We started the Koup blog because we wanted to share ideas that we find interesting and think that are important, and we thought what better way to get some Q&As with industry leaders to share their thoughts and experience? For our first Q&A with industry experts, we have the honour and pleasure to pick the brain of Karla Magruder, who’s a textile expert and veteran with over 30 years of experience in the textile industry, and the founder Accelerating Circularity.
Karla Magruder, founder of Accelerating Circularity
1. Tell us about your background and how did you come about in founding Accelerating Circularity?
I've been in the textile industry for more than 35 years with global experience from fiber to finished garments. I founded Accelerating Circularity in 2019 and Fabrikology International in 2003, a consulting company advising global companies and local brands on their sustainable fiber strategies and commitments. My background includes the apparel launch of Ingeo fibers, the 1st man-made fiber created from 100% annually renewable resources. I’ve been committed to working on sustainability initiatives for a long time. In addition to my day job, I’m a Textile Exchange Governance Board member, UNFCCC Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action Steering Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Raw Material Working Group and a Gr3n Advisory Board Member.
2. What is Accelerating Circularity (AC)?
Accelerating Circularity is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to divert spent textiles from landfill and incineration for textile-to-textile supply systems.
3. What are the main challenges you and AC face?
People. Getting everyone moving in the same general direction is critical to making progress. There are times it seems like the entire world is focused on going in the right direction. Once you get into the weeds you find that everyone has an agenda and it may not be making progress. Other agendas get in the way, anything from creating new businesses to making everything so complicated we will all be drowning in arctic ice prior to anything changing. There is a need for speed.
4. How important is legislation to help move things along?
Exceedingly important. There are several policy actions like EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) schemes and the requirement to have a % of recycled material in all products that would go a long way to moving things along. Additionally, there are also existing policies that need to be changed to help as well. Duty rates should not be the same for more polluting items. Things like moving “waste” around is not allowed across many boarders. How we define things will need to be changed.
5. Why should brands care and are they in it for the PR or fundamentals?
Brands should care because if they want to exist for the long-term systems will have to change. Smart companies are already aware of this but it’s going to be tough. Every step of the supply chain is used to certain margins or profit centers. These have not been based on the real environment costs. And our social constructs are off. Communication allows us to see things that were previously hidden from the person on the street. It’s not so easy to hide these days. The pandemic showed us additional unsavory behavior in the textile supply chain.
6. What are your & Accelerating Circularity’s goals in the short & long term?
Short term goals, 1-2 years is to establish circular models that are economically, environmentally and logistically viable. Our long-term goals, 3-8 are to share these models in as many geographies as possible and once we do that then we will no longer need to exist as an organization.
You can find out more about Accelerating Circularity and their work at https://www.acceleratingcircularity.org/