The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles describes the EU's regulatory plan on how to transform the Textile Industry to have less harmful impacts on the environment and climate. Download your free copy of the Cheatsheet to the EU Sustainable Textile Strategy and its regulations.
What is the EU Sustainable Textiles?
The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles was elaborated in line with the EU Green Deal’s ambition to transition to a more sustainable and resource efficient European economy. Indeed, due to its tremendous environmental impact, textile is identified by the EU Circular Economy Action Plan and the EU Industrial Strategy as a priority sector to undergo a sustainable transition.
This Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles is a communication stating the objectives of the EU regarding the textile sector, and how legislation will be used to reach those objectives.
The strategy is composed of 3 key areas of action under which different initiatives are described. Each initiative is conducted through either publication or revision of legislative texts.
IMAGE: HOW THE SUSTAINABLE TEXTILE STRATEGY FITS INTO THE DIFFERENT EU PLANS AND STRATEGIES. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENT EU PLANS IN THE TRACEABILITY PLAYBOOK.
EU Objectives for 2030
By 2030, textile products sold in EU must be:
- To a great extent made with recycled fibres
- Free of hazardous substances
- Produced without adverse social and environmental impacts
Consumers must easily find high quality affordable textiles and access re-use and repair services. Producers would take responsibility for their products all along the value chain. Circularity for textiles would be thriving which would reduce incineration and landfilling of textiles to a minimum.
3 Key Plans in the Strategy
The strategy includes 3 key plans: “A new pattern for Europe”, “Weaving the industry of tomorrow” and “Tying together a sustainable textiles value chain globally”, each with several initiatives with its own legislative actions.
Each plan is presented below:
Introduction Ecodesign Requirements
2022 – Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (SPI): Development of product-specific Ecodesign requirements to increase durability, reusability, reparability, fibre-to-fibre recyclability of products.
2024 – Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability: Restriction of hazardous chemicals in the materials.
Stopping Destruction Of New Articles
2024 – Action to limit destruction of textiles (part of SPI): Obligation to disclose the number of products discarded and destroyed. Commission will introduce a ban on the destruction of unsold products. The Commission will encourage digital solutions for new business models like on-demand productions or even more precise information for e-shopping to prevent returns.
Tackling Microplastics Pollution
2022 – Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation: Consider this risk in the design of the product.
2022 – Initiative to address the unintentional release of microplastics from textile products: Set of prevention and reduction measures to address the different lifecycle stages at which synthetic fibres are released.
Creating A Multi-stakeholder Collaboration Forum
2022 – Launch of the Transition Pathway for the Textiles Ecosystem: Collaborative tool that can serve as a discussion forum between different stakeholders to create a transition plan for an industrial ecosystem.
Reversing Overproduction And Overconsumption Of Clothing
2022-2023 – Ecodesign for Sustainable Products (2022) and EPR for textiles (2023) will become the steppingstone to a new paradigm of attractive alternatives to fast changing fashion trends. As companies should be leading this change of paradigm, the Commission will engage with stakeholders in the context of the Transition Pathway (2022) to facilitate the scaling up of circular business models and transformations in the textile sector.
2022 – Guidance on partnerships for circular economy: The Commission will adopt a guidance on how to support partnerships between social enterprises and other actors that will explore the opportunities that reuse, and repair of textiles provide.
2024 – Guidance on circular economy business models: The Commission will encourage Member States to support the reuse and repair sector through favourable taxation.
Ensuring Fair Competition And Compliance
2019 – EU Product Compliance Network: Allows structured coordination and cooperation between national enforcement authorities and streamline market surveillance practices. It will ensure coordination between different Administrative Cooperation Groups such as the one on Chemicals and Textile Labelling.
Supporting Research, Innovation, And Investments
2022 – Common industrial technology roadmap on circularity: This roadmap aims at streamlining industrial research and innovation, including on textile recycling.
2021-2027 – Horizon Europe calls to support R&D in textiles: Public Private partnerships to further develop technologies and processes to scale up textile recycling capacities of the EU industry.
2022 – Taxonomy Regulation: It will allow to mobilise private investment in sustainable textiles. The Commission will elaborate criteria determining what constitutes a substantial contribution to circular economy in the manufacture of textile.
Developing Skills Needed For The Transition
2020 – EU Pact for Skills: The Commission wants to promote up-skilling regarding knowledge of life-cycle assessment and value chain assessment. It is planned to increase the offer of apprenticeships in the sector and to support SMEs in their digitalisation efforts.
2022 – Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive: Introduction of due diligence obligation for big companies: they must identify, prevent, and mitigate potential and actual adverse environmental and social risks along their value chain. Companies will also be required to disclose risks identified and actions set in place.
Ban on products made with forced labour: The Commission is preparing a new legislative initiative to prohibit the placing on the EU market of products made by forced labour.
Regulating Export Of Textile Waste
2021 – Proposal for a new regulation on waste shipments: Export of textile waste to non-OECD countries would be restricted to the case where such countries show their willingness to import the waste and demonstrate their ability to sustainability manage it.
2023 – Distinction criteria between waste and second hand: This would allow to avoid that waste streams are falsely labelled as second-hand goods.
How TrusTrace can help?
The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles is setting the expectations for the sustainable transformation of the textile industry and environmental impact reduction. TrusTrace provides smarter and faster ways to trace textile supply chains via supplier mapping and material lot traceability. Customers of TrusTrace are already implementing new ways to gather supply chain data digitally to substantiate claims and track progression on science-based targets.
Speak to a TrusTrace expert today to explore how TrusTrace can help your brands scale out traceability efforts. Trace smarter. Trace faster.
Please note: At TrusTrace, we want to keep you informed on laws and regulations, but this information should not be considered or used as legal advice.
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