In March and April 2019 we partnered with TRAID to raise funds for their work. We spoke with Andrea Speranza at TRAID to find out more about the 23% campaign they're currently running in the London area...


Tell us a little bit about the history of TRAID and your current 23% Campaign?

TRAID (Textile Re-use and International Development) is a UK charity working for nearly 20-years to tackle and solve the problems caused by producing, consuming and disposing of clothes. Keeping clothes in use for longer is at the core of our work. We do this by providing convenient ways for the public to reuse clothes while delivering education to people of all ages to raise awareness of the powerful environmental and social benefits of reducing our clothing footprint.

TRAID completes the circle by committing the funds raised to global projects benefiting the people and places where our clothes are made. The work we support aims to improve environmental and social outcomes, from supporting cotton farmers to grow organic to helping retailers eliminate child labour in their supply chains.

We launched the the 23% campaign due to the enormous amount of wearable clothing going to landfill each year is frequently documented in the media and is a problem which charity collectors, local authorities and community-led initiatives are attempting to tackle.

Yet, the equally serious problems of the over-consumption of clothes, and the fact that we hardly wear the clothes we buy, are less discussed despite the significant damage this causes to the planet. In the case of London, one of the world’s great fashion capitals, 23% of Londoners’ clothes are unworn. That’s unsustainable. But, at TRAID we believe that we can all do something to fix it. By passing on these clothes for someone else to use, everyone one can help to advance and champion the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 12 (SDG12) to ensure sustainable consumption and production and spark positive change for our planet.

The campaign calls for Londoners to take action by passing on clothes they no longer need to TRAID, for someone else to use and TRAID makes this as easy as possible by offering a free home collection service to everyone participating.The 23% campaign is also the first campaign in the UK to inform the public about the estimated water, waste and carbon savings made as a result of each individual action to pass on clothes to TRAID.


What are some of the key stats in terms of the 23% Campaign’s success?

Thousands of Londoners have passed on over three quarter of a million garments they no longer wear to the UK charity TRAID. In six-months, Londoners have put 774,365 garments back into use, over three quarters of a million items. This represents a carbon saving of 2,100 tonnes and a water saving of 353,600,000 litres. It would take a tap running non-stop for 67 years to use this amount of water


More broadly, what’s the statistic that concerns you the most in relation to the impact of the fashion industry, and why?

There are many concerns regarding water usage, clothes going to landfills, etc., but one of the biggest is related to the carbon footprint of the fashion industry, both nationally and globally.

The carbon footprints of clothes in use in the UK increased to 26 million tonnes of CO2e  in 2016 – up from 24 million in 2012. This is driven by overconsumption. 

Current global emissions are around 1.2 billion tonnes. This is higher than international aviation and shipping combined. However, research projects that the carbon emissions of the industry could even double in the next 11 years if change does not occur.


What other campaigns is TRAID currently running?

In partnership with another campaigning organisation,  SumOfUS, we have started an online campaign calling on the government to set mandatory environmental targets to retailers with a turnover of £36 million or more. Voluntary initiatives  have shown some progress, but not at the rate needed to tackle this unpreceded environmental crisis. We welcome everyone to sign the petition here. It has already reached 23,000 signatures in its first week.  


As well as buying sustainably and fairly - or buying second hand - what can consumers do to reduce the negative impact of the fashion industry?

At TRAID, we encourage everyone to do 3 simple things: buy less, buy better, buy second hand.  

Simple individual actions can generate significant collective change.