - No employees119.32%
Geographical scope of sourcing materials
  - Local (<100 km)97.63%
  - Regional (<500 km)1815.25%
  - Supra-regional (<5000 km)2521.19%
  - Global5748.31%
  - Not applicable97.63%
Geographical scope of operational activities (manufacturing/design)
  - Local (<100 km)2622.03%
  - Regional (<500 km)1512.71%
  - Supra-regional (<5000 km)2521.19%
  - Global4336.44%
  - Not applicable97.63%
Geographical scope of sales activities
  - Local (<100 km)97.63%
  - Regional (<500 km)2521.19%
  - Supra-regional (<5000 km)2622.03%
  - Global5546.61%
  - Not applicable32.54%
Table A3. Summary statistics of policy instrument preferences.
Table A3. Summary statistics of policy instrument preferences.
Instrument choice: preferences (n = 261)
1 = No Ambition Levels, 2 = Awareness Building, 3 = Voluntary Industry Targets, 4 = Non-Mandatory Policies (e.g., Tax Incentives), 5 = Mandatory Regulations (e.g., Product Norms)
Average (stdev)Median
Low impact fibres
  - Use of recycled fibres4.49 (0.7776)5
  - Use of renewable fibres4.40 (0.8610)5
  - Reduce micro-fibre shedding4.42 (0.9439)5
Low impact processes
  - Sustainable agricultural practices4.43 (0.8269)5
  - Efficient water use4.49 (0.7777)5
  - Efficient energy use4.40 (0.7912)5
  - Phase out chemicals of concern4.64 (0.7387)5
  - Reduce CO2 emissions4.57 (0.7385)5
  - Reduce transport and logistics4.05 (0.9349)4
Longer use of garments
  - Design for durability4.10 (0.9119)4
  - Design for repair4.05 (1.0028)4
  - Long-lasting fashion styles3.63 (1.0057)4
  - Re-use and second-hand markets3.85 (0.9605)4
  - Sharing models (e.g., garment rental systems)3.38 (1.0528)4
  - Design for recycling4.28 (0.8616)4
  - Improved waste collection and sorting systems4.47 (0.8570)5
  - High quality recycling technologies4.22 (0.8807)4
  - Phasing out waste exports4.36 (1.0522)5
Waste prevention
  - Minimizing overproduction4.35 (0.8798)5
  - Minimizing production waste4.38 (0.8405)5
  - Minimizing packaging waste4.49 (0.8209)5
  - Minimizing post-consumer waste4.14 (0.9603)4
Social justice
  - Healthy and safe working conditions4.78 (0.7101)5
  - Fair wages4.66 (0.8014)5
  - Increased social protection4.63 (0.8156)5
  - No forced labour, nor child labour4.83 (0.6715)5
  - Non-discrimination4.68 (0.7965)5
Value chain collaboration
  - Transparency throughout the value chain4.30 (0.9411)5
  - Traceability of the supply chain4.39 (0.9122)5
  - Partnerships between producers and waste processors4.02 (0.9049)4

Appendix B

Appendix B.1. Stakeholder Identification and Mapping

Within the SCIRT project, stakeholders were identified and mapped to be engaged in stakeholder engagement activities using the Prospex-CQI methodology [80]. Prospex-CQI is part of the stakeholder integrated research (STIR) approach, to stakeholder engagement in research projects. This method ensures that all relevant stakeholder categories are covered by the mapping. The method has been tested and published in a peer-reviewed journal [175], and has been applied in various research projects engaging stakeholders.
The CQI abbreviation stands for:
  • C—Criteria: Defining a set of criteria and categories for stakeholder groups that are or could either be affecting the topic, be affected by it (or both), in order to map all relevant stakeholders,
  • Q—Quotas: Setting specific minimum quotas for all categories for each engagement activity;
  • I—Individuals: Identifying individuals that fit the categories, with the overall selection fitting the quotas set for each engagement activity.

Appendix B.2. Focus Groups—Vienna (11 and 12 May 2022)—Participants

Table A4 gives an overview of the focus group participants that participated at two sessions (11 May and 12 May 2022) during a User Board meeting of the SCIRT project.
Table A4. Overview of focus group participants, by stakeholder type.
Table A4. Overview of focus group participants, by stakeholder type.
Stakeholder TypeNumber of Participants
Production and sourcing of fibres and raw materials2
Product design and textile production1
Distribution, branding, and retail4
Business models and innovation3
Recyclers, reuse, and waste management6
Civil Society2
Policy Makers2
Education and research3
End-users and consumers1

Appendix B.3. Focus Groups—Session 1 (11 May 2022)

Four simultaneous focus groups were held along the following themes: Fibre Technology, Waste Collection and Management, Textile Design, and Retail and Use.
  • What is a feasible ambition level for the 2030 vision? What could be concrete targets?
  • What policy measures are most suited to support this transition to the vision?

Appendix B.4. Focus Groups—Session 2 (12 May 2022)

Four simultaneous focus groups were held along the following themes: Fibre Technology, Waste Collection and Management, Textile Design, and Retail and Use.
  • What is the most important pain point for your organisation for the transition towards a circular fashion system?
  • What is a concrete solution to address at least one of these pain points?


  1. Peleg Mizrachi, M.; Tal, A. Regulation for Promoting Sustainable, Fair and Circular Fashion. Sustainability 2022, 14, 502. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  2. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. A New Textiles Economy. 2017. Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  3. Remy, N.; Speelman, E.; Swartz, S. Style That’s Sustainable: A New Fast-Fashion Formula; McKinsey & Company: New York, NY, USA, 2016. [Google Scholar]
  4. Garcia-Torres, S.; Rey-Garcia, M.; Albareda-Vivo, L. Effective Disclosure in the Fast-Fashion Industry: From Sustainability Reporting to Action. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2256. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Wang, B.; Luo, W.; Zhang, A.; Tian, Z.; Li, Z. Blockchain-Enabled Circular Supply Chain Management: A System Architecture for Fast Fashion. Comput. Ind. 2020, 123, 103324. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  6. Centobelli, P.; Abbate, S.; Nadeem, S.P.; Garza-Reyes, J.A. Slowing the Fast Fashion Industry: An All-Round Perspective. Curr. Opin. Green Sustain. Chem. 2022, 38, 100684. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  7. Balchandani, A.; Lau, B.; Nguyen, H.-L.; Toma, B. Six Vectors of Success in Online Fashion-McKinsey, 2021. Available online: (accessed on 5 July 2022).
