Everything starts with design. The choice for material, production processes, and purpose of use will determine a product’s environmental footprint.
We believe a clear set of EU-wide definitions is the first step towards harmonised measure of circular impacts through end-to-end product design.
The Higg Index is being developed by companies of all sizes to measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance.
Eg: The Higg Index Product Tools will enable designers and developers to make better choices throughout production by predicting a product’s environmental impact.
Material choice, use and source can greatly affect the environmental impact measured.
The EU waste hierarchy is a good example of a clear EU-wide definition that enables designers and developers to make a more circular choice.
In order to design out waste, manufacturers need to be incentivised and able to track GHG emissions, chemicals, production waste & waste water.
A standardised way to measure sustainability performance will also contribute to clear consumer communication.
Together with policy makers, the industry will define a set of clear green claim guidelines to ensure consumers can make informed choices with comparable information based on harmonised standards.
There are numerous standards for recycling, such as the Global Recycling Standards or Recycled Claim Standard.
Clear standards and measurement will enable systematic clarification in trade agreements on what constitutes ‘waste’, ‘recycled material’ or ‘used clothing’.
A circular system will responsibly and efficiently collect and close loops after the use phase, prioritising reuse and high-value recycling and connecting secondary raw materials with production processes to reintroduce them whenever possible in new products.
The Policy Hub welcomes the discussions on how to unlock the full potential of textile waste - including apparel and footwear. The core message is that textile waste shall ultimately be considered as a new material resource. The future for our sector is a circular textile system, where products are made to last longer, from safe, recycled or sustainably sourced inputs that can recirculate multiple times.
Looking back, the Policy Hub’s two-year progress report reflects on how our policy work started introducing our partner organisations and providing key highlights, such as the number of contributions we submitted to the European Commission. The report also discusses how the Policy Hub has been guiding the industry to become more sustainable.
Comparable and reliable claims require a common methodology to assess the impact of a product. Hence in its position paper, the Policy Hub is asking the EU to impose one common methodology and database for making green claims about a product. This is a major change as currently companies are free to choose any methodology to assess the impact of their products. Also, vague and ambiguous blanket claims such as "sustainable product" should be prohibited as they are misleading. Other claims related to sustainability need to follow a vigorous substantiation protocol in order to ensure that they are accurate and understandable to the average consumer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the global economy. The apparel, textile and footwear industry is no exception. This crisis coincides with sustainability programs and commitments have increasingly becoming the industry norm and steps towards achieving a circular economy and carbon neutrality are taken. Shifting the economy to a more circular one requires all hands on deck and is a collaborative effort by citizens, industry and policymakers who can build upon both existing commitments and new initiatives together. The Policy Hub proposes seven key principles that should serve as a roadmap to ensure economic recovery while also driving the development towards a circular economy.
Vision of the Policy Hub on how to include circular economy principles at the design stage of product development.
The Policy Hub 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.
The value of creating circular business models has been recognised for many of the EU’s waste streams and within the circular economy agenda – from plastics to electronics to cars – thanks to the substantial benefits to be gained both in environmental and financial terms. Textiles have been identified as one of the waste streams with the highest untapped potential to implement circular practices.