Toyota Tsusho to Officially Launch PATCHWORKS™, a Project to Promote Circular Economy in the Textile and Fashion Field
- Aiming to Achieve the Textile-to-Textile Recycling of All Discarded Clothing -

  • (former)Food & Consumer Services


Toyota Tsusho Corporation ("Toyota Tsusho") announced today that it will launch PATCHWORKS™, a project to promote a circular economy in the textile and fashion field, on April 1, 2023. This project is to create a circular economy system for used clothing, towards the goal providing opportunities and futures for all discarded clothing to be revived as new clothing again by the year 2050.

1. Background

The fashion industry has been described as an industry generating significant environmental impacts, because of the high energy consumption required for manufacturing and the products' short life cycles. In addition, clothing items that must prioritize design and functionality are made from different material combinations and hence are difficult to recycle, resulting in most of them being incinerated or disposed of in landfills. Therefore, to materialize a circular economy system, we must be actively involved in Reverse Supply Chain (RSC) for resource recycling, the other side of Forward Supply Chain (FSC) including procurement, production, and sales activities that trading companies have conventionally been engaged in.

So far, Toyota Tsusho has operated RSC business model by partnering with Nakano Co., Ltd. ("Nakano"), which specializes in the integrated operation of collecting, sorting, reusing, and recycling of used clothing, for instance a T-shirt recycling project called Tee-Cycle™, with an outdoor apparel company, Patagonia International Inc., Japan Branch.

2. Summary of Activities

To expand these initiatives and establish a circular economy system which allows all discarded clothing to be revived into new clothing again, Toyota Tsusho has launched PATCHWORKS™, a business co-creation project.

Under this project, Toyota Tsusho will collaborate with all relevant parties in Japan and overseas to accelerate the creation of circular economy system by connecting RSC business providers, with the parties from FSC, such as apparel brands, retailers, consumers,. (See the figure below)
The circular economy concept chart of PATCHWORKS™

Toyota Tsusho will first address major fibers used in clothing—such as polyester, cotton, and nylon—in cooperation with Nakano and various related parties to establish a textile-to-textile recycling RSC, in which used clothing and other items are collected and recycled. Simultaneously, Toyota Tsusho will facilitate the development of easy-to-recycle textile materials and products with partner companies in FSC.

In the medium-to-long term, Toyota Tsusho plans not only to expand FSC business, sales and R&D of new materials made from recycled fibers, but also to enter into RSC business field (collection, sorting, and recycling) to invent new products and services contributing to the rise of circular economy system, which needs more than just collaborations.

In order to solve social issues in the textile and fashion industry, Toyota Tsusho will push the projects forward by being a "thread" patchworking every single diverse values and recreating brand-new values, and also simultaneously design new businesses that expand towards the future.


Concept behind the logo and project name
Toyota Tsusho commits to create new value by circulating, integrating, and linking individual values. The concept is named PATCHWORKS™, to express the idea of expanding value through making “patchworks”, crafted with pieces of textiles with different colors, shapes, and sizes are tied together and create new designs.
Official website

Information on Toyota Tusho Exhibition Booth Under the Theme of PATCHWORKS™

Toyota Tsusho and group company TOYOTA TSUSHO FASHION EXPRESS LTD. will exhibit at the following exhibition.



Tokyo Big Sight (West Exhibition Halls 1 & 2, East Exhibition Hall 7)
3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo

Overview of PATCHWORKS™, Textile-to-Textile recycling practices, and showcases of various recycled materials
April 5 to April 7, 2023

The information in this release is current as of the date of announcement.
Please note that information may change after the date of announcement. Thank you in advance for your understanding.