  8. Monroe, R. Ultra-Fast Fashion Is Eating the World. Available online: (accessed on 5 July 2022).
  9. Bakshi, S. Fashion Industry in 2022 & Beyond. Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  10. Chen, X.; Memon, H.A.; Wang, Y.; Marriam, I.; Tebyetekerwa, M. Circular Economy and Sustainability of the Clothing and Textile Industry. Mater. Circ. Econ. 2021, 3, 12. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  11. Provin, A.P.; de Aguiar Dutra, A.R.; de Sousa e Silva Gouveia, I.C.A.; Cubas, e.A.L.V. Circular Economy for Fashion Industry: Use of Waste from the Food Industry for the Production of Biotextiles. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change 2021, 169, 120858. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  12. Global Fashion Agenda. Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017; Global Fashion Agenda & The Boston Consulting Group: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2018. [Google Scholar]
  13. SITRA; Circle Economy. Service-Based Business Models & Circular Strategies for Textiles. 2015. Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  14. Duhoux, T.; Maes, E.; Hirschnitz-Garbers, M.; Peeters, K.; Asscherickx, L.; Christis, M.; Stubbe, B.; Colignon, P.; Hinzmann, M.; Sachdeva, A. Study on the Technical, Regulatory, Economic and Environmental Effectiveness of Textile Fibres Recycling; European Commission, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs: Brussels, Belgium, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  15. Manshoven, S.; Smeets, A.; Malarciuc, C.; Tenhunen, A.; Mortensen, L.F. Microplastic Pollution from Textile Consumption in Europe; European Topic Centre Circular Economy and Resource Use: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2022; Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  16. Manshoven, S.; Christis, M.; Vercalsteren, A.; Arnold, M.; Nicolau, M.; Lafond, E.; Mortensen, L.F.; Coscieme, L. Textiles and the Environment in a Circular Economy; European Topic Centre for Waste and Materials in a Green Economy: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2019; Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  17. Eunomia ICF. Measuring the Impacts of Microplastics. 2018. Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  18. Kant, R. Textile Dyeing Industry an Environmental Hazard. Nat. Sci. 2011, 4, 22–26. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  19. Kirchherr, J.; Reike, D.; Hekkert, M. Conceptualizing the Circular Economy: An Analysis of 114 Definitions. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 2017, 127, 221–232. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  20. Geissdoerfer, M.; Savaget, P.; Bocken, N.M.P.; Hultink, E.J. The Circular Economy—A New Sustainability Paradigm? J. Clean. Prod. 2017, 143, 757–768. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  21. O’Connor, M.P.; Zimmerman, J.B.; Anastas, P.T.; Plata, D.L. A Strategy for Material Supply Chain Sustainability: Enabling a Circular Economy in the Electronics Industry through Green Engineering. ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng. 2016, 4, 5879–5888. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  22. Bachér, J.; Dams, Y.; Duhoux, T.; Deng, Y.; Teittinen, T. Electronic Products and Obsolescence in a Circular Economy; European Topic Centre Waste and Materials in a Green Economy: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2020; Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  23. European Environment Agency. Plastics, the Circular Economy and Europe′s Environment; European Environment Agency: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2020; Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  24. Kaur, G.; Uisan, K.; Ong, K.L.; Ki Lin, C.S. Recent Trends in Green and Sustainable Chemistry & Waste Valorisation: Rethinking Plastics in a Circular Economy. Curr. Opin. Green Sustain. Chem. 2018, 9, 30–39. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  25. López Ruiz, L.A.; Roca Ramón, X.; Gassó Domingo, S. The Circular Economy in the Construction and Demolition Waste Sector—A Review and an Integrative Model Approach. J. Clean. Prod. 2020, 248, 119238. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  26. Wählström, M.; Bergmans, J.; Teittinen, T.; Bachér, J.; Smeets, A.; Paduart, A. Construction and Demolition Waste: Challenges and Opportunities in a Circular Economy; European Topic Centre Waste and Materials in a Green Economy: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2020; Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  27. den Hollander, M.C.; Bakker, C.A.; Hultink, E.J. Product Design in a Circular Economy: Development of a Typology of Key Concepts and Terms. J. Ind. Ecol. 2017, 21, 517–525. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Harris, S.; Martin, M.; Diener, D. Circularity for Circularity’s Sake? Scoping Review of Assessment Methods for Environmental Performance in the Circular Economy. Sustain. Prod. Consum. 2021, 26, 172–186. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  29. Dissanayake, K.; Weerasinghe, D. Towards Circular Economy in Fashion: Review of Strategies, Barriers and Enablers. Circ. Econ. Sustain. 2022, 2, 25–42. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  30. European Commission. EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles; European Commission: Brussels, Belgium, 2022. [Google Scholar]
  31. European Environmental Agency. Textiles in Europe’s Circular Economy; European Environment Agency: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2019; Available online: (accessed on 26 September 2022).
  32. European Commission. A New Circular Economy Action Plan for a Cleaner and More Competitive Europe; European Commission: Brussels, Belgium, 2020. [Google Scholar]
  33. European Commission. Textiles Ecosystem Transition Pathway Cocreation Process. Available online: (accessed on 8 September 2022).
  34. Textile Exchange. 2025 Recycled Polyester Challenge, 2021. Available online: (accessed on 5 July 2022).
  35. Macintosh, E. Reuse, Repair, Remake Is the Future of Fashion. META. 2020. Available online: (accessed on 5 July 2022).
  36. Fashion Positive. Circular Materials: The Foundation of Circular Fashion 2020. Available online: (accessed on 5 July 2022).
  37. Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The Higg Index, 2022. Available online: (accessed on 5 July 2022).
  38. Bell, J. Fashion Rules: Why We Need Tougher Laws and Regulations in the Fashion Industry. 2022. Available online: (accessed on 1 September 2022).
  39. Beall, A. Why Clothes Are so Hard to Recycle. Available online: (accessed on 17 October 2022).
  40. Marsh, S.; Redwan, A. Workers Making £88 Lululemon Leggings Claim They Are Beaten. The Guardian, 2019. Available online: on 23 September 2022).
  41. McFall-Johnsen, M. The Fashion Industry Emits More Carbon than International Flights and Maritime Shipping Combined. Here Are the Biggest Ways It Impacts the Planet. Available online: (accessed on 17 October 2022).
  42. Schlossberg, T. How Fast Fashion Is Destroying the Planet. The New York Times, 3 September 2019. Available online: on 17 October 2022).
