Ending fast fashion: tougher rules to fight excessive production and consumptionImage by benzoix on Freepik
- Textile products must last longer and be easier to reuse, repair and recycle
- The destruction of unsold or returned textiles should be banned
- Human, social and labour rights must be respected during production
- Need for binding targets and measures addressing the entire lifecycle of textiles
Environment Committee MEPs adopted their recommendations today for EU measures to ensure that textiles are produced in a circular, sustainable and socially just way.
MEPs say textile products sold in the EU should be more durable, easier to reuse, repair and recycle, made to a great extent of recycled fibres, and free of hazardous substances. They underline that textiles should be produced in a manner that respects human, social and labour rights, the environment and animal welfare throughout their supply chain.
Driving fast fashion out of fashion
To tackle overproduction and the overconsumption of clothes and footwear, the Committee calls on the Commission and EU countries to adopt measures that put an end to “fast fashion”, starting with a clear definition of the term based on “high volumes of lower quality garments at low price levels”. Consumers should be better informed to help them make responsible and sustainable choices, including through the introduction of a “digital product passport” in the upcoming revision of the ecodesign regulation.
Reducing emissions, water and energy use, increasing collection and reuse
MEPs want ambitious science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the entire lifecycle of the textiles sector. They request the Commission and member states to ensure that production processes become less energy- and water-intensive, avoid the use and release of harmful substances, and reduce material and consumption footprints. Ecodesign requirements on all textile and footwear products should be adopted as a priority.
MEPs also want the revision of the Waste Framework Directive to include specific separate targets for textile waste prevention, collection, reuse and recycling, as well as the phase out of the landfilling of textiles.
Other recommendations include:
- The inclusion of an explicit ban on the destruction of unsold and returned textile goods in the EU ecodesign rules;
- Clear rules to put an end to greenwashing practices, through the ongoing legislative work on empowering consumers in the green transition and regulating green claims;
- Ensure fair and ethical trade practices through enforcing EU trade agreements;
- The launch without further delay of the Commission initiative to prevent and minimise the release of microplastics and microfibers into the environment.
The own initiative report was adopted with 68 votes in favour, none against and one abstention.
Rapporteur Delara Burkhardt (S&D, DE) said: “Consumers alone cannot reform the global textile sector through their purchasing habits. If we allow the market to self-regulate, we leave the doors open for a fast fashion model that exploits people and the planet’s resources. The EU must legally oblige manufacturers and large fashion companies to operate more sustainably. People and the planet are more important than the textile industry’s profits. The disasters that have occurred in the past, such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, growing landfills in Ghana and Nepal, polluted water, and microplastics in our oceans, show what happens when this principle is not pursued. We have waited long enough – it is time to make a change!”
The report is expected to be adopted in plenary before the summer.
The Commission presented the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles on 30 March 2022 to address the entire lifecycle of textile products and propose actions to change how we produce and consume textiles. It aims to implement the commitments of the European Green Deal, the new circular economy action plan and the industrial strategy for the textiles’ sector.