what is the EU planning in its new measures?

what is the EU planning in its new measures?
what is the EU planning in its new measures?

Brussels – When designing clothing, furniture or other items, the choice of textile is crucial. Comfort, practicality, without forgetting aesthetics, many criteria must be taken into account.

However, this massive use of textiles comes at a significant cost. Within the EU, this use puts considerable pressure on resources such as land and water, significantly increasing greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of raw materials. Despite these major obstacles, the textile industry remains a pillar of the European economy, employing more than 1.5 million people and playing a crucial role within the EU single market.

To advance the European Union’s efforts in the circular economy, the legislative framework governing this area is an important element. This is why the European Commission is considering reviewing the organization’s current legislation regarding textile labeling. According to the EU Textiles Agenda, all textile products placed on the European market will have to be durable, recyclable and repairable.

Article written by Lucas Falco (Lawyer) and Annea Bunjaku (Lawyer), EDSON LEGAL.

‌ ### The EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles

On March 30, 2022, the European Union unveiled its strategy for sustainable and circular textiles. In addition to the legislation already proposed, this green strategy aims to ensure an ecological and digital transition by also addressing social challenges. The adoption of legally binding measures would facilitate the reduction of the environmental footprint of textiles throughout their life cycle. Furthermore, it would strengthen the competitiveness of the sector in the domestic and global market by ensuring stricter standards. A key part of this strategy is the review of existing legislation governing textile labeling.

‌### Expected changes in textile labeling regulations

In the EU, textile products are currently regulated by Law 1007/2011 on Textile Labeling. Each textile product has a label that clearly indicates the composition of the fibers, as well as the elements of animal origin found there. This regulation establishes fundamental requirements for labels, ensuring that they meet standards for durability, visibility and accessibility.

Given the persistent difficulties facing the textile industry and the age of the current legislation, which has been in place for ten years, the European Commission is currently studying the process to adopt to amend these texts. In the textile industry, the Commission has identified three main concerns to take into account: (i) the segmentation of the single European market, (ii) the lack of consumer information and (iii) the sustainability of the sector.

Current legislation on the labeling of textile products is limited in scope. It does not provide information on the size and maintenance conditions of the items. The revision of the rules on textile labeling covers not only textile products, but also other similar products, such as leather and fur articles, clothing, accessories and indoor household items. The revision excludes shoes from its scope, as the labeling of shoes is governed by a separate EU directive. Due to divergences between Member States, the Commission intends to put in place harmonized rules to reduce compliance costs for businesses and improve the exchange of information with consumers.

After assessment, the European Commission could require companies to provide additional information as part of the labeling regime. With the aim of strengthening circularity in the industry, it wants to create an expanded information system that goes back to the Source and goes further than the existing infrastructure. The Commission is studying the possibilities of including information such as sustainability or circularity parameters, the size of the products and, where applicable, the country where the manufacturing process takes place (the famous “made in”). In addition, the addition of allergenic substances, the authenticity of leather and fur and labeling relating to maintenance will also be taken into account.

The introduction of digital labels is another possibility considered by the Commission. Building on other EU legal rules such as the digital product passport, the review will assess possibilities for introducing language-neutral symbols or codes, as well as a sustainability label and of circularity. As also noted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), digital labels are an essential solution for providing information to consumers by transmitting clear text, available in multiple languages.

Status of the review process

To carry out this review, the European Commission will rely on in-depth evaluations and impact studies. Stakeholders and citizens of the European Union will be actively involved in the public consultation process to address pre-identified issues, compliance costs and its benefits.

The Commission opened a public consultation on 19 December 2023 to collect views from industry and citizens on the need to amend the EU regulation on textile labeling. The consultation closed on April 15, 2024. Industry players were invited to provide their reactions and comments.

Based on the results of the consultation, the Commission will present a legislative proposal to amend the existing regulation. By participating in the consultation, the fashion industry plays a crucial role and influences the revision and ultimately the scope of the proposed future rules.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.com. It was translated and edited in French by Sharon Camara.

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