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New EU environmental norms for the textile industry

The European Union’s strategy for sustainable and circular textiles is part of the green deal objectives to reduce environmental impact. It is an effort to make sure that all textile products in the EU have been produced sustainably and with less waste.

The European Union is aware of the importance of the textile sector but also of its environmental impact. That is why it is working to strengthen the competitiveness of companies but, at the same time, make them greener. The result of this effort is a set of new EU environmental norms for the textile industry.

Called "the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles", this pathway started in 2022 and covers the production and consumption of textile products. It fits within the European Green Deal and complements the new Circular Economy Action Plan and the Industrial Strategy.

The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles

The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles is an ambitious initiative that targets reducing emissions, greening production, and consumption processes, encouraging innovation in green technologies, and creating a circular economy for textiles. It includes measures such as setting up digital product passports for all products to provide consumers access to product information, setting minimum standards for green labeling of textile products, and increasing market surveillance throughout the supply chain.

The strategy also involves providing resources to help small businesses adopt green technologies, developing a green finance scheme to incentivise green investments, and launching European Innovation Partnerships with industry players to develop green solutions. Furthermore, it aims to promote circular education programmes to raise awareness among consumers about green practices and make them more sustainable-minded when choosing their clothes.

Finally, the European Commission will regularly assess progress made by companies towards achieving green objectives set out in the strategy and review legislation accordingly.

According to these new EU environmental norms for the textile industry, companies will have to make sure that their products are designed with sustainability in mind and meet the criteria of circularity. That means they should be designed with materials, components, and technologies that enable them to be reused, recycled, or repaired. 

The environmental impact of the textile industry

The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, with a large environmental impact. From fabric production to yarn spinning and dyeing, numerous processes generate pollutants such as wastewater, hazardous chemicals, and greenhouse gases. The use of synthetic materials also contributes to this problem by releasing microplastics into the environment when washed or disposed of improperly. Furthermore, many conventional practices used in textile production are highly energy intensive which leads to increased carbon emissions.

But the push toward greener textile production is not just from the EU institutions. As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their consumption habits, they are increasingly looking for sustainable options when it comes to fashion. Consumers now want eco-friendly clothing that is produced with minimal emissions and waste and made from materials that can be recycled or reused. They are also looking for green labels on products so they can make informed decisions about what they buy. Companies need to respond to this shift in consumer attitudes by offering green alternatives and providing clear information about the sustainability of their products.

Objectives an actions of the EU strategy for textiles

The EU is pursuing a vision with a 2030 deadline that includes the following goals: 

  • Place only durable, repairable, and recyclable textile products on the EU market, mostly made from recycled fibers, free of hazardous substances, and produced in an environmentally and human-friendly manner;
  • Reduce fast fashion and support high-quality textile products at affordable prices;
  • Make reuse and repair services widely available to consumers and profitable for businesses;
  • Make the textile sector competitive, resilient and innovative, and responsible producers throughout the value chain and capable of supporting recycling, avoiding incineration and landfilling.

To achieve this, the New EU environmental norms for the textile industry sets out the following actions:

- new design requirements for textile products that make them durable, easy to repair and to recycle;

- the digital passport of the products;

- empowering consumers and combating greenwashing by focusing on corporate transparency;

- stop overproduction and excessive consumption, and discourage the destruction of unsold or returned products;

- harmonisation of EU Extender Producer Responsibility for textile products and economic incentives;

- solutions to the involuntary release of microplastics from synthetic fabrics;

- solutions for the export of textile waste;

- fight against counterfeiting;

- sharing an action plan for all players in the textile sector to guide the green transition and digital transformation.

The Product ID and Connected Products

 One of the most important parts of the new EU strategy is the introduction of a product passport, also known as a Product ID.

A product passport is an electronic document that contains all relevant information about a product's lifecycle and green credentials, including material composition, production process, energy consumption, water use, and many other factors.

Product IDs can give consumers access to this valuable information so they can make informed decisions about what they buy and companies can have their green credentials verified at any time.

Transparency is the key and the best way of offering it to consumers and transforming products into Connected Products. For example, using Certilogo's technology, companies can easily embed a unique identifier into each product they manufacture and offer a secure way to authenticate products at any time. The product passport also contains all relevant information about a product's lifecycle, such as its material composition, production process, energy consumption, water use, and other green credentials. Consumers can access this valuable data through an end-to-end traceability platform that tracks the journey of the product from source to store and provides them with the assurance that it was produced sustainably.

By using Connected Products by Certilogo, companies can guarantee authenticity while giving their customers more comprehensive green options. Moreover, they can better control their supply chain and ensure that only green items are being sold in stores and online. This increases trust in both brands and consumers who can now be certain that what they purchase is made according to green standards. At the same time, it encourages suppliers to start innovating now to give customers the best green alternatives.

Learn more about Certilogo Connected Products.

06 Mar 2023

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