What Will the EU Strategy for Textiles Mean for Fashion Brands?

14th January 2021

Fashion is an industry that stretches right around the globe – and it has an environmental footprint to match. The fashion value chain produces 92 million tonnes of waste and is responsible for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. This has an unsustainable impact on our natural resources and environment at each stage of the supply chain, from the sourcing of raw materials, through the manufacture of clothing to the end-of-life stage. Much blame is increasingly laid at the door of ‘fast fashion’, but luxury brands do not escape blame: this is an industry-wide problem.

To address the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption in the fashion industry, new Europe-wide legislation is on the horizon. As part of the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan, an EU Strategy for Textiles is proposed, which includes a raft of core policies to address the way clothing is designed, what is communicated to consumers, and the ways clothing and textiles are managed at end-of-life.

One of the key measures proposed is a framework of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This approach makes producers and fashion brands responsible for the costs of collecting, sorting, and recycling their products at the end of their life and incentivises eco-design.

The aim is to incentivise brands to implement less resource-intensive practices, such as sustainable sourcing of raw materials and designing clothing to be longer-lasting or able to be recycled, throughout the entire value chain. This mechanism can also provide funding for both the R&D and subsequent implementation of recycling technologies and associated collection infrastructure, effectively closing the loop and keeping resources and materials in circulation for as long as possible.

These changes will apply to the entire EU market, and by extension will have far-reaching global impacts across the supply chain. All the signs are that legislation will be driven through on an accelerated timeframe, following the example of 2019’s Single Use Plastics Directive, which means fashion brands and producers will need to quickly get up to speed on how this will impact their business models.

We will be hosting a webinar with Brussels-based strategy and public affairs consultancy ADS Insight to explore the significant challenges that the fashion and textiles industry will need to address in light of upcoming changes to legislation on how textiles and clothing are produced and recycled in the EU.

Taking place on 27th January 2021 at 10am GMT, the webinar, entitled ‘Pulling the thread on the fashion industry’, will explain these changes and how they will impact fashion brands and businesses and introduce how the value chain can prepare for the challenges ahead. Speakers will include key figures in European policy-making, circular economy experts and technical experts in the field of sustainable fashion and textiles.

To register for this webinar, sign up using this link before 27th January 2021. You can view a promotional video for the webinar on YouTube.