The European Commission has just unveiled a package of European Green Deal proposals to foster the sustainability of consumer products, focusing also on the textile supply chain.
The awaited proposal reflects the EU efforts to advance the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) released in March 2020 and promote more sustainable, longer-lasting, and easier to repair and recycle consumer goods. “We want sustainable products to become the norm on the European market,” said Frans Timmermans, the EU Commissioner responsible for the environment, announcing the proposal at a press conference. The proposal addresses several domains, including textile which accounts for the fourth-highest impact on the environment and climate change, after food, housing and mobility.
The package consists of:
- The Sustainable Products Initiative, which aims to boost the circularity of products on the EU market, including a reform of Ecodesign laws.
- A Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, which sets out the plans for new policies to bring more sustainability to one of the world’s most polluting, wasteful and exploitative sectors.
- A proposal for the revision of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR).
- New rules to reinforce consumer power.
Sustainable and Circular Textiles
The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles sets out the vision and concrete actions to ensure that by 2030 textile products placed on the EU market are durable and recyclable, made as much as possible of recycled fibres, free of hazardous substances and produced in respect of social rights and the environment.
Some of the measures include:
- New design requirements for textiles under the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation, setting mandatory minimums for the inclusion of recycled fibers in textiles, making them longer-lasting, and easier to repair and recycle. Under the proposed regulation, sustainable textiles products will become the norm in the EU. The proposal would also ban the destruction of unsold products under certain conditions, including unsold or returned textiles.
- Clearer information on textiles and a Digital Product Passport based on mandatory information requirements on circularity and other key environmental aspects.
- Tight controls on greenwashing, with stricter rules to protect consumers and direct links to the upcoming Green Claims Initiative.
- Action to address the unintentional release of microplastics from textiles. In addition to product design, measures will target manufacturing processes, pre-washing at industrial manufacturing plants, labelling and the promotion of innovative materials.
- Harmonised EU rules on extended producer responsibility for textiles, and economic incentives to make products more sustainable (“eco-modulation of fees”), as part of the revision of the Waste Framework Directive in 2023.
- Support to research, innovation and investments and to the development of the skills needed for the green and digital transitions.
- Addressing the challenges related to halting the export of textile waste.
- The co-creation of a Transition Pathway for the Textiles Ecosystem to establish the way forward and set out concrete step on how to achieve the 2030 goals set by the Textiles Strategy.
The Commission invites all interested parties and in particular SMEs, public authorities, social partners and research organisations to express their views on how best to realise the transition, while boosting resilience. You can provide feedback through the online survey and follow up workshops.