A review of the European regulations that will shape the fashion industry in 2022

Europe moves towards sustainability, discover what are the regulations that will lead the way this 2022 for fashion companies operating in the European Union.

A review of the European regulations that will shape the fashion industry in 2022

Since the European Commission presented the Green Deal in December 2019, Europe’s desire to position itself as the first climate-neutral continent has led member countries to develop action plans and propose legal measures committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Although this objective sounds promising, the application of the initiatives set from Europe is developing at a different pace for each country. If your company is located in Europe or operates within the European Union, pay attention to the main regulations that will shape the business transition towards sustainability during 2022.

The Circular Economy Action Plan introduced by the European Commission is one of the main pillars of the Green Deal. It seeks to motivate the textile industry to implement initiatives throughout the entire life cycle of products, from design, through the promotion of responsible consumption to the reduction of generated waste. A set of legislative and non-legislative measures that have required the different member countries to update themselves to meet the key objectives of the Green Deal in relation to the fashion industry:

  • Provide factory workers with a living wage.
  • Prioritize transparency and traceability throughout supply chains.
  • Promote the development of processing technologies for the recycling of raw materials.
  • Comply with the regulation, evaluation and authorization of chemicals.
  • Meet the EU Ecolabel criteria for textiles.

But what are the main legislative developments that EU textile companies will have to take into account in the coming months?

Spain

As we anticipated at the end of 2021, the entry into force of the new Law on Waste and Contaminated Soil is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022. A legislative change whose main objective is the minimization of waste.

This new legislation seeks the efficient use of natural resources to contribute to the fight against climate change and protect the marine environment. These are the three decisive measures that will promote textile circularity from its entry into force:

  • Destruction of unsold items will be prohibited.
  • Separate collection of post-consumer textile waste will be mandatory before 2025.
  • At least 55% of the waste must be reused or recycled.

France

These are the measures linked to the circular economy and the fight against waste that apply in France since last January 1:

  • Use of the Triman pictogram. In order for the consumer to clearly identify in which container to deposit a product, the law has chosen a pictogram indicating that the product is subject to a classification rule and the type of collection points to be used .
  • Ban on destruction of unsold items. This measure seeks to put an end to landfills and the incineration of new unsold products.
  • Improve information for consumers. Providing visible information on the environmental characteristics of a garment, such as the presence of recycled materials, its life cycle or recyclability, or through the environmental and/or social qualification of the product through its impact. This second option will be mandatory from the entry into force of the European PEF project, planned for 2023.

Germany

Although during 2022 the entry into force of any legislative measure that directly affects the fashion industry in terms of sustainability is not expected, Germany has a history of more than two years with its Green Button certificate. A textile label administered by the German government that allows to identify socially and environmentally sustainable garments. In order for a company to obtain it, it must meet a total of 46 criteria that cover a wide spectrum, from sewage to forced labour. For now, the Green Button only audits the cutting and sewing stages, as well as the bleaching and dyeing phase. Over the next few years, expansion to the entire supply chain is planned.

Legislative measures will be added to this voluntary certificate from 2023 to guarantee fairness in global supply chains. The Act on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains seeks to hold companies in Germany accountable for helping to protect human rights in their supply chains. These are the requirements that a company will be bound by for its own business operations and the business operations of a direct supplier:

  • Draft and adopt a policy statement on respect for human rights.
  • Carry out a risk analysis: implementing procedures to identify
  • adverse impacts on human rights.
  • Participate in risk management to avoid possible negative impacts on human rights.
  • Establish a complaints system.
  • Implement transparent public reports.

The law will apply to companies with more than 3.000 employees from 2023 and with more than 1.000 employees from 2024.

Netherlands

In 2022, the Child Labor Due Diligence Law is scheduled to come into force. A regulation that forces companies operating in the Dutch market to submit a declaration to a public authority that they have investigated the risks of child labor in their activities and supply chains.

