The Textile and Fashion Observatory evaluates the impacts of national and European legislation on textile ecodesign

The Textile and Fashion Observatory evaluates the impacts of national and European legislation on textile ecodesign

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The Textile and Fashion Observatory has evaluated the impacts of national and European legislation on textile ecodesign in a first workshop of its TT@OTYM 2024 Ideas Laboratory in collaboration with PwC.

With the presence of a thirty textile and fashion companies -especially clothing, household items and similar applications, as well as selective collectors and classifiers, reusers and recyclers (including social entities), reference technology centers for textiles and other related companies in the inspection sectors, verification and certification, digital transformation, industrial chemistry and machinery – challenges, threats and opportunities of the new legislation on eco-design for the circular value chains of Spanish textile and fashion were evaluated.

The workshop was preceded by the intervention of the general secretary of Innovation, Teresa Riskas well as the president of the Observatory and Textil Santanderina, Juan Parésand was later closed by the PERTE commissioner for Circular Economy, Golden Alexanderand by the vice president of the entity and Corporate General Director of the Tendam Group, Ignacio Sierra.

In this first workshop on ecodesign The Industry Counselor of the Spanish Permanent Representation in Brussels and the Director of Sustainability of the European Textile Association, EURATEX, among others, participated as initial speakers, as well as, in their round table, executives from sports equipment companies (Decathlon), from work and protective clothing (Grupo Iturri) and Spanish fashion (Adolfo Dominguez), as well as sectoral technology centers (AITEX), which presented their advances in these matters, frequent problems and their future vision.

During the workshop, the current European legislative development on eco-design for sustainable products, applicable to products marketed in the European internal market, explaining the European business vision on its current regulations and its future delegated acts specific to textile products, analyzing their impacts on costs, competitiveness and global chains of textile and fashion value.

Specific aspects were discussed about some of its key factors such as its physical and information requirements, digital passport for textiles, prohibition of destruction of unsold garments, new ecological public procurement requirements and increase in market surveillance actions in Member States, among others, as well as, in its case, of the activities of the future European Ecodesign Forum that will allow the exchange of opinions between experts, interest groups and national administrations.

As a forecast, the Sustainable Products Regulation (framework) It will be published in May or June of this year, while the first delegated act on textile garments is planned for the end of 2025, where the requirements directly applicable to these products will be found, and with a subsequent period of adaptation to the new regulation. of eighteen months (by mid-2027, therefore).

As a forecast, the Sustainable Products Regulation (framework) will be published in May or June of this year, while the first delegated act on textile clothing is planned for the end of 2025

The conclusions of this workshop can be summarized in the following considerations:

In first place, that the Ecodesign Regulation for Sustainable Products is going to have a relevant impact on the textile and fashion sector. The sector must actively participate in the process of preparing the Commission’s delegated act that regulates the obligations of this Regulation for textile garments. Its complexity will, therefore, require demanding public-private collaboration at the different national and European administrative levels.

Although it is difficult, as of today, to adequately measure the impacts of these future obligations on the textile and fashion value chains, it is evident that, in the short and medium term, it will force companies to invest in capital, training and supply chains, as well as absorb direct and indirect operating costs, with clear potential impact on margins, profitability and financial needs.

In second placealthough some companies in the sector have been betting on eco-design in matters such as its durability, focus on recyclability, incorporation of recycled fibers or reduction of the impacts derived from its use (repair, washing or others), they continue to encounter difficulties in the absence of a regulatory framework, precise standards or ecomodulation associated with a harmonized European framework of extended producer responsibility.

In third place, It is necessary to be realistic regarding the rules on the percentages of recycled fibers derived from European post-consumer in new textile garments since, to generate high volumes of fiber-by-fiber recycling, greater investments in research, technological development and new productive capacities in its collection, classification and subsequent recycling.

In fourth placethat in those key elements of its implementation, such as the digital product passport, the prohibition of destruction of unsold consumer products or the transition periods themselves so that agents, producers and national authorities can adapt to the new obligations, are specified precise criteria, establish specific exemptions, implement effective measures and determine appropriate deadlines.

Once again, demanding public-private collaboration in these matters is essential. And, on the other hand, the eighteen months proposed by the Commission for the period of adaptation of supply chains do not seem sufficient for a sector, the fashion sector, which usually anticipates collections for a long time.

In fifth place, that this implementation must be balanced, as well as progressive, so that an adequate balance is maintained between its environmental objectives and the competitiveness of the sector. The reinforcement of the market surveillance strategies of the Member States, the awareness-raising (empowerment) actions of the European consumer and the enabling programs focused on technological research and development, academic and professional training and business innovation are essential.

It will be important that these policies favor the repositioning of products, collaborative agreements between agents and the increase in the average business size in the medium and long term. It is necessary a specific support for SMEs during that transition.

The TT@OTYM Ideas Laboratory of the Textile and Fashion Sector Observatory aims to become a forum for reflection and a space for collaboration between companies, sector organizations and public-private institutions to successfully face this new transformation towards greater circularity, sustainability and decarbonization of European Textile and Fashion.

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