EU: 65 civil society organisations publish joint strategy for sustainable textile supply chains as Commission is set to new develop 'Textile Strategy'

In April 2020, a coalition of 65 civil society organisations put forward a joint shadow European Strategy for Sustainable Textile, Garments, Leather and Footwear, in which they propose a set of legislative and non-legislative actions for more sustainable supply chains post COVID-19, and urge the Commission, MEPs, governments and other stakeholders to work towards such a strategy. The release follows a commitment made by the Commission in its Circular Economy Action Plan (p. 13) to develop a comprehensive EU Strategy for Textiles.

Recommendations on what such a strategy should encompass include, among others:

- A legal obligation for companies to take responsibility for not only their own activities but their whole supply chain through an EU due diligence law

Stricter environmental rules and

Ensuring brands and retailers are legally obliged to honour contracts and end the culture of unfair purchasing practices.

The full shadow strategy is available below. MEPs Delara Burkhardt, Heidi Hautala, and Helmut Scholz in a joint letter addressed to all MEPs shared their support for the civil society strategy, also available below.

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Article
27 April 2020

Civil society groups publish joint vision for TGLF sector

Author: Fibre2Fashion

A coalition of campaigners for fair trade, human and workers’ rights, environmental protection and transparency recently urged the European Commission, European Parliament members, European Union (EU) member states and other stakeholders to back a strategy to initiate a global redesign of the textile industry’s broken business model for the post-coronavirus world.

As the European Commission is poised to start developing a new ‘comprehensive strategy for textiles’ in the coming months, a group of 65 diverse civil society organisations recently set out its vision for the global textile, garments, leather and footwear (TGLF) sector.

They released a non-official (or shadow) strategy in which they propose a set of legislative and non-legislative actions that the EU can undertake to contribute to fairer and more sustainable TGLF value chains...

The sector has long been characterised by labour and human rights abuses along with the immense pressure it exerts on the environment and climate.

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Article
23 April 2020

Coronavirus strengthens case for new EU textile laws – 65 civil society groups publish joint vision

Author: European Environmental Bureau

A global re-design of the textile industry’s broken business model is essential for the post-coronavirus world.

With the European Commission poised to start developing a new ‘comprehensive strategy for textiles’ a broad coalition of 65 campaign groups for fair trade, human and workers’ rights, environmental protection, and transparency – has set out its vision for the future of the industry.

The textile, garments, leather and footwear (TGLF) sector has long been characterised by labour rights and human rights abuses...

Members of the European Parliament ... have addressed a joint letter to all the Members of the European Parliament to share and support the civil society groups’ vision...

The civil society vision for a comprehensive EU Textile Strategy contains recommendations for legislative and non-legislative actions that the EU can undertake to contribute to fairer and more sustainable TGLF sector, including:

Ensure companies are legally obligated to take responsibility for not only their own activities but their whole supply chain by applying an EU due diligence law across all sectors...

Stricter environmental rules...

> Ensuring brands and retailers are legally obliged to honour contracts and end the culture of unfair purchasing practices...

> Make governance reforms and better law enforcement in producing countries part of the solution...

> Through trade policy, use EU market power to leverage sustainable production practices in the TGLF industry.

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Article
23 April 2020

European Strategy for Sustainable Textile, Garments, Leather and Footwear

Author: 65 civil society organisations

This is a non-official (or “shadow”) proposal for an ambitious and integrated EU strategy in support of fair and sustainable textile, garments, leather and footwear (TGLF) value chains... We urge the European Commission, members of the European Parliament, governments of EU Member States in the Council and other stakeholders to work towards such a strategy...

The TGLF Strategy focuses on ... due diligence regulation, policy measures related to EU market access for sustainable TGLF, product policies, approaches for development cooperation, and EU-level multistakeholder initiatives. It proposes a set of measures at the EU level that address different stages of the value chain...

There is a need to further harmonise policies at EU level, [and] to level the playing field across Europe... This requires due diligence legislation that goes beyond reporting...

[W]hen planning and exercising human rights due diligence, the companies will be required to consider how their own purchasing practices, including pricing, may obstruct suppliers’ capacity to respect human rights...

The TGLF Strategy will later be accompanied by an EU-level multi-stakeholder partnership (MSP) ... 

Such MSP shall serve as a forum through which the partnership actors may share knowledge and tools on due diligence but should not further encourage the use of corporate social auditing as a way to do so...

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Article
23 April 2020

MEP letter

Author: Delara Burkhardt, Heidi Hautala & Helmut Scholz

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Article
20 March 2020

Circular Economy Action Plan

Author: European Commission

[T]he EU needs to accelerate the transition towards a regenerative growth model that gives back to the planet more than it takes, advance towards keeping its resource consumption within planetary boundaries, and therefore strive to reduce its consumption footprint and double its circular material use rate in the coming decade...

Textiles

...In the light of the complexity of the textile value chain, to respond to these challenges the Commission will propose a comprehensive EU Strategy for Textiles, based on input from industry and other stakeholders. The strategy will aim at strengthening industrial competitiveness and innovation in the sector, boosting the EU market for sustainable and circular textiles, including the market for textile reuse, addressing fast fashion and driving new business models...

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Report
19 December 2019

[Discussion paper] Sewing the pieces together: towards an eu strategy for fair and sustainable textiles

Author: Nadia Ashraf & Jeske van Seters, ecdpm

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