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SAN FRANCISCO – The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has expressed disappointment that the final version of the EU’s Green Claims Directive has rejected use of the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology. The SAC had lobbied heavily on this issue over the years. It was technical secretariat lead for the global apparel and footwear PEF Category Rules where it aimed to push alignment between PEF and the Higg Index.

However, the EU appears to have turned its back on the PEF methodology (for clothing at any rate), with the European Commission saying it would present legislation in future “to complement the requirements on substantiation for certain types of claims.”

This move raises further question marks over the Higg MSI, which is already the subject of an independent enquiry after repeated accusations of greenwashing.

Responding to the EU’s Green Claims Directive, Andrew Martin, executive vice president, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition: “The long awaited Substantiating Green Claims Directive as proposed on March 22 by the European Commission falls short of its stated ambition to address greenwashing. At a time when ‘only swift and drastic action can avert irrevocable damage to the world’, as set out by the IPCC this week, this is a missed opportunity from the European Commission to be a global frontrunner on sustainability and fulfilling ambitions set out in its Green Deal.

“The Directive does not mandate a standardized and clearly defined framework based on scientific foundations and fails to provide the legal certainty for companies and clarity to consumers. This lack of focus has the potential to open the door to a range of varied and incomparable methodologies, risking undermining, rather than advancing, progress in the sector.

“After a decade in development, the EU commissioned and funded Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is the most holistic, scientifically-grounded method to date for assessing the environmental impact of a product. We therefore urge EU policy makers to reconsider its inclusion within the Directive. As science evolves, so too will the PEF – constantly evolving, growing and strengthening to provide a more comprehensive picture of sustainability.”

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