BRUSSELS – EURATEX, Europe’s largest textile trade body, has raised concerns that the EU’s sustainable textile strategy does not strike the right balance between sustainability and competitiveness. The European Parliament this week adopted its Report on an EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. The Report outlines the EU’s ambition on sustainability and circularity issues. However, EURATEX claims the strategy has, “failed to recognise the strategic role of the European textile industry to scale up sustainability, nor to appreciate the global competitive threat which our companies are facing.”
Director general Dirk Vantyghem commented on the MEP Report, saying: “We welcome the strong interest of the European Parliament in the textile and fashion industry, but encourage MEPs to develop a balanced vision which reconciles sustainability and competitiveness. Developing a new business model for our industry requires carefully crafted legislation at global level, and an open dialogue between the industry, the brands and the consumer.”
EURATEX claims it supports the EU Textile Strategy, as it was presented over a year ago by the European Commission. However, in a statement it suggests there is a need to make sure companies can “actually manage to comply with these rules and remain globally competitive.”
The statement continues: “The EP Report has failed to respect that balance between sustainability and competitiveness. Instead, it suggests even more rules and restrictions, totally disregarding the current economic challenges caused by high energy prices, loss in consumer confidence and assertive trade partners. Putting the bar even higher will simply mean that the European textile industry will be pushed out of the market, resulting in a bigger environmental footprint and increased dependency on foreign supplies. Quite the opposite of what the EU wants to achieve with its open strategic autonomy plans.”
EURATEX also suggests the EU Textile Strategy fails to acknowledge the high quality of products made by European textile and fashion companies.
It adds: “The Report puts a strong responsibility on the supply side – the industry and the brands – and does not sufficiently address the role of the consumer. We need initiatives therefore to create a stronger demand for sustainable textiles, which includes better communication and transparency (avoid greenwashing), fiscal measures, green public procurement and better control of online marketplaces.”