Sustainability of textiles European Commission

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ISSUE PAPER N 11,August 2013, water use toxicity hazardous waste and effluent associated with the production stage. including pre treatment chemicals dyes and finishes. All actors along the supply chain have a role to play in reducing the environmental footprint of textile. products First of all producers because as explained above considerable impacts might be. generated during the fibre production dying printing and finishing but also consumers as. considerable environmental impacts occur during the use phase For example most of the energy. used in the life cycle of a cotton T shirt is related to post purchasing washing and drying at high. temperatures It is also estimated that consumers in the UK throw away as much as 1 million tonnes. of textiles every year, Against this background many voluntary initiatives to reduce the environmental footprint of textiles. especially for cotton and polyester have been developed or are in the pipeline The uptake by. retailers of the various initiatives in this domaine are high The march towards more sustainable. textiles is well underway, Either as a raw material as a semi finished product or as an end product textiles are assimilated into. or constitute in their own right a vast range of products used in different domains and for different. purposes This issue paper will look at the most common textiles sold by retail companies namely. clothing accessories and interior decoration textiles such as floor coverings upholstery. curtains mattresses household textiles etc, This paper will primarily focus on the environmental aspects of textiles However unlike previous. papers the social impacts will also be addressed where relevant. Although the definition of sustainable textiles is still open to debate and considering the relatively. high impact that textiles have on the environment during their life cycle in the framework of this. paper environmentally friendlier textiles will be defined as textiles which minimise negative life cycle. environmental impacts along the supply chain including production and consumer behaviour care. and disposal of clothing,THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK, Most textiles specific EU legislation addresses the issues of imports from low wage countries sets.
standards for textile names or sets standards for the chemical analysis of textile fibres. From an environmental perspective the most relevant pieces of legislation are chemical related the. most important being REACH Registration Evaluation Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical. 20 of industrial fresh water pollution comes from textiles treatment and dying In 2009 the world used three trillion gallons of. fresh water to produce 60 billion kilogrammes of fabric It takes 700 gallons of fresh water to make on cotton T Shirt 2010. Global Market Report on Sustainable Textiles, http www forumforthefuture org sites default files images Forum Projects Fashion. Futures FashionFutures 2025 FINAL SML pdf, An important initiative in this sector is currently led by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition SAC More information available at. www apparelcoalition org,ISSUE PAPER N 11,August 2013. substances Regulation EC No 1907 2006 For textiles produced in Europe substances. incorporated in the textiles need to be registered For imported outside of the EU textiles importers. need to notify ECHA if the textiles they import contain SVHC substances of very high concern in. concentration above 0 1 w w if the total annual volume in all products imported is greater than 1. tonne Consumers also have the possibility to ask retailers if products contain SVHC in a. concentration above 0 1, Other pieces of legislation include the recently adopted Biocides Regulation Regulation EU No. 528 2012 which establishes the regulatory framework for the making available on the market and. use of biocidal products, Unlike REACH and the Biocides Regulation the Waste Framework Directive Directive 2008 98 EC.
specificially refers to textiles Besides defining the waste hierarchy i e prevention preparation for re. use recycling energy recovery and disposal the directive also calls for end of waste specific criteria. for textiles to be developed, For textiles a number of different voluntary environmental labelling schemes exist on the market. They include the ISO 14024 Type I EU Eco label the Nordic Swan and the Blue Angel Other. standards address environmental and social criteria along the supply chain e g Global Organic. Textile Standard GOTS, Under the EU Eco label criteria have been developed for textiles Commission Decision. 2009 567 EC currently under revision textile floor coverings Commission Decision. 2009 967 EC footwear Commission Decision 2009 563 EC and criteria for bed mattresses. Commission Decision 2009 598 EC, Other public and private initaitives establishing environmental and social standards have also been. set up and taken up both by producers and retailers. A business led initiative of relevance is currently being developed by the Sustainable Apparel. Coalition SAC One of the objectives of this initiative is the development of the Higg Index an. http eur lex europa eu LexUriServ LexUriServ do uri OJ L 2006 396 0001 0849 EN PDF. http eur lex europa eu JOYear do year 2012 serie L textfield2 167 Submit Search submit Search ihmlang en. http eur lex europa eu LexUriServ LexUriServ do uri CELEX 32008L0098 EN NOT. http ec europa eu environment ecolabel, ISO 14024 Type I ecolabels have the advantage of being voluntary multiple criteria based third party verified based on life. cycle considerations and multi stakeholders participation See Retail Forum issue paper on Labelling. http ec europa eu environment industry retail pdf labelling issue 20paper final pdf. http eur lex europa eu LexUriServ LexUriServ do uri OJ L 2009 197 0070 0086 EN PDF. http eur lex europa eu LexUriServ lexUriServ do uri OJ L2009 332 0001 0016 EN PDF. http eur lex europa eu LexUriServ LexUriServ do uri OJ L 2009 196 0027 0035 EN PDF. http eur lex europa eu LexUriServ LexUriServ do uri OJ L 2009 203 0065 0080 EN PDF. In France under the framework of Grenelle II law there has been a pilot experience aimed at developing multi criteria LCA. based indicator to be used for communicating the environmental performance of textile to consumers The results of the testing. have proven the feasibility of such an approach and have been welcomed by both industries and consumers Retour. d exp riences sur la fili re textile chaussure en Alsace Bourgogne et Lorraine available at. http www afnor org atlas europe france alsace lorraine bourgogne. ISSUE PAPER N 11,August 2013, indicator based tool for apparel that enables companies to evaluate material types products facilities.
