Sustainability

2022-03-10

Countering greenwash in the textile sector

Thirty members of the European Parliament have delivered a letter to the European Commission on combatting greenwashing in upcoming green claims legislation. Initiated by MEP Carlo Calenda (IT, Renew), the letter drew attention to the PEF process for textiles and footwear, and urged Executive Vice-Presidents Timmermans and Jourova and Commissioner Breton to ensure that natural fibres are treated fairly.

“Whilst the apparel and footwear category may be one of the first to compare products made from renewable and non-renewable materials, it will not be the last,” the letter says.

“Attributes such as renawability and biodegradability need to be more properly and coherently assessed in PEF.”

The letter was shared in a Tweet by MEP Hilde Vautmans (BE, Renew) and later by MEP Calenda. Read the letter here:

https://twitter.com/hildevautmans/status/1488208667224772617

You’ve Got (More) Mail

Another letter to the Commission, initiated by MEP Anna Cavazzini (DE, Greens) and addressing the upcoming strategy on Sustainable Textiles, was also shared at the end of January. This one was signed by 35 members of the Greens/European Free Alliance (EFA) Group.

These letters follow a joint letter to the Commission signed by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden in October of last year. Again, the authors highlighted concerns with the upcoming strategy on Sustainable Textiles.

EU Geen Claims Expected to Require PEF Methodology

The European Commission is preparing to table proposals on environmental claims, reports European news media Euractiv in its continuing series on the EU’s Sustainable products initiative (SPI). The intent behind the proposals is to make the information reliable, comparable and verifiable across the EU.

It is anticipated that companies will have to substantiate their environmental claims using the EU’s PEF methodology, but whether this will be mandatory or voluntary remains to be seen. It is also unknown to what degree businesses will need to certify PEF compliance.

Given the methodology’s limitations, campaigners such as Make The Label Count say it is too soon to communicate PEF data on consumer-facing labels.

We must “ensure the claims that companies will use on their labels are credible, that consumers are not misled and to help the industry to make the green transition the EU wants to see,” says Make The Label Count.

The PEF methodology, campaigners say, is incomplete. It currently downplays or excludes critical environmental impacts such as microplastics and does not reflect the EU’s own sustainability and circularity goals.






“This is particularly true for product groups for which missing impact categories may play a significant role in the product’s overall footprint. In these cases, PEF data may need to be supported with additional information,” Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, senior policy officer at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), told Euractiv.

© 2022 IWTO
© 2022 IWTO


“On the other hand, if we have PEF on a voluntary basis, then there’s even more space for confusion, because then we end up with many different types of labels based on LCA data that can be interpreted in different ways. And then, how do citizens assess if this is a sustainable choice?” Schweitzer said.

Tabling of the green claims legislation, anticipated for end of March, has now been pushed back to 20 July.

Learn More About the Links Between Wool and Sustainability

For more information on wool and how its many environmental benefits, take a look at our fact sheets, statistics and guidelines. You can find all the resources you need here:

https://iwto.org/resources/




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