In the ever-evolving world of sustainability, the fashion and textile industry finds itself at the center of a sweeping transformation. A wave of progressive EU regulations and directives is set to reshape the way fashion organisations operate, placing a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability and ethical practices. In this article, we break down these 16 pivotal EU laws and regulations that are forcing brands and organisations to move towards a more responsible fashion industry.
Upcoming EU Changes and Regulations.
#1 EU Green Deal: Climate Neutral & Circular Economy
The showstopper of them all - the EU Green Deal, with its ambitious goals of achieving climate neutrality and encouraging a circular economy, casts the longest shadow over the industry. Fashion organizations must align their strategies with these goals, integrating sustainable practices into every aspect of their operations.
#2 Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) 2023
The EPR directive marks a paradigm shift in accountability. Producers are obligated to take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products, from design and production to disposal, promoting sustainable design and waste management practices. It's time to take responsibility for your creations, from cradle to grave!
#3 Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) 2023:
Transparency is it! Transparency reigns supreme with the CSRD. Fashion organizations will be required to disclose detailed sustainability information in their annual reports, enabling stakeholders to scrutinize their environmental and social performance. For BV’s/Ltd’s, reporting is expected in fiscal year 2025, and for listed SMEs in fiscal year 2026.
#4 Transport of Waste 2023:
How you transport waste matters, so get those logistics in order. Stricter regulations regarding the transportation of waste are on the way. This underscores the importance of efficient waste management and sustainable logistics within the industry.
#5 Industrial Emissions Directive 2023:
Clean air is no longer an option; it is a legal obligation. Fashion manufacturers must comply with emissions limits to ensure their operations do not harm the environment or public health. Time to clean up your act, factories!
#6 Microplastics 2023:
Tiny but mighty, microplastics are under scrutiny with impending restrictions on their usage. The industry must seek alternative materials and production methods to minimize microplastic pollution.
#7 PFAS, Bisphenols, Skin Sensitizing Chemicals 2023-24:
The presence of hazardous chemicals in textiles is a concern addressed by upcoming regulations. Stakeholders must phase out substances such as PFAS, Bisphenols, and skin-sensitizing chemicals to safeguard both consumers and the environment.
#8 REACH Update 2023
The REACH regulation has undergone significant revision, necessitating compliance with stricter chemical safety standards. The 29th update was issued in June 2023, and includes two new ‘Very High Concern’ substances. 1. Bis(4-chlorophenyl) sulphone (BCPS), used as an additive in fluoropolymers for rubber production in agriculture, and 2. Diphenyl(2,4,6-trimethylbenzoyl)phosphine oxide, Used in photo-chemicals, inks and toners, coating products, adhesives and sealants, polymers and fillers, putties, plasters, and modelling clay and can be found on materials. Fashion organizations must proactively adapt to these changes to ensure consumer safety and sustainability.
#9 Anti-Greenwashing Law and Textile Labeling 2024:
In an era where 'greenwashing' is scrutinized, the industry must adhere to labeling requirements that accurately reflect a product's environmental impact. Authenticity and transparency will be paramount. In June 2023, the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) updated their 'Sustainability Claims' guidelines.
Source: Dutch News, 2023
#10 Product Environmental Footprint 2024:
Your product's footprint should be reduced and stylish. The concept of environmental footprints extends beyond carbon emissions. Fashion organizations will need to quantify and reduce their product's overall environmental impact, including water usage, land use, and resource depletion.
#11 EU Taxonomy 2024:
The financial sector is realigning its investments with sustainability objectives. Fashion organizations seeking capital must adhere to sustainable finance criteria, motivating a shift towards more responsible practices. It plays a vital role in supporting the EU in scaling up sustainable investment by providing investors with security, protecting private investors from greenwashing, assisting businesses in becoming more responsible, and reducing market fragmentation.
#12 Ecodesign & Digital Product Passport 2026/2027
Fashion isn't just about aesthetics; it's about functionality. Ecodesign principles, aimed at integrating environmental considerations into product development, will become the norm. Additionally, the introduction of digital product passports will provide consumers with comprehensive information about a product's sustainability credentials. Design with the planet in mind!
#13 Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDD) 2026-2028
Fashion organisations will be legally obligated to ensure that their suppliers adhere to environmental and social standards, fostering ethical practices across the industry.The spotlight is on your supply chain. Ensure it's a tale of ethics and fairness. A regular risk analysis of your supply chain is essential for this, and RethinkRebels can assist with this; click here to contact us.
These laws and regulations are not just a passing trend. They're here to stay, and fashion and textile organizations better be ready to embrace them. Sustainability has moved beyond the limits of fashion statements and is now an essential component of operational efforts.
In conclusion, the fashion and textile industry must prepare to navigate a complex web of regulatory changes and embrace sustainability as the cornerstone of their operations. These EU laws and directives are not burdens but opportunities for innovation and responsible growth. As the industry adapts to this transformative wave, it has the potential to set new standards for environmental stewardship and ethical practices, thereby fashioning a brighter and more sustainable future.
Do you need help in determining a gap analysis between where you are now and where you need to be? We're here to assist; click here to contact us or learn more about our services.