Sarah Gray

Dr Sarah Gray

Doctoral Practitioner

Academic and research departments

Centre for Environment and Sustainability.


My research project

Business, industry and community links

Waste and Resources Action Programme
WRAP is transforming the way the clothing and textiles industry buys, uses and re-uses textiles and clothing.


Sarah Gray, Angela Druckman, Jhuma Sadhukhan, Keith James (2022)Reducing the Environmental Impact of Clothing: An Exploration of the Potential of Alternative Business Models, In: Sustainability14(10)6292 MDPI

Business models providing used clothing to consumers have the potential to increase the use of each garment and thereby reduce pressure on raw materials and primary production. This research used in-depth interviews complemented by a literature review to improve the understanding of the business models and the ways in which they can impact the environment. In total, the interviews were carried out with seven business owners and six experts in clothing sustainability, product lifespan extension, and circular business models. Examples of business models of interest include businesses selling secondhand clothes and businesses renting clothes to customers. A typology of business models is used to understand how each model impacts the environment and to highlight the factors that contribute most to the impacts that need to be managed. Business models vary in how they impact the environment, through differences in the way they manage transport, storage, and cleaning. Business models also vary in how successfully they reduce the environmental impacts from the production of new garments by increasing the number of times different wearers wear a garment and reducing the need to buy new garments. This effect is referred to as displacement, and the displacement rate provides an indication of the efficiency of reuse models in reducing total volumes of throughput. Indeed, some new business models may not have reduced throughput as a goal at all, and appraisal of this is crucial to understanding the environmental impacts of the various models.