In the globalised textile industry, every label aims to track a story. This record conveys vital information about the composition, the origins, and the care of the fabric. Hence, these labels are not mere tags. They are the tools of transparency in the textile industry, guiding businesses and consumers, by providing vital information such as material composition, care instructions and country of origin. But how did we arrive at this system of labelling?
Due to its high resource use and significant environmental impact, the textile industry has been designated as a priority sector for the EU's transition towards sustainability in the European Green Deal. The Green Claims Directive is one of the initiatives to address this sector's unsustainable structures. Earlier this year, the European Commission published its proposal for this Directive. This proposal has been published with the aim to combat greenwashing and eradicate misleading environmental messaging within EU markets.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has been recognised as a vital mechanism within the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles to address waste reduction and combat environmental deterioration associated with the textile industry. By 2025, each European Member State is expected to collect textile waste. This raises the question: How could an EPR scheme for textiles be implemented most effectively to drive system change for a circular economy?
Last week marked the anniversary of what is widely considered the worst industrial disaster: the collapsed eight-story Rana Plaza building, killing over 1000 people and leaving thousands more injured. This disaster raised many questions, including what must be achieved to prevent history from repeating itself. Over the past ten years, we have seen the first voluntary initiatives acting on Due Diligence in the textile sector. Today, binding legislation developed across the EU and Member States has come into force. We have summed an overview of voluntary initiatives to legislative action since the Rana Plaza collapse.
A couple of years ago, the EU made a remarkable commitment to become climate neutral by 2050 with the announcement of the European Green Deal. The Deal plays an important role in tackling global challenges, such as climate change and environmental degradation. It also sets an ambition for the EU to transition to a circular economy, where waste is eliminated, resources are circulated, and nature is regenerated. Last year the EU put forward its Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), which lays the foundations on how to make EU circular. In this context, we take a closer look at some of the upcoming EU's policy initiatives announced as part of the CEAP which will significantly impact textiles.
On 14th September, the Policy Hub - Circularity for Apparel and Footwear organised an online event on Tackling Misleading Claims and Empowering Consumers in the Textiles sector co-hosted with Delara Burkhardt, the Member of European Parliament. The event brought together prominent experts from the policy-making, apparel and footwear industry and the civil society to discuss on some of the remaining challenges related to consumer-facing transparency and policy solutions to address them. The recording of the event can be accessed here.
In light of the current EU and its Member States discussions on the extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, the Policy Hub together with the Bureau of International Recycling, Circle Economy, Euratex, EuRIC, EuroCommerce, Government of Catalonia, and the Municipality of Milan sent a letter to the European Commission asking for EU-harmonised rules for EPR. According to the signatories, the harmonisation of EPR rules is ‘’a key enabler for championing the transition to a circular and climate-neutral apparel and footwear sector in the EU’’.
On 23rd March, the Policy Hub – Circularity for Apparel and Footwear organised the third stakeholder roundtable on extended producer responsibility(EPR). We gathered seventeen experts from recycling, reuse, manufacturing, waste management, municipalities, brands, and fiber producers to set the foundations for EPR and assess EPR as a policy instrument for textiles. The discussion focused particularly on the scope and targets of EPR.
Marking the anniversary of the EU Green Deal, the Policy Hub - Circularity for Apparel and Footwear together with Civil Society Organisations sent a letter to the EU Commission on 11th December. The letter endorsed the Commission's ambitious direction towards sustainability and supported its efforts to develop a comprehensive EU Textile Strategy.
Key apparel and footwear organisations come together to present a new proposal for a Green Recovery Plan for Europe. The Policy Hub, a joint effort of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) and Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), recently published a proposal that outlines seven key principles necessary for a green recovery for the entire industry. The proposal was developed in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The Policy Hub welcomes the publication of the Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan to boost circularity, and especially its focus on the textiles sector. The concept of circular economy and sustainable business models is not new to the textile industry, hence our enthusiasm for this action plan which lays the first stone towards the long-awaited Textiles Strategy. Offering a clear and harmonised framework to our sector is of paramount importance. Our planet’s resources are reaching their limits; we need to move away from business as usual.
The Policy Hub for Circular Economy in the Apparel, Footwear and Textile Industry supports the European Commission’s initiative to address the challenge of textile waste and welcomes the consideration of extended producer responsibility (EPR) as an option to implement the regulatory requirement to separately collect textiles by 2025. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that EPR requirements stemming from the European Waste Framework Directive are workable for the fashion and active lifestyle industry and do not hamper innovation nor competitiveness in a global trade context. The Policy Hub seeks to open a dialogue with policymakers to jointly shape a common framework for an E...