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11 Mar 2022

Fashion Revolution, Fair Trade Advocacy Office & 10 others

EU: Labour & environmental organisations urge Commission to strengthen Sustainable Textile Strategy

"New EU Textile Strategy: Don’t lose the thread", 22 Feb 2022

The EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles will soon be adopted by policymakers. It has the potential to help the EU shift to a climate-neutral, circular economy where products are designed to be more durable, reusable, repairable, recyclable and energy-efficient.

However, there are concerns that the strategy lacks the ambition to make the urgent changes needed for a truly sustainable fashion and textile industry in Europe.

Alongside other European labour and environmental organisations, we have written to the European Commission to urge the strategy to be more impactful, emphasising the need for a tangible vision to change the textile sector with concrete suggestions for strengthening the action plan. Here is the letter in full.

Dear Vice Presidents, Dear Commissioners, [...]

For the upcoming EU strategy to be coherent, ambitious, and impactful, it must: [...]

  • Ensure a level playing field for EU-produced products, exports, and imports... The EU should ensure that trade agreements and preference programmes are used as levers to promote sustainable development, human rights, and fair and ethical trade around the world, and to improve the responsibility of value chains...
  • Address the impact of unfair purchasing practices (UTPs) imposed by buyers upon manufacturers in the sector, including their environmental and social consequences. The Strategy must commit to undertaking legislative action to ban the most damaging UTPs from the textile sector.
  • Show the way for the future sustainable corporate governance legislation and its human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) requirements to adequately tackle the challenges that are specific to the global apparel and textile sector, such as freedom of association, health and safety, living wages. This will require ensuring that all SMEs active in the sector are covered by the legislation, that the impact of chemical use on the environment and people in production countries as well as the impact of purchasing practices are covered by the due diligence obligations of buyers.
  • Require companies to provide detailed information about upstream or downstream environmental impacts (such as chemical and material-efficiency aspects) and human rights and social aspects as well as responsible business conduct including prevention of corruption...
  • Set a strategy to achieve public procurement tenders which include integrity, environmental and social responsibility as criteria...