EU unveils new textile strategy to foster sustainability

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The European Commission (EC) has published its strategy for sustainable textiles, with the ambition to move the sector forward on the path to sustainability. The strategy aims to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable, to combat fast fashion, textile waste and the destruction of unsold textiles, and to ensure that their production takes place in full respect of social rights.

EURATEX welcomed the ambitions of the European Union (EU) to act on textiles and sustainable investments, in order to change the way textiles are made, chosen and recovered.

Many European companies have already chosen this path, so the strategy should support them in this process, especially given the current energy crisis. The strategy recognizes the strategic importance of textiles, which are not only used as clothing or furniture, but applied in cars, medical equipment, agriculture, etc. It recognizes the proactive initiatives of European industry to fight against microplastics, to solve the challenges of market surveillance and the necessary skills. Increased cooperation is needed for the reuse and recycling of textiles and to create a European market for secondary raw materials. On this last point, the EURATEX ReHubs initiative is developing proposals to seize the potential of the EPR, to transform waste into value, and to create new capacity and jobs, EURATEX indicates in a press release.

EC has published its strategy for sustainable textiles, with the ambition to move the sector forward on the path to sustainability. The strategy aims to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable, to combat fast fashion, textile waste and the destruction of unsold textiles, and to ensure that production takes place with full respect for social rights.

The proposed ‘transition pathways’, which will translate the strategy into actions, will be essential in this respect: how will these sustainability objectives be achieved, what will be the cost for SMEs, how can companies be supported in this green transition, what is the impact on global competitiveness? These are essential questions that will have to be answered in the months to come.

The textile strategy is part of a much larger package, comprising up to 16 new legislative measures and other policies that will have a direct impact on the textile value chain. In particular the Sustainable Product Initiative Regulation, which includes groundbreaking provisions on digital product passport, eco-design, SME and green public procurement. The Regulation is overly ambitious and, to be realistic, would require a new way of working together between institutions and companies, which builds on the lessons learned on data flows across value chains, interoperability, conformity assessment and effective measures to support SMEs.

If implemented poorly, such an unprecedented wave can lead to a complete collapse of the European textile value chain under the burden of restrictions, requirements, costs and unequal conditions of competition. On the contrary, the changes to come can blow up the whole textile ecosystem and create a model of successful green and digital transition in manufacturing, which starts in Europe and extends globally.

EURATEX also welcomes the implementation of the Digital Product Passport. It has strong potential for improvement at every stage of the textile value chain, from design and manufacturing to recycling and purchasing. At the same time, EURATEX calls on the co-legislators to take into account the role of SMEs in this transition and to come up with pragmatic initiatives, supporting SMEs across the EU in a systematic approach.

Fibre2Fashion (KD) News Desk

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