  43. Abdelmeguid, A.; Afy-Shararah, M.; Salonitis, K. Investigating the Challenges of Applying the Principles of the Circular Economy in the Fashion Industry: A Systematic Review. Sustain. Prod. Consum. 2022, 32, 505–518. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  44. de Aguiar Hugo, A.; de Nadae, J.; da Silva Lima, R. Can Fashion Be Circular? A Literature Review on Circular Economy Barriers, Drivers, and Practices in the Fashion Industry’s Productive Chain. Sustainability 2021, 13, 12246. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  45. Jia, F.; Yin, S.; Chen, L.; Chen, X. The Circular Economy in the Textile and Apparel Industry: A Systematic Literature Review. J. Clean. Prod. 2020, 259, 120728. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  46. Kazancoglu, I.; Sagnak, M.; Kumar Mangla, S.; Kazancoglu, Y. Circular Economy and the Policy: A Framework for Improving the Corporate Environmental Management in Supply Chains. Bus. Strategy Environ. 2021, 30, 590–608. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  47. Kazancoglu, I.; Kazancoglu, Y.; Yarimoglu, E.; Kahraman, A. A Conceptual Framework for Barriers of Circular Supply Chains for Sustainability in the Textile Industry. Sustain. Dev. 2020, 28, 1477–1492. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  48. Kumar, V.; Sezersan, I.; Garza-Reyes, J.A.; Gonzalez, E.D.R.S.; AL-Shboul, M.A. Circular Economy in the Manufacturing Sector: Benefits, Opportunities and Barriers. Manag. Decis. 2019, 57, 1067–1086. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  49. Van Buren, N.; Demmers, M.; Van der Heijden, R.; Witlox, F. Towards a Circular Economy: The Role of Dutch Logistics Industries and Governments. Sustainability 2016, 8, 647. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  50. Chowdury, M.H.; Hossain, M.M. A Framework for Selecting Optimal Strategies to Mitigate the Corporate Sustainability Barriers. Corp. Ownersh. Control 2015, 13, 462–481. [Google Scholar]
  51. Hyder, A.S.; Chowdhury, E.; Sundström, A. Balancing Control and Trust to Manage CSR Compliance in Supply Chains. Int. J. Supply Chain. Manag. 2017, 6, 1–14. [Google Scholar]
  52. Lazarevic, D.; Valve, H. Narrating Expectations for the Circular Economy: Towards a Common and Contested European Transition. Energy Res. Soc. Sci. 2017, 31, 60–69. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  53. Perry, P.; Wood, S.; Fernie, J. Corporate Social Responsibility in Garment Sourcing Networks: Factory Management Perspectives on Ethical Trade in Sri Lanka. J. Bus. Ethics 2015, 130, 737–752. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  54. Casiano Flores, C.; Bressers, H.; Gutierrez, C.; de Boer, C. Towards Circular Economy—A Wastewater Treatment Perspective, the Presa Guadalupe Case. Manag. Res. Rev. 2018, 41, 554–571. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  55. Patwa, N.; Sivarajah, U.; Seetharaman, A.; Sarkar, S.; Maiti, K.; Hingorani, K. Towards a Circular Economy: An Emerging Economies Context. J. Bus. Res. 2021, 122, 725–735. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  56. Dangelico, R.M.; Pontrandolfo, P.; Pujari, D. Developing Sustainable New Products in the Textile and Upholstered Furniture Industries: Role of External Integrative Capabilities. J. Prod. Innov. Manag. 2013, 30, 642–658. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  57. Masi, D.; Day, S.; Godsell, J. Supply Chain Configurations in the Circular Economy: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1602. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  58. Sivaprakasam, R.; Selladurai, V.; Sasikumar, P. Implementation of Interpretive Structural Modelling Methodology as a Strategic Decision Making Tool in a Green Supply Chain Context. Ann. Oper. Res. 2015, 233, 423–448. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  59. Brunnhofer, M.; Gabriella, N.; Schöggl, J.-P.; Stern, T.; Posch, A. The Biorefinery Transition in the European Pulp and Paper Industry—A Three-Phase Delphi Study Including a SWOT-AHP Analysis. For. Policy Econ. 2020, 110, 101882. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  60. Hina, M.; Chauhan, C.; Kaur, P.; Kraus, S.; Dhir, A. Drivers and Barriers of Circular Economy Business Models: Where We Are Now, and Where We Are Heading. J. Clean. Prod. 2022, 333, 130049. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  61. Shao, J.; Huang, S.; Lemus-Aguilar, I.; Ünal, E. Circular Business Models Generation for Automobile Remanufacturing Industry in China: Barriers and Opportunities. J. Manuf. Technol. Manag. 2019, 31, 542–571. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  62. Nayak, R.; Akbari, M.; Maleki Far, S. Recent Sustainable Trends in Vietnam’s Fashion Supply Chain. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 225, 291–303. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  63. Rizos, V.; Behrens, A.; Gaast, W.; Hofman, E.; Ioannou, A.; Kafyeke, T.; Flamos, A.; RINALDI, R.; Papadelis, S.; Hirschnitz-Garbers, M.; et al. Implementation of Circular Economy Business Models by Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): Barriers and Enablers. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1212. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  64. Warasthe, R.; Schulz, F.; Enneking, R.; Brandenburg, M. Sustainability Prerequisites and Practices in Textile and Apparel Supply Chains. Sustainability 2020, 12, 9960. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  65. Brydges, T. Closing the Loop on Take, Make, Waste: Investigating Circular Economy Practices in the Swedish Fashion Industry. J. Clean. Prod. 2021, 293, 126245. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  66. Sandvik, I.M.; Stubbs, W. Circular Fashion Supply Chain through Textile-to-Textile Recycling. J. Fash. Mark. Manag. Int. J. 2019, 23, 366–381. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  67. Coscieme, L.; Manshoven, S.; Gillabel, J.; Grossi, F.; Mortensen, L.F. A Framework of Circular Business Models for Fashion and Textiles: The Role of Business-Model, Technical, and Social Innovation. Sustain. Sci. Pract. Policy 2022, 18, 451–462. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  68. Dragomir, V.D.; Dumitru, M. Practical Solutions for Circular Business Models in the Fashion Industry. Clean. Logist. Supply Chain. 2022, 4, 100040. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  69. García-Quevedo, J.; Jové-Llopis, E.; Martínez-Ros, E. Barriers to the Circular Economy in European Small and Medium-Sized Firms. Bus. Strategy Environ. 2020, 29, 2450–2464. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  70. Kumar, P.; Singh, R.K.; Kumar, V. Managing Supply Chains for Sustainable Operations in the Era of Industry 4.0 and Circular Economy: Analysis of Barriers. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 2021, 164, 105215. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  71. Tura, N.; Hanski, J.; Ahola, T.; Ståhle, M.; Piiparinen, S.; Valkokari, P. Unlocking Circular Business: A Framework of Barriers and Drivers. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 212, 90–98. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  72. Turker, D.; Altuntas, C. Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Fast Fashion Industry: An Analysis of Corporate Reports. Eur. Manag. J. 2014, 32, 837–849. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  73. Stahel, W. Policy for Material Efficiency—Sustainable Taxation as a Departure from the Throwaway Society. Philos. Trans. Ser. A Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 2013, 371, 20110567. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  74. Nordin, N.; Ashari, H.; Hassan, M.G. Drivers and Barriers in Sustainable Manufacturing Implementation in Malaysian Manufacturing Firms. In Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, Selangor, Malaysia, 9–12 December 2014; pp. 687–691. [Google Scholar]
  75. Jakhar, S.K.; Mangla, S.K.; Luthra, S.; Kusi-Sarpong, S. When Stakeholder Pressure Drives the Circular Economy: Measuring the Mediating Role of Innovation Capabilities. Manag. Decis. 2018, 57, 904–920. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  76. Milios, L. Advancing to a Circular Economy: Three Essential Ingredients for a Comprehensive Policy Mix. Sustain. Sci. 2018, 13, 861–878. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  77. Kautto, P.; Lazarevic, D. Between a Policy Mix and a Policy Mess: Policy Instruments and Instrumentation for the Circular Economy. In Handbook of the Circular Economy; Edward Elgar: Northampton, MA, USA, 2020; pp. 207–223. [Google Scholar]
  78. Ekvall, T.; Hirschnitz-Garbers, M.; Eboli, F.; Śniegocki, A. A Systemic and Systematic Approach to the Development of a Policy Mix for Material Resource Efficiency. Sustainability 2016, 8, 373. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  79. Cortes, A. A Triple Bottom Line Approach for Measuring Supply Chains Sustainability Using Data Envelopment Analysis. Eur. J. Sustain. Dev. 2017, 6, 119–128. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  80. Granados Aguero, A.; Niemenoja, K.; Kufrej, M.; De Wée, T. Report on the Value Chain Stakeholder Mapping, 2022.