and processes based on a range of environmental and product design choices. To check compliance with fair working conditions in line with the ILO norms a broad range of social. standard schemes were developed by retailers and producers The most common are summarised. under the umbrella of the Global Social Compliance Programme. OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS, Currently it is the producers and retailers who are mostly driving the improvements in sustainability of. textiles and are also working at raising consumer awareness There is growing attention towards not. only social but also environmental impacts of textiles especially for specific kind of products such as. childrenswear demand for more environmentally friendlier textiles is continuously increasing. Permanent and quick changes in fashion can be an opportunity for rapid uptake of sustainable. garments but also a barrier since such trends could quickly be replaced by something else In other. areas like interior or underwear innovation cycles are much slower. Opportunities, By improving their environmental and social performances brands can improve their. reputation, Linking business to social and environmental projects enables companies to build a strong. connection with consumers by involving them in sustainability initiatives. Technological innovation in production processes along the supply chain which contribute to. improve the environmental footprint of processes and which may save costs enabling the use. of more recycled materials i e end of life polyester can be recycled into new clothes. There are already well established environmental labels that producers can apply for to prove. their superior environmental performances such as the EU Ecolabel Blue Angel Nordic. Complex and global value chains often with low traceability represent an obstacle for. producers and brands who want to improve their production patterns. Socially and environmentally friendlier textiles might result in more expensive finished. The perception of some consumers that sustainable garments are not stylish or fashionable. and that the design and the appearance of eco clothing is unfashionable and unattractive. www apparelcoalition org,www gscpnet com, http www bsr org reports BSR NICE Consumer Discussion Paper pdf. ISSUE PAPER N 11,August 2013, An insufficient consumer demand Producers and retailers who want to promote more.
environmentally friendlier textiles need to develop the market. The market for recycled garments and fibres is still weak due to insufficient take back. systems and absence of convenient and reputable drop off locations for unwanted. clothing textiles in many countries which results in perfectly useable garments sent to landfill. or incinerated, Low knowledge level about strategic sustainability among fashion and textile companies and. their suppliers and lack of resources to upgrade and integrate new knowledge and new. technologies especially in small and medium sized enterprises. There are many labels on the market which can lead to consumer confusion. CONCLUSIONS, Developing production processes using lower amounts of water pesticides insecticides hazardous. chemicals or lower releases of GHG etc is as important as the measures adopted by retailers and. consumers to select such textiles However consumer behaviour in how they care for and dispose of. clothing and other textile products is of equal importance e g selecting the appropriate washing. temperatures taking the right steps to significantly extend the lifetimes and encouraging recycling of. garments once they have reached their end of life These important issues are all areas where. retailers can have a high degree of influence,Key challenges. Continuing to improve the working and social conditions of workers outside the EU while. offering textiles at an affordable price for EU consumers whose purchasing power is. Improving the overall environmental footprint of textiles over their entire life cycle and supply. Changing consumer attitudes of buying as cheap as possible and as many as possible. Providing consumers with relevant information concerning the environmental footprint of the. textile products based on harmonised systems at least at European level. What can retailers do, Offer and promote more environmentally friendlier textiles. Demand more environmental and social accountability from producers. See for example the NICE Consumer Report available at. http www nordicfashionassociation com 41193 The 20NICE 20Consumer 20report. ISSUE PAPER N 11,August 2013, Communicate to consumers the added value of sustainability and inform them on more.
environmentally friendly behaviour e g encouraging the most efficient wash cycle. programmes lower temperatures etc and how this can help them save money on energy bills. and reduce water usage thus lowering overall environmental footprint. Encourage recycling of garments promoting locally provided clothes banks bins etc. For retailers who provide employees with working clothes revert to more socially and. environmentally friendlier textiles,Include sustainability issue in staff training. What can producers do, Source their suppliers based on their social and environmental performances. Use best practices in technological innovation which contribute to improve the environmental. footprint of processes, Substitute hazardous substances with safer substances. Increase information exchange with retailers provide them with information about the latest. innovative solutions that help them address their sustainability challenges objectives. Support the development of Product Category Rules for textiles according to a methodology. at least harmonised at European level and use it as a basis for communicating the. environmental performance of their products both in B2B and B2C. Develop and offer more environmentally friendlier textiles. Promote the use of more sustainable fibres like organic cotton recycled fibres etc. Engage in research about new fibres and materials with lower environmental impacts. compared to natural fibres, Improve care labels on products and together with retailers increase focus on consumer. communication to promote responsible care, Encourage the reuse recycling of old clothes and textiles to produce new clothes rather than.
using raw materials promote remanufacturing and fashion upgrades. Communicate to consumers their sustainability efforts. Demand their suppliers to implement international social standards e g ILO standards. What can policy makers do, As set out in the Communication from the Commission Building the Single Market for Green Products Facilitating better. information on the environmental performance of products and organisations COM 2013 0196 final http eur. Sustainability of textiles INTRODUCTION The textile industry is the world s oldest branch of consumer goods manufacturing It is a diverse and heterogeneous sector which covers the entire production chain of transforming natural and chemical fibres such as cotton wool and oil into end user goods including garments household goods and industrial textiles In terms of intensity of trade

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