Joint Position on the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles

Today (5th August) the public consultation for the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles closes. This initiative aims to help the EU shift to a climate-neutral, circular economy and aims to ensure that the textile industry recovers from the pandemic in a sustainable and competitive way.

The consultation invited stakeholders, particularly actors along the textile value chain, to provide input. Lobbying for improved labour conditions is a vital part of our work at Fair Wear. Therefore, we took this opportunity to team up with like-minded organisations – Ethical Trading Initiative, Solidaridad and Fairtrade International – to call on the EU Commission to make sure human rights, environmental and commercial practices are equally included in the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles and to follow a holistic approach that embraces a smart mix of measures.

While we welcome the EU Commission’s efforts to make our industry truly sustainable and applaud the efforts for coherent policy making for our industry, we stress that the current debate on new and circular business models should include the impact these models will have on workers.

Working directly with brands and (their) suppliers for over two decades has taught us that a sustainable garment and textile industry requires measures that address environmental, human rights and commercial practices within the industry in a comprehensive manner.

In this joint position paper we make the case for an overarching strategy, that stimulates new, sustainable business models for the European textile industry, and includes the following:

  • The EU mHREDD initiative should be instrumental to the EU Textile Strategy.
  • New business models should be responsible business models
  • Promotion of sector dialogue on key social practices
  • Improved social criteria in responsible public procurement of textile products