Denim Deal Sets New Targets; Plans Global Recycling Hubs

Denim Deal has global plans.

Originally known as the Dutch C-233 Green Deal on Circular Denim, the pact made between mills, manufacturers, brands and the city of Amsterdam in 2020 to increase the industry’s use of recycled content ended last year.

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Despite early challenges to get brands on board, participants surpassed their goal to produce at least 3 million pairs of jeans with a minimum of 20 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. By the end of 2023, they doubled the target by delivering 6.5 million pairs.

Denim Deal 2.0 is upping the ante in 2024, however. For the initiative’s next phase, participants have a renewed strategy that involves establishing key regional hubs and a goal to produce 1 billion pairs of jeans made with PCR.

Denim Deal contributors Nicolas Prophte, former VP of PVH’s denim center in Amsterdam, Besim Ozek, Bossa’s director of strategy and business development, and Romain Narcy, Ereks partner and Rematters founder, discussed the new plan at Bluezone in Munich, Jan. 23-24.

Maintaining the momentum of a private and public collaborative platform like Denim Deal isn’t easy. Even if they share the vision, Prophte said stakeholders operate on different cycles. However, he said that the lessons learned during the original three-year deal have informed a scaleable blueprint that Denim Deal can “plug and play” elsewhere to help other countries close the loop.

“There are obstacles and there are some challenges, whether they’re technical or trade barriers, but there is the light at the end of the tunnel and we deliver results,” Narcy said.

Denim Deal 2.0’s expansion plans will begin in Germany, Europe’s biggest market for denim. “If we want to reach that target, we need to have [Denim Deal] in markets where there’s a lot of denim,” said he said.

The first plan is to create a European hub to connect the dots between the different markets and the sourcing and supply chain. Organizers are also focusing on France, where producers are especially advanced in circularity, as well as Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt.

Ultimately, Prophte said the goal is to recreate the hubs in Asia, North America and South America.

“Brazil, for example, has huge denim production sites with big mills, but also a big population consuming jeans,” he said. “We could create exactly the same ecosystem with the same goals and objectives with stakeholders there.”