In order to complement this legislation, the Dutch government has announced plans to introduce a new law in 2023 with a greater range of application since it will incorporate the environmental scope and extend protection to all human beings involved in the supply chain.

Denmark

Extended producer responsibility has just been implemented in Denmark from January 1st. This initiative plans to cover clothing, shoes, bags and private household textiles, as well as work clothes, uniforms and textiles from companies. These are the particularities required by the new regulation:

  • At least 55% of textiles must be reused, repaired, or disposed of for remanufacturing. At least 20% of textiles must be recycled.
  • Reuse and repair will be carried out in collaboration with entities such as charities, socio-economic companies or local authorities.
  • The development of a national strategy to strengthen reuse and repair.

In support of the Danish Marketing Practices Act, the Consumer Ombudsman has just published a guide with rules to help companies avoid misleading claims about the environmental properties of their products:

  • As with other commercial claims, those that focus on the environment must be correct and clearly worded, without omitting any important information.
  • The brand must be able to prove what it claims and its claims must be supported by independent experts.
  • Full Life Cycle Assessment methodology should be applied in support of general statements about being environmentally friendly.

Norway

In the Nordic country, the legislative developments during 2022 come in terms of social protection for workers in the textile industry.

The Norwegian Transparency Act will come into force on July 1st and will impose adjustments on all companies affected by it. The main objective of the law is to ensure that the largest companies comply with fundamental human rights and decent working conditions in their supply chain. This law will require companies to publish reviews on a recurring basis that are easily accessible to the general public.

This new law will apply to companies registered in Norway and foreign companies selling in Norway, which meet at least two of these three criteria:

  • At least 50 full-time employees
  • An annual turnover of at least NOK 70 million
  • A balance sum of at least NOK 35 million

Sweden

Extended producer responsibility for clothing and textiles is still a suggestion for Sweden. The new law, whose entry into force was planned as of January 1, will still have to wait.

According to a draft bill, the new law would be implemented gradually over several years. The first phase would start with the collection of textiles. By 2028, the Swedish authorities expect that at least 90% of the collected textile waste will be reused or allow material recovery.

The suggested legislation would apply to clothing, home textiles, bags and accessories. In addition, the obligation to separate textile waste from other waste would affect all Swedish households and all companies that produce textile waste.

Finally, the proposal to implement a tax on chemical products in clothing and footwear that was proposed for this year has been rejected.

Finland 

A new law on the labeling of clothing and footwear will come into force in early 2022 in order to improve consumer protection. In addition to the mandatory labeling that the EU already requires to clearly indicate what material an article is made of, the new law includes a proposal for a fine for deficient or incorrect labeling of footwear and textile products.

In addition to this measure, it is expected that according to the modification of the Finnish Waste Law, textile waste will begin to be collected separately from 2023, two years before the deadline set by the EU to apply the new regulation on recycling of textiles.

United Kingdom

Although as of January 1, 2021, the EU legislation ceased to apply to the United Kingdom, it’s worth highlighting the main measure that the country has just implemented to move towards a more sustainable model during this 2022: the application of the Green Claims Code.

This code seeks to protect consumers from misleading environmental commercial messages, in this way, the English government has updated the Consumer Protection Act requiring companies to make environmental claims that help consumers make informed decisions:

  • Claims must be true and accurate
  • Claims should be clear and unequivocal
  • Claims should not omit or hide important relevant information
  • Comparisons should be fair and meaningful
  • Claims should consider the full life cycle of the product or service
  • Claims must be based on facts

These are some of the directives that will shape the fashion industry in Europe in the coming months. A set of regulations that seek the sustainable transformation of a sector whose participation and responsibility are essential to achieve the environmental and social objectives set by the European Commission.

Legislation will be the definitive driver for the fashion industry to move towards sustainability and at BCOME we can help you meet the requirements established by law so that your company complies with the new regulations. Our mission is to simplify the complexity behind sustainability, shall we talk?

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