  81. Smeets, A.; Asscherickx, L.; Van Hoof, V.; Duhoux, T. Fibre Footprint at Garment Level of Six SCIRT Prototypes; VITO: Mol, Belgium, 2022. [Google Scholar]
  82. Ciasullo, M.V.; Cardinali, S.; Cosimato, S. A Strenuous Path for Sustainable Supply Chains in the Footwear Industry: A Business Strategy Issue. J. Glob. Fash. Mark. 2017, 8, 143–162. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  83. Gazzola, P.; Pavione, E.; Pezzetti, R.; Grechi, D. Trends in the Fashion Industry. The Perception of Sustainability and Circular Economy: A Gender/Generation Quantitative Approach. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2809. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  84. Ranta, V.; Aarikka-Stenroos, L.; Mäkinen, S.J. Creating Value in the Circular Economy: A Structured Multiple-Case Analysis of Business Models. J. Clean. Prod. 2018, 201, 988–1000. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  85. Crow, D.A.; Baysha, O. “Conservation” as a Catalyst for Conflict: Considering Stakeholder Understanding in Policy Making. Rev. Policy Res. 2013, 30, 302–320. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  86. Koebele, E.A. Policy Learning in Collaborative Environmental Governance Processes. J. Environ. Policy Plan. 2019, 21, 242–256. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  87. van de Kerkhof, M. Making a Difference: On the Constraints of Consensus Building and the Relevance of Deliberation in Stakeholder Dialogues. Policy. Sci. 2006, 39, 279–299. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  88. Pahl-Wostl, C. Participative and Stakeholder-Based Policy Design, Evaluation and Modeling Processes. Integr. Assess. 2002, 3, 3–14. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  89. Schalk, J. Linking Stakeholder Involvement to Policy Performance: Nonlinear Effects in Dutch Local Government Policy Making. Am. Rev. Public Adm. 2017, 47, 479–495. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  90. Capano, G.; Howlett, M. The Knowns and Unknowns of Policy Instrument Analysis: Policy Tools and the Current Research Agenda on Policy Mixes. SAGE Open 2020, 10, 2158244019900568. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  91. Dermont, C.; Ingold, K.; Kammermann, L.; Stadelmann-Steffen, I. Bringing the Policy Making Perspective in: A Political Science Approach to Social Acceptance. Energy Policy 2017, 108, 359–368. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  92. Ingold, K.; Stadelmann-Steffen, I.; Kammermann, L. The Acceptance of Instruments in Instrument Mix Situations: Citizens’ Perspective on Swiss Energy Transition. Res. Policy 2019, 48, 103694. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  93. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Vision of a Circular Economy for Fashion. 2020. Available online: (accessed on 6 July 2022).
  94. Global Fashion Agenda. Fashion CEO Agenda—Priorities for a Prosperous Industry; Global Fashion Agenda & The Boston Consulting Group: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  95. OECD. OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector; OECD Publishing: Paris, France, 2018; ISBN 978-92-64-29057-0. [Google Scholar]
  96. PACE Accenture. Circular Economy Action Agenda Textiles. 2021. Available online: (accessed on 6 July 2022).
  97. UNECE. Call to Action for Traceability, Transparency, Sustainability and Circularity of Value Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector—“The Sustainability Pledge”; UNECE: Geneva, Switzerland, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  98. UNFCCC. Fashion Industry Carter for Climate Action; UNFCCC: Bonn, Germany, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  99. WRAP. Textiles 2030 Circularity Roadmap. 2021. Available online: (accessed on 6 July 2022).
  100. Mishra, S.; Jain, S.; Malhotra, G. The Anatomy of Circular Economy Transition in the Fashion Industry. Soc. Responsib. J. 2020, 17, 524–542. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  101. Manshoven, S.; Van Opstal, W. Vision and Roadmap Towards a Circular Fashion System, 2022.
  102. Duhoux, T.; Le Blévennec, K.; Manshoven, S.; Grossi, F.; Arnold, M.; Mortensen, L.F. Textiles and the Environment—The Role of Design in Europe’s Circular Economy; European Topic Centre Circular Economy and Resource Use: Mol, Belgium, 2022. [Google Scholar]
  103. Manshoven, S.; Smeets, A.; Arnold, M.; Mortensen, L.F. Plastic in Textiles: Potentials for Circularity and Reduced Environmental and Climate Impacts; European Topic Centre on Waste and Materials in a Green Economy: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2021; Available online: (accessed on 1 September 2022).
  104. Botta, V.; Cabral, I. Durable, Repairable and Mainstream—How Ecodesign Can Make Our Textiles Circular; ECOS: Brussels, Belgium, 2021; Available online: (accessed on 5 July 2022).
  105. Berg, A.; Hedrich, S.; Ibanez, P.; Kappelmark, S.; Magnus, K.-H.; Seeger, M. Fashion’s New Must-Have: Sustainable Sourcing at Scale; McKinsey & Company: Atlanta, GA, USA, 2019; Available online: (accessed on 7 July 2022).
  106. Oliveira Duarte, L.; Kohan, L.; Pinheiro, L.; Fonseca Filho, H.; Baruque-Ramos, J. Textile Natural Fibers Production Regarding the Agroforestry Approach. SN Appl. Sci. 2019, 1, 914. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  107. Periyasamy, A.P.; Tehrani-Bagha, A. A Review on Microplastic Emission from Textile Materials and Its Reduction Techniques. Polym. Degrad. Stab. 2022, 199, 109901. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  108. Altenbuchner, C.; Vogel, S.; Larcher, M. Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts of Organic Cotton Production on the Livelihood of Smallholder Farmers in Odisha, India. Renew. Agric. Food Syst. 2018, 33, 373–385. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  109. Trejo, H.X.; Lewis, T.L. Slow Fashion and Fiber Farming: Nexus for Community Engagement. Fash. Pract. 2017, 9, 120–142. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  110. Chapagain, A.K.; Hoekstra, A.Y.; Savenije, H.H.G.; Gautam, R. The Water Footprint of Cotton Consumption: An Assessment of the Impact of Worldwide Consumption of Cotton Products on the Water Resources in the Cotton Producing Countries. Ecol. Econ. 2006, 60, 186–203. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  111. Chico, D.; Aldaya, M.M.; Garrido, A. A Water Footprint Assessment of a Pair of Jeans: The Influence of Agricultural Policies on the Sustainability of Consumer Products. J. Clean. Prod. 2013, 57, 238–248. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  112. Raja, A.S.M.; Arputharaj, A.; Saxena, S.; Patil, P.G. 9—Water Requirement and Sustainability of Textile Processing Industries. In Water in Textiles and Fashion; Muthu, S.S., Ed.; Woodhead Publishing: Cambridge, UK, 2019; pp. 155–173. ISBN 978-0-08-102633-5. [Google Scholar]
  113. Çay, A. Energy Consumption and Energy Saving Potential in Clothing Industry. Energy 2018, 159, 74–85. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  114. Hasanbeigi, A.; Price, L. A Technical Review of Emerging Technologies for Energy and Water Efficiency and Pollution Reduction in the Textile Industry. J. Clean. Prod. 2015, 95, 30–44. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  115. Oelze, N. Sustainable Supply Chain Management Implementation–Enablers and Barriers in the Textile Industry. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1435. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  116. KEMI. Chemicals in Textiles—Risks to Human Health and the Environment; Swedish Chemicals Agency: Stockholm, Sweden, 2014.
