International coalition calls for credibility of sustainability labeling for clothing | Queensland Country Life
Mandatory sustainability labeling for clothing and footwear is a priority as part of the European Union (EU) transition to a climate neutral and circular economy.
But sustainability measurement issues could threaten Australia’s wool and cotton industries by not telling the full story.
And thanks to the EU’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) project, labeling is set to soon become the market’s most influential reporting system for environmental benchmarks.
Last week, the virtual launch of the International Wool Textile Organization’s (IWTO) Truth Behind Labeling campaign, “Make the Label Count” brought together an international coalition of organizations in a call for the credibility of the ‘sustainability labeling for clothing.
Supporting the work of the European Commission, the campaign calls for labeling that gives an overview of the life cycle of a garment by highlighting the benefits of using renewable and biodegradable fibers, as well as the negative impacts of microplastic pollution and the total environmental footprint of fossil fuels. fibers.
IWTO General Secretary and Make the Label Count campaign co-spokesperson Dalena White said labels must be built on scientific measurement tools and provide a level playing field for all. fibers.
“A credible sustainability label has the potential to make industry greener and enable European consumers to make informed choices,” said Ms White.
“If proposed clothing label laws were to exclude things like renewal, microplastic pollution and biodegradability, consumers will wonder if they are being told the truth about a garment’s durability or the impact real of their purchasing decisions on our planet and people. ”
Keynote speaker Livia Firth, co-founder and creative director of Eco-Age, said the proposed labeling system unfortunately did not take into account key environmental impacts.
“The fashion and textile industry could and should be an ecosystem of producers, designers and manufacturers working within the limits of nature,” Ms. Firth said.
“We have long argued that people who buy fashion should have more information and be more closely connected with the clothes they buy.
“Well-done labeling could be much more, thanks to regenerative agriculture and thanks to better science on natural fiber production, we should be able to reflect this ambition through labels.
“We can make the label count, but only if we base the underlying methodology on science, on real and factual evidence.”
But unfortunately, she said, the industry risks doing the exact opposite.
“Building this label on a foundation of misinformation and skewed science at this point would be unforgivable,” she said.
“This could potentially free billions of additional items made from non-biodegradable chemicals and plastics into a global waste system that is already unable to cope.”
The decision, she said, would have a huge impact on millions of lives in the agriculture industry.
New EU labeling laws threaten Australian wool industry
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National Council Wool Selling Brokers Australia (NCWSBA) Executive Director Paul Deane said the PEF system, as currently designed, is only a partial measure of the product’s environmental footprint, given that the method ignores a major environmental pollutant of micro-synthetic fibers. .
“This is an externality that currently exists but is ignored and implies that consumers do not place any value on the pollutant,” Deane said.
“The PEF method and technical measures must focus more broadly on circularity and the total environmental cost must be communicated to the consumer to allow market signals to be relayed to all participants in the textile supply chain. . ”
He said a consultation period had just ended on the EU’s PEF rules, which included a submission from the NCWSBA.
“The importance of the current consultation period is paramount, because once finalized, the PEF rules for clothing and footwear should guide EU clothing labeling for a period of four to five years,” said Mr. Deane.
“In addition, other countries or regions can also use the rules developed by the EU, which, if applied, will only make mistakes worse.”
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The Campaign story calling for the truth behind the labels first appeared on Farm Online.