Model of circular business ecosystem for textiles

Paula Fontell, Pirjo Heikkilä

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    The goal of the Model of a Circular Business Ecosystem for Textiles is to present a vision for the future circular textile industry and its actors, material flows, and key processes. Although the model is based on a national project, it can be applied in any country or region. The report also includes an overview of the international key developments, projects, and solutions in the context of textiles and a circular economy. The textile business is a complex system from design and production to global distribution of textiles. The life cycle of textiles starts on farms or from the production of other raw materials. The fibres are formed into yarns that can be further knitted or woven into fabrics. Fabrics are sewed into final products, sold to consumers, and discarded as waste after consumption. Chemicals, water and energy are used and emissions released to the environment at every step during the entire life cycle of the product. One of the largest global problems with the current business model is the high amount of textile waste that still ends up in landfills or is incinerated. Circular business ecosystems are business ecosystems, which together create products, solutions and services based on the principles of a circular economy, and apply circular business models in their way of operating and doing business. Materials flow through the hierarchical value cycles of maintenance, reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling, and nothing is wasted. Transformation of the traditional linear economy into a circular economy is a systems-level change and requires a totally new value creation mind-set. Close collaboration among the whole value network is needed in order to design out waste and maintain the value of products and materials as high as possible for a maximum period of time. This report presents a model of the circular textile industry. The modelling was based on waste management hierarchy and the technical cycles described in the Circular Economy System Diagram by the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation. The model encompasses and discusses the following sections of the business ecosystem: use, repair and reuse of textiles, textile collecting and sorting, production of recycled fibres, and production of textiles from recycled fibres. Fundamental success factors for circular business ecosystems are discussed. Those are, for instance, the importance of a shared systems-level vision, inclusion of many different actors along the value cycles, and the formation of a well-articulated new value proposition for customers. The report also presents a study on creation of shared value in a circular economy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages58
    ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-8586-1
    ISBN (Print)978-951-38-8587-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Technology


    • circular economy
    • textiles
    • closed loops
    • business ecosystem
    • business model


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