  117. Nijkamp, M.M.; Maslankiewicz, L.; Delmaar, J.E.; Muller, J.J.A. Hazardous Substances in Textile Products; National Institute for Public Health and the Environment: Bilthoven, The Netherlands, 2014; Volume 68, Available online: (accessed on 7 July 2022).
  118. Berg, A.; Granskog, A.; Lee, L.; Magnus, K.-H. How the Fashion Industry Can Reduce Its Carbon Footprint; McKinsey: Atlanta, GA, USA, 2020; Available online: (accessed on 14 September 2022).
  119. Quantis. Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries Study. 2018. Available online: (accessed on 7 July 2022).
  120. Bouzon, M.; Govindan, K. Reverse Logistics as a Sustainable Supply Chain Practice for the Fashion Industry: An Analysis of Drivers and the Brazilian Case. In Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management: From Sourcing to Retailing; Choi, T.-M., Cheng, T.C.E., Eds.; Springer Series in Supply Chain Management; Springer International Publishing: Cham, Switzerland, 2015; pp. 85–104. ISBN 978-3-319-12703-3. [Google Scholar]
  121. McDonald, S.D.; Manh Hung, N.; Akbari, M. Transportation and Logistics for a Sustainable Fashion Sector. In Supply Chain Management and Logistics in the Global Fashion Sector; Routledge: London, UK, 2020; p. 300. ISBN 978-1-00-308906-3. [Google Scholar]
  122. Bakker, C.A.; Wang, F.; Huisman, J.; den Hollander, M. Products That Go Round: Exploring Product Life Extension through Design. J. Clean. Prod. 2014, 69, 10–16. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  123. Bocken, N.M.P.; de Pauw, I.; Bakker, C.; Grinten, B. van der Product Design and Business Model Strategies for a Circular Economy. J. Ind. Prod. Eng. 2016, 33, 308–320. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  124. Fletcher, K. Durability, Fashion, Sustainability: The Processes and Practices of Use. Fash. Pract. J. Des. Creat. Process Fash. 2012, 4, 221–238. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  125. Colucci, M.; Vecchi, A. Close the Loop: Evidence on the Implementation of the Circular Economy from the Italian Fashion Industry. Bus. Strategy Environ. 2021, 30, 856–873. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  126. Pal, R.; Gander, J. Modelling Environmental Value: An Examination of Sustainable Business Models within the Fashion Industry. J. Clean. Prod. 2018, 184, 251–263. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  127. Hernandez, R.J.; Miranda, C.; Goñi, J. Empowering Sustainable Consumption by Giving Back to Consumers the ‘Right to Repair’. Sustainability 2020, 12, 850. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  128. Colasante, A.; D’Adamo, I. The Circular Economy and Bioeconomy in the Fashion Sector: Emergence of a “Sustainability Bias”. J. Clean. Prod. 2021, 329, 129774. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  129. Xu, Y.; Chen, Y.; Burman, R.; Zhao, H. Second-Hand Clothing Consumption: A Cross-Cultural Comparison between American and Chinese Young Consumers. Int. J. Consum. Stud. 2014, 38, 670–677. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  130. Liu, N.; Lin, J.; Guo, S.; Shi, X. Fashion Platform Operations in the Sharing Economy with Digital Technologies: Recent Development and Real Case Studies. Ann. Oper. Res. 2022, 1–21. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  131. Gillabel, J.; Manshoven, S.; Grossi, F.; Mortensen, L.F.; Coscieme, L. Business Models in a Circular Economy; European Topic Centre on Waste and Materials in a Green Economy: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2021; Available online: (accessed on 23 September 2022).
  132. Diddi, S.; Yan, R.-N.; Bloodhart, B.; Bajtelsmit, V.; McShane, K. Exploring Young Adult Consumers’ Sustainable Clothing Consumption Intention-Behavior Gap: A Behavioral Reasoning Theory Perspective. Sustain. Prod. Consum. 2019, 18, 200–209. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  133. Munir, S. Eco-Fashion Adoption in the UAE: Understanding Consumer Barriers and Motivational Factors. Fash. Pract. 2020, 12, 371–393. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  134. Roos, S.; Sandin, G.; Peters, G.; Spak, B.; Bour, L.; Perzon, E.; Jönsson, C. Guidance for Fashion Companies on Design for Recycling; RISE IVF: Mölndal, Sweden, 2019. [Google Scholar]
  135. Bell, S.; Davis, B.; Javaid, A.; Essadiqi, E. Final Report on Design of Recyclable Products; Goverment of Canada: Ottawa, ON, Canada, 2006. [CrossRef]
  136. Nørup, N.; Pihl, K.; Damgaard, A.; Scheutz, C. Development and Testing of a Sorting and Quality Assessment Method for Textile Waste. Waste Manag. 2018, 79, 8–21. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  137. Niinimäki, K.; Peters, G.; Dahlbo, H.; Perry, P.; Rissanen, T.; Gwilt, A. The Environmental Price of Fast Fashion. Nat. Rev. Earth Environ. 2020, 1, 189–200. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  138. Wolff, E.A. The Global Politics of African Industrial Policy: The Case of the Used Clothing Ban in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Rev. Int. Political Econ. 2021, 28, 1308–1331. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  139. EEA. Progressing towards Waste Prevention in Europe—The Case of Textile Waste Prevention; European Environment Agency: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  140. EEB. Policy Brief on Prohibiting the Destruction of Unsold Goods, 2021. Available online: (accessed on 7 July 2022).
  141. Napier, E.; Sanguineti, F. Fashion Merchandisers’ Slash and Burn Dilemma: A Consequence of Over Production and Excessive Waste? Rutgers Bus. Rev. 2018, 3, 2. [Google Scholar]
  142. Chi Xu, D. Unwrapping Plastic Fashion Packaging: What Are the Eco-Friendly Alternatives? Ecocult 2021. Available online: (accessed on 7 July 2022).
