The aim of the initiative is to set in place a comprehensive framework to create conditions and incentives to boost the competitiveness, sustainability, and resilience of the EU textile sector, taking into account its strengths and vulnerabilities, after a long period of restructuring delocalisation, and addressing its environmental and social impacts. It will ensure coherence and complementarity with initiatives under the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Industrial Strategy and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.
The initiative will facilitate and encourage an optimal use of the recovery plan and sustainable investments. In particular, in production processes: design, new materials, new business models, infrastructure and capacity. Support to technologies through digitalisation, related to innovative textiles, tackling the release of microplastics, manufacturing and recycling processes will contribute to the digital and green transition.
To boost the EU market’s transition towards sustainable and circular textiles, the initiative might consider setting targets to significantly increase the reuse and recycling efforts as well as green public procurement in the EU. These objectives will be considered through a structured engagement with the industrial ecosystem and other stakeholders (i.e. research and innovation, consumer associations, investment companies, Member States, civil society), to allow their swifter achievement, and to contribute to the monitoring of the subsequent implementation of the initiative.
The initiative itself will propose actions to make the textile ecosystem fit for the circular economy, addressing weaknesses regarding sustainable production, sustainable lifestyles, presence of substances of concern, improving textile waste collection and recycling in the Member States as well as capacity building (also for skills). The initiative will do so by identifying textile-specific and horizontal actions along the whole value chain. Taking into account the preparation of the Sustainable Products Initiative, the initiative will underline possible approaches to improve design for sustainability (ensuring the uptake of secondary raw materials and tackling the presence of hazardous chemicals, among others), facilitating its future implementation. The initiative will also propose actions to promote more sustainable production processes. In addition, the initiatives will look into supporting more sustainable lifestyles, for instance by incentivising ‘product as a service’ and other sustainable business models. The initiative will promote voluntary approaches such as the EU Ecolabel and look into maximising the synergies within the New Consumer Agenda12 and the Bauhaus initiative. The role of the extended producer responsibility in promoting sustainable textiles and treatment of textile waste in accordance with the waste hierarchy will also be considered, and the implementation of the legal obligation to introduce separate collection of waste textiles by 2025 will be supported. Finally, the initiative will explore how to reinforce the protection of human rights, environmental duty of care and due diligence across value chains, including improving traceability and transparency. It will steer international cooperation and partnerships, including aid for trade, towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns, including in terms of land and water use and the employment of chemicals.
In order to achieve all these objectives, the European Strategy for Sustainable Textiles has set the following key actions for sustainable and circular textiles, most of them aimed to be set in place before 2024.
- Mandatory performance requirements for the environmental sustainability of textile products
- Digital Product Passport for textiles with information requirements on environmental sustainability
- Mandatory requirements concerning green public procurement and Member State incentives
- Disclosure of the number of discarded products by large enterprises and their subsequent treatment, and measures on banning the destruction of unsold textiles
- Empowering consumers in the green transition and ensuring the reliability of green claims
- Review of the Textile Labelling Regulation and considering the introduction of a digital label
- Revision of the EU Ecolabel criteria for textiles and footwear
- Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules for apparel and footwear
- Initiative to address the unintentional release of microplastics from textile products
- Review of the Best Available Techniques Reference Document for the Textiles Industry
- Enforcing the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive in the textile sector
- Extended Producer Responsibility requirements for textiles with eco-modulation of fees and measures to promote the waste hierarchy for textile waste
- Launch of work on the setting of preparing for re-use and recycling targets for textiles
- Enforcing the restrictions on exports of textile waste outside the OECD and developing criteria for distinguishing waste from second-hand textile products
- Launch of the Transition Pathway for the Textiles Ecosystem
- Guidance on supporting uptake and partnerships for the circular economy between social enterprises and other actors, including in the textile sector
- Guidance on circular economy business models featuring the textile sector
- Launch of #ReFashionNow
- New European Bauhaus to support sustainable textiles
- Horizon Europe calls to support R&D in textiles
- Adoption of common industrial technology roadmap on circularity
- Criteria for circular manufacturing of apparel under the Taxonomy Regulation
- Work on skills for the textiles ecosystem within the European Skills Agenda and the renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships
- Strengthening of market surveillance through cooperation between enforcement authorities and launch of EU Toolbox against counterfeiting