Fast Fashion, Charities, and the Circular Economy: Challenges for Operations Management - Rennes School of Business Access content directly
Journal Articles Production and Operations Management Year : 2022

Fast Fashion, Charities, and the Circular Economy: Challenges for Operations Management


Textile waste is one of the most pollutant items globally, being strongly affected by fast fashion (FF) products. Public pressure has made many FF firms voluntarily collect a small fraction of their preowned items and export them to developing countries for reuse. However, some developing countries are launching import bans on second-hand clothes. In addition, FF firms may soon be forced by extended producer responsibility legislation to collect more preowned items for reuse and recycling. To date, they do not have sufficient capacity to deal with this. Charities have been the key collectors and recyclers of unwanted clothes. Therefore, charities could help FF firms increase their capacity in this reverse supply chain (SC). However, we hardly witness such a collaboration for two main reasons: (i) charities prefer to sell high-quality preowned items in the primary market to generate the highest possible revenue and FF firms may fear cannibalization, (ii) many charities believe that FF firms generate quantities of low-quality items that require collection and sorting while being difficult to sell in the primary market. Charities also face competition from many small for-profit organizations selling FF preowned items. While charities have the support of volunteers, they tend to be less efficient. This work urges Operations Management (OM) researchers to suggest innovative business models to help (i) FF firms and charities collaborate to solve the abovementioned issues, and (ii) charities to improve their traditional practices for competitiveness. This study is primarily a position paper highlighting some challenges and introducing interesting research problems. Although the paper is not a research paper, it follows a qualitative research method to collect and analyze the required supporting documents to justify arguments and statements. We collected primary and secondary data from the textile reverse SC members to familiarize the OM community with this context. The current changes in the textile reverse SC offer many great opportunities for impactful OM research.

Dates and versions

hal-03696947 , version 1 (16-06-2022)



Reza Zanjirani Farahani, Nasrin Asgari, Luk van Wassenhove. Fast Fashion, Charities, and the Circular Economy: Challenges for Operations Management. Production and Operations Management, 2022, 31 (3), pp.1089-1114. ⟨10.1111/poms.13596⟩. ⟨hal-03696947⟩
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