  143. Han, S.L.C.; Chan, P.Y.L.; Venkatraman, P.; Apeagyei, P.; Cassidy, T.; Tyler, D.J. Standard vs. Upcycled Fashion Design and Production. Fash. Pract. 2017, 9, 69–94. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  144. Riba, J.-R.; Cantero, R.; Canals, T.; Puig, R. Circular Economy of Post-Consumer Textile Waste: Classification through Infrared Spectroscopy. J. Clean. Prod. 2020, 272, 123011. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  145. Padilla-Rivera, A.; Russo-Garrido, S.; Merveille, N. Addressing the Social Aspects of a Circular Economy: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability 2020, 12, 7912. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  146. Minney, S. Slave to Fashion; New Internationalist: Oxford, England, 2017; ISBN 1-78026-398-8. [Google Scholar]
  147. Tridimas, B. How the Fashion Industry Interferes with Human Rights. Available online: (accessed on 23 September 2022).
  148. Alamgir, F.; Banerjee, S.B. Contested Compliance Regimes in Global Production Networks: Insights from the Bangladesh Garment Industry. Hum. Relat. 2019, 72, 272–297. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  149. Bick, R.; Halsey, E.; Ekenga, C.C. The Global Environmental Injustice of Fast Fashion. Env. Health 2018, 17, 92. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
  150. Fuxman, L.; Mohr, I.; Mahmoud, A.B.; Grigoriou, N. The New 3Ps of Sustainability Marketing: The Case of Fashion. Sustain. Prod. Consum. 2022, 31, 384–396. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  151. Morris, J.; Koep, L.; Damert, M. Labels in the Textile and Fashion Industry: Communicating Sustainability to Effect Sustainable Consumption. In Sustainable Textile and Fashion Value Chains: Drivers, Concepts, Theories and Solutions; Matthes, A., Beyer, K., Cebulla, H., Arnold, M.G., Schumann, A., Eds.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, Switzerland, 2021; pp. 257–274. ISBN 978-3-030-22018-1. [Google Scholar]
  152. Araujo, M.J.F.D.; Araujo, M.V.F.D.; Carvalho, M.A.S.R.D. Unsustainability in the Current Fast-Fashion Industry: The Social Pillar. Int. J. Environ. Sci. 2020, 5, 285–292. [Google Scholar]
  153. Feng, P.; Ngai, C.S. Doing More on the Corporate Sustainability Front: A Longitudinal Analysis of CSR Reporting of Global Fashion Companies. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2477. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  154. James, M.A. Child Labor in Your Closet: Efficacy of Disclosure Legislation and a New Way Forward to Fight Child Labor in Fast Fashion Supply Chains. J. Gend. Race Justice 2022, 25, 245. [Google Scholar]
  155. Clube, R.K.M.; Tennant, M. Social Inclusion and the Circular Economy: The Case of a Fashion Textiles Manufacturer in Vietnam. Bus. Strategy Dev. 2022, 5, 4–16. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  156. Garcia-Torres, S.; Rey-Garcia, M.; Sáenz, J.; Seuring, S. Traceability and Transparency for Sustainable Fashion-Apparel Supply Chains. J. Fash. Mark. Manag. Int. J. 2021, 26, 344–364. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  157. Ki, C.-W.; Chong, S.M.; Ha-Brookshire, J.E. How Fashion Can Achieve Sustainable Development through a Circular Economy and Stakeholder Engagement: A Systematic Literature Review. Corp. Soc. Responsib. Environ. Manag. 2020, 27, 2401–2424. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  158. Mejías, A.M.; Bellas, R.; Pardo, J.E.; Paz, E. Traceability Management Systems and Capacity Building as New Approaches for Improving Sustainability in the Fashion Multi-Tier Supply Chain. Int. J. Prod. Econ. 2019, 217, 143–158. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  159. Manninen, K.; Koskela, S.; Antikainen, R.; Bocken, N.; Dahlbo, H.; Aminoff, A. Do Circular Economy Business Models Capture Intended Environmental Value Propositions? J. Clean. Prod. 2018, 171, 413–422. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  160. Lieder, M.; Rashid, A. Towards Circular Economy Implementation: A Comprehensive Review in Context of Manufacturing Industry. J. Clean. Prod. 2016, 115, 36–51. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  161. Ozdamar Ertekin, Z.; Atik, D. Sustainable Markets: Motivating Factors, Barriers, and Remedies for Mobilization of Slow Fashion. J. Macromarketing 2015, 35, 53–69. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  162. Siemieniuch, C.E.; Sinclair, M.A.; Henshaw, M.J.d. Global Drivers, Sustainable Manufacturing and Systems Ergonomics. Appl. Ergon. 2015, 51, 104–119. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
  163. de Jesus, A.; Mendonça, S. Lost in Transition? Drivers and Barriers in the Eco-Innovation Road to the Circular Economy. Ecol. Econ. 2018, 145, 75–89. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  164. Kirchherr, J.; Piscicelli, L.; Bour, R.; Kostense-Smit, E.; Muller, J.; Huibrechtse-Truijens, A.; Hekkert, M. Barriers to the Circular Economy: Evidence From the European Union (EU). Ecol. Econ. 2018, 150, 264–272. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  165. Rizos, V.; Behrens, A.; Drabik, E.; Rinaldi, D.; Tuokko, K. Role of Business in the Circular Economy: Markets, Processes and Enabling Policies. Report of a CEPS Task Force; Centre for European Policy Studies: Brussels, Belgium, 2016; p. 68. [Google Scholar]
  166. Salvador, R.; Barros, M.V.; da Luz, L.M.; Piekarski, C.M.; de Francisco, A.C. Circular Business Models: Current Aspects That Influence Implementation and Unaddressed Subjects. J. Clean. Prod. 2020, 250, 119555. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  167. Atalay Onur, D. Integrating Circular Economy, Collaboration and Craft Practice in Fashion Design Education in Developing Countries: A Case from Turkey. Fash. Pract. 2020, 12, 55–77. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  168. Govindan, K.; Hasanagic, M. A Systematic Review on Drivers, Barriers, and Practices towards Circular Economy: A Supply Chain Perspective. Int. J. Prod. Res. 2018, 56, 278–311. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  169. Colucci, M.; Tuan, A.; Visentin, M. An Empirical Investigation of the Drivers of CSR Talk and Walk in the Fashion Industry. J. Clean. Prod. 2020, 248, 119200. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  170. Esken, B.; Franco-García, M.-L.; Fisscher, O.A.M. CSR Perception as a Signpost for Circular Economy. Manag. Res. Rev. 2018, 41, 586–604. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  171. Lawrence, J.E.S.; Cook, T.J. Designing Useful Evaluations: The Stakeholder Survey. Eval. Program Plan. 1982, 5, 327–336. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  172. Yamane, T.; Kaneko, S. The Sustainable Development Goals as New Business Norms: A Survey Experiment on Stakeholder Preferences. Ecol. Econ. 2022, 191, 107236. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  173. Yamane, T.; Kaneko, S. Impact of Raising Awareness of Sustainable Development Goals: A Survey Experiment Eliciting Stakeholder Preferences for Corporate Behavior. J. Clean. Prod. 2021, 285, 125291. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  174. Michalak, J.; Michałowski, B. Understanding Sustainability of Construction Products: Answers from Investors, Contractors, and Sellers of Building Materials. Sustainability 2022, 14, 3042. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  175. Gramberger, M.; Zellmer, K.; Kok, K.; Metzger, M.J. Stakeholder Integrated Research (STIR): A New Approach Tested in Climate Change Adaptation Research. Clim. Change 2015, 128, 201–214. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  176. Stewart, D.W.; Shamdasani, P.N. Focus Groups: Theory and Practice; SAGE Publications: New York, NY, USA, 2014; ISBN 978-1-4833-1268-2. [Google Scholar]
  177. Bocken, N.M.P.; Weissbrod, I.; Antikainen, M. Business Model Experimentation for the Circular Economy: Definition and Approaches. Circ. Econ. Sust. 2021, 1, 49–81. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  178. Bocken, N.M.P.; Schuit, C.S.C.; Kraaijenhagen, C. Experimenting with a Circular Business Model: Lessons from Eight Cases. Environ. Innov. Soc. Transit. 2018, 28, 79–95. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  179. Toxopeus, H.; Achterberg, E.; Polzin, F. How Can Firms Access Bank Finance for Circular Business Model Innovation? Bus. Strategy Environ. 2021, 30, 2773–2795. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  180. Van Opstal, W.; Smeets, A. Market-Specific Barriers and Enablers for Organizational Investments in Solar PV—Lessons from Flanders. Sustainability 2022, 14, 13069. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  181. Van Opstal, W.; Smeets, A. Circular Economy Strategies as Enablers for Solar PV Adoption in Organizational Market Segments. Sustain. Prod. Consum. 2023, 35, 40–45. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  182. Guerra, B.C.; Leite, F. Circular Economy in the Construction Industry: An Overview of United States Stakeholders’ Awareness, Major Challenges, and Enablers. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 2021, 170, 105617. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  183. Bernon, M.; Tjahjono, B.; Ripanti, E.F. Aligning Retail Reverse Logistics Practice with Circular Economy Values: An Exploratory Framework. Prod. Plan. Control 2018, 29, 483–497. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  184. Stumpf, L.; Schöggl, J.-P.; Baumgartner, R.J. Climbing up the Circularity Ladder?—A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Circular Economy in Business Practice. J. Clean. Prod. 2021, 316, 128158. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  185. Hair, J.F.; Black, W.C.; Babin, B.J.; Anderson, R.E.; Tatham, R.L. Multivariate Data Analysis, Subsequent ed.; Pearson College Div: Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA, 2006; ISBN 978-0-13-032929-5. [Google Scholar]
  186. Endres, A. Game Theory and Global Environmental Policy. Poiesis Prax. 2004, 3, 123–139. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  187. Hanley, N.; Folmer, H. Game Theory and the Environment. Available online: (accessed on 13 October 2022).
  188. Akerlof, G.A.; Kranton, R.E. Economics and Identity. Q. J. Econ. 2000, 115, 715–753. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  189. Bowles, S.; Gintis, H. The Moral Economy of Communities: Structured Populations and the Evolution of Pro-Social Norms. Evol. Hum. Behav. 1998, 19, 3–25. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  190. Gintis, H. Game Theory Evolving: A Problem-Centered Introduction to Modeling Strategic Behavior; Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, USA, 2000; ISBN 978-0-691-00943-8. [Google Scholar]
  191. Robèrt, K.-H.; Broman, G. Prisoners’ Dilemma Misleads Business and Policy Making. J. Clean. Prod. 2017, 140, 10–16. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  192. Menashe, M. The Race to the Bottom Revisited: International Labour Law, Global Trade and Evolutionary Game Theory. Oxf. J. Leg. Stud. 2020, 40, 53–81. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  193. Akerlof, G.A. The Market for “Lemons”: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism. Q. J. Econ. 1970, 84, 488–500. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  194. Lopatta, K.; Buchholz, F.; Kaspereit, T. Asymmetric Information and Corporate Social Responsibility. Bus. Soc. 2016, 55, 458–488. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  195. Yang, D.; Xiao, T.; Choi, T.-M.; Cheng, T.C.E. Optimal Reservation Pricing Strategy for a Fashion Supply Chain with Forecast Update and Asymmetric Cost Information. Int. J. Prod. Res. 2018, 56, 1960–1981. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  196. Espínola-Arredondo, A.; Muñoz-García, F. Free-Riding in International Environmental Agreements: A Signaling Approach to Non-Enforceable Treaties. J. Theor. Politics 2011, 23, 111–134. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  197. Irfanoglu, Z.B.; Sesmero, J.P.; Golub, A. Potential of Border Tax Adjustments to Deter Free Riding in International Climate Agreements. Environ. Res. Lett. 2015, 10, 024009. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  198. Nordhaus, W. Climate Clubs: Overcoming Free-Riding in International Climate Policy. Am. Econ. Rev. 2015, 105, 1339–1370. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  199. Fowler, J.H. Altruistic Punishment and the Origin of Cooperation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2005, 102, 7047–7049. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  200. Hwang, J.; Choi, J.K. An Investigation of Passengers’ Psychological Benefits from Green Brands in an Environmentally Friendly Airline Context: The Moderating Role of Gender. Sustainability 2018, 10, 80. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  201. Obermiller, C.; Isaac, M.S. Are Green Men from Venus? J. Manag. Glob. Sustain. 2018, 6, 45–66. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  202. Brough, A.R.; Wilkie, J.E.B.; Ma, J.; Isaac, M.S.; Gal, D. Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption. J. Consum. Res. 2016, 43, 567–582. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  203. Pucheta-Martínez, M.C.; Gallego-Álvarez, I. An International Approach of the Relationship between Board Attributes and the Disclosure of Corporate Social Responsibility Issues. Corp. Soc. Responsib. Environ. Manag. 2019, 26, 612–627. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  204. Uyar, A.; Kilic, M.; Koseoglu, M.A.; Kuzey, C.; Karaman, A.S. The Link among Board Characteristics, Corporate Social Responsibility Performance, and Financial Performance: Evidence from the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. Tour. Manag. Perspect. 2020, 35, 100714. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  205. Noja, G.G.; Cristea, M.; Jurcut, C.N.; Buglea, A.; Lala Popa, I. Management Financial Incentives and Firm Performance in a Sustainable Development Framework: Empirical Evidence from European Companies. Sustainability 2020, 12, 7247. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  206. Todeschini, B.V.; Cortimiglia, M.N.; Callegaro-de-Menezes, D.; Ghezzi, A. Innovative and Sustainable Business Models in the Fashion Industry: Entrepreneurial Drivers, Opportunities, and Challenges. Bus. Horiz. 2017, 60, 759–770. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  207. Moorhouse, D.; Moorhouse, D. Sustainable Design: Circular Economy in Fashion and Textiles. Des. J. 2017, 20, S1948–S1959. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  208. Claxton, S.; Kent, A. The Management of Sustainable Fashion Design Strategies: An Analysis of the Designer’s Role. J. Clean. Prod. 2020, 268, 122112. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  209. Corvellec, H.; Stål, H.I. Evidencing the Waste Effect of Product-Service Systems (PSSs). J. Clean. Prod. 2017, 145, 14–24. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  210. Freudenreich, B.; Schaltegger, S. Developing Sufficiency-Oriented Offerings for Clothing Users: Business Approaches to Support Consumption Reduction. J. Clean. Prod. 2020, 247, 119589. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  211. Lüdeke-Freund, F.; Gold, S.; Bocken, N.M.P. A Review and Typology of Circular Economy Business Model Patterns. J. Ind. Ecol. 2019, 23, 36–61. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  212. Arrigo, E. Global Sourcing in Fast Fashion Retailers: Sourcing Locations and Sustainability Considerations. Sustainability 2020, 12, 508. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  213. Ülgen, V.S.; Forslund, H. Logistics Performance Management in Textiles Supply Chains: Best-Practice and Barriers. Int. J. Product. Perform. Manag. 2015, 64, 52–75. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  214. Neumann, H.L.; Martinez, L.M.; Martinez, L.F. Sustainability Efforts in the Fast Fashion Industry: Consumer Perception, Trust and Purchase Intention. Sustain. Account. Manag. Policy J. 2020, 12, 571–590. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  215. McNeill, L.; Moore, R. Sustainable Fashion Consumption and the Fast Fashion Conundrum: Fashionable Consumers and Attitudes to Sustainability in Clothing Choice. Int. J. Consum. Stud. 2015, 39, 212–222. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Figure 1. Preferences of survey respondents on policy instruments towards a circular fashion system. Note: Every dot represents 1% of the survey respondents (n = 261).
Figure 1. Preferences of survey respondents on policy instruments towards a circular fashion system. Note: Every dot represents 1% of the survey respondents (n = 261).
Sustainability 14 14671 g001
Figure 2. Average preferences of respondents from different types of stakeholders for compulsory policy instruments (0 = no ambitions, 5 = mandatory regulations).
Figure 2. Average preferences of respondents from different types of stakeholders for compulsory policy instruments (0 = no ambitions, 5 = mandatory regulations).
Sustainability 14 14671 g002
Figure 3. Average preferences of respondents with different professional positions within companies for compulsory policy instruments (0 = no ambitions, 5 = mandatory regulations).
Figure 3. Average preferences of respondents with different professional positions within companies for compulsory policy instruments (0 = no ambitions, 5 = mandatory regulations).
Sustainability 14 14671 g003
Table 2. Examples of policy instruments provided by focus group participants and survey respondents.
Table 2. Examples of policy instruments provided by focus group participants and survey respondents.
TopicMandatory InstrumentsNon-Mandatory Instruments
Low impact
Design requirements on the use of recycled and renewable fibresIncluding recycled content criteria in public tenders
Mandatory uniform digital product passports for all new productsLabels with % recycled content
Import regulations on fibre qualityTraining for designers and toolkit development for material choice
Low impact
Ban on the use of chemicals of concernCertification schemes
Carbon taxes on imported garmentsR&D support on technology development
Longer use of garmentsDesign requirements for longer product lifespansOffering repair schemes and tutorials
Mandatory repair services by retailersEPR-schemes including durability and repairability requirements
Cap on the number of fashion collections per year
RecyclingDesign requirements for recyclabilityR&D support for recycling technologies
Separate waste disposal obligations and mandatory collection of used textilesSupport market development for recycled fibres
Ban on the export of textile wasteLocal e-mobility solutions for collection
Restrictions on discount salesOn-demand production (e.g., with 3D sizing avatars)
Ban on the destruction of unsold itemsEPR schemes with eco-modulation
Import controls on textile qualityEducational contributions on overconsumption
Social justiceImplementation of social protection and working conditions along ILO guidelinesVoluntary Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (HREDD)
Taxes that internalise social costs in product pricingAwareness building on true costs
Value chain
Mandatory product passports to enable traceability and transparencyMatch-making apps and events to connect (small) retailers with producers
Blockchain solutions that enable traceability of disposed textiles
Table 3. Who is least in favour of mandatory policies?
Table 3. Who is least in favour of mandatory policies?
All RespondentsCompanies
n 260105
Prob > chi20.00000.0000
Pseudo R20.06340.1471
Dependent variable: the number of times a respondent prefers a non-mandatory policy instrument
Constant term2.7093 (0.2231) **2.9817 (0.2290) **
Male0.1312 (0.0380) **0.0545 (0.0594)
Age (ordinal)0.0491 (0.0157) **0.0266 (0.0283)
Position: CEO−0.0482 (0.1599)0.0346 (0.1039)
Position: Strategic management−0.1098 (0.1616)0.2539 (0.1082) *
Position: Operational management−0.1840 (0.1596)0.0963 (0.1060)
Position: Operational or administrative co-worker−0.2337 (0.1576)−0.0017 (0.1268)
Position: Designer−0.3537 (0.1691) *−0.4099 (0.1498) **
Position: Expert−0.2762 (0.1561)
Position: Independent consultant−0.2902 (0.1615)
Position: Student−0.3327 (0.1793)
Country: EU−0.0888 (0.0787)−0.1707 (0.1737)
Stakeholder: Company−0.0177 (0.1545)
Stakeholder: Government0.1108 (0.1726)
Stakeholder: Supranational organisation−0.1419 (0.2325)
Stakeholder: NGO−0.4074 (0.1632) *
Stakeholder: Sector Federation0.1330 (0.1670)
Stakeholder: Research Institute−0.0509 (0.1647)
Stakeholder: Customer−0.0899 (0.1599)
Value Chain: design −0.0310 (0.0875)
Value Chain: fibre producer −0.0706 (0.1090)
Value Chain: textile manufacturer 0.0536 (0.0851)
Value Chain: fashion manufacturer −0.0635 (0.0685)
Value Chain: logistics −0.2047 (0.0852) *
Value Chain: retail −0.1723 (0.0769) *
Value Chain: reuse centre −0.4312 (0.1621) *
Value Chain: waste management 0.0514 (0.0948)
BtC-market −0.0689 (0.0719)
BtB-market 0.0178 (0.0720)
BtBtC-market 0.1756 (0.0621) **
BtG-market −0.1146 (0.0874)
Size (ordinal) −0.0496 (0.2777)
Geographical scope of sourcing materials (ordinal) −0.0071 (0.0017) **
Geographical scope of operational activities (ordinal) 0.0030 (0.0012) **
Geographical scope of sales activities (ordinal) −0.0055 (0.0026) *
Note: Poisson regression results, * significant at the 5% level, ** significant at the 1% level. Standard errors between brackets.
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Manshoven, S.; Van Opstal, W. The Carrot or the Stick? Stakeholder Support for Mandatory Regulations towards a Circular Fashion System. Sustainability 2022, 14, 14671.

AMA Style

Manshoven S, Van Opstal W. The Carrot or the Stick? Stakeholder Support for Mandatory Regulations towards a Circular Fashion System. Sustainability. 2022; 14(22):14671.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Manshoven, Saskia, and Wim Van Opstal. 2022. "The Carrot or the Stick? Stakeholder Support for Mandatory Regulations towards a Circular Fashion System" Sustainability 14, no. 22: 14671.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop