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Document 52023IP0215

European Parliament resolution of 1 June 2023 on an EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles (2022/2171(INI))

OJ C, C/2023/1222, 21.12.2023, ELI: (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, GA, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)


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Official Journal
of the European Union


Series C




EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles

European Parliament resolution of 1 June 2023 on an EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles (2022/2171(INI))


The European Parliament,

having regard to the Commission communication of 30 March 2022 entitled ‘EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles’ (COM(2022)0141),

having regard to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2020 entitled ‘A new Circular Economy Action Plan — For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ (COM(2020)0098) and to Parliament’s resolution of 10 February 2021 thereon (1),

having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 — Bringing nature back into lives’ (COM(2020)0380) and to Parliament’s resolution of 9 June 2021 thereon (2),

having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ (COM(2020)0381) and Parliament’s resolution of 20 October 2021 thereon (3),

having regard to the Commission communication of 16 January 2018 ‘A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy’ (COM(2018)0028) and Parliament’s resolution of 13 September 2018 thereon (4),

having regard to the Commission communication of 14 October 2020 entitled ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability — Towards a Toxic-Free Environment’ (COM(2020)0667) and to Parliament’s resolution of 10 July 2020 thereon (5),

having regard to the Commission communication of 5 March 2020 entitled ‘A Union of Equality: Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 (COM(2020)0152),

having regard to Decision (EU) 2022/591 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 April 2022 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2030 (6) (“8th Environment Action Programme”),

having regard to Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives (7) (“Waste Framework Directive”),

having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2011 on textile fibre names and related labelling and marking of the fibre composition of textile products and repealing Council Directive 73/44/EEC and Directives 96/73/EC and 2008/121/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (8),

having regard to the Commission proposal of 30 March 2022 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for sustainable products and repealing Directive 2009/125/EC (COM(2022)0142),

having regard to the Commission proposal of 23 February 2022 for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and amending Directive (EU) 2019/1937 (COM(2022)0071),

having regard to its position at first reading of 17 January 2023 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on shipments of waste and amending Regulations (EU) No 1257/2013 and (EU) 2020/1056 (9),

having regard to the European Environment Agency (EEA) briefings of November 2019 on “Textiles in Europe’s circular economy”, January 2021 on “A framework for enabling circular business models in Europe”, of January 2021 on “Plastic in textiles: towards a circular economy for synthetic textiles in Europe”, of February 2022 on “Textiles and the environment: the role of design in Europe’s circular economy” and of February 2022 on “Microplastics from textiles: towards a circular economy for textiles in Europe”,

having regard to the Joint Research Centre technical report of June 2021 entitled “Circular economy perspectives in the EU Textile sector”,

having regard to the report of the Inclusive Labour Markets, Labour Relations and Working Conditions Branch of the International Labour Organization of 2017 entitled “Purchasing practices and low wages in global supply chains: Empirical cases from the garment industry”,

having regard to the report of 2017 of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation entitled “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future”,

having regard to the Textile Exchange report entitled “Preferred Fiber & Materials Market Report 2022”,

having regard to the report of the Hot or Cool Institute “Unfit, Unfair, Unfashionable: Resizing Fashion for a Fair Consumption Space”,

having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Development, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality,

having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A9-0176/2023),


whereas global textile production almost doubled between 2000 and 2015 (10) and garments’ use time lifespan decreased by 36 % in the same period (11); whereas global consumption of clothing and footwear is expected to increase by 63 %, from the current 62 million tonnes to 102 million tonnes, by 2030; whereas clothing comprises the largest share of EU textile consumption, with 81 % (12); whereas the trend of using garments for ever shorter periods before throwing them away is the biggest contributor to unsustainable patterns of overproduction and overconsumption (13); whereas between 1996 and 2018, average household expenditure on clothing increased, despite the drop in clothing prices in the EU relative to inflation by more than 30 %; whereas current trends in textile consumption cannot be maintained if we aim to achieve a fair and just transition to climate neutrality; whereas recent research indicates the existence of varying degrees of responsibility according to different income groups in the carbon footprints from fashion consumption (14); whereas synthetic and man-made fibres already account for more than two thirds (64 %) (15) of total global fibre production;


whereas studies indicate that consumers agree that it is important for brands to share reliable information about the environmental impact of their products, and that many consumers are ready to change their purchasing patterns for sustainable options, provided that clear and reliable labels are at their disposal (16), which can help drive demand towards high-quality clothes that are less damaging to the environment and workers; whereas the provision of information should not lead to greenwashing practices; whereas industry initiatives such as the use of more sustainable fibres and textiles or ethically-conscious options may account for only a small percentage of a brand’s offerings, with the remaining part of operations continuing in a business-as-usual manner;


whereas 92 million tonnes (17) of textile waste is generated worldwide each year, the vast majority of which ends up in landfills; whereas 5,8 million tonnes (18) of textile products are discarded each year in the EU, which amounts to approximately 11 kg (19) per person, with garments typically having been worn only 7 or 8 times (20); whereas textile waste represents one of the largest components of municipal waste and is therefore subject to the recycling targets laid down in the Directive 2008/98/EC, but no specific textile recycling targets have been set; whereas less than 1 % (21) of all textiles worldwide are recycled into new products;


whereas several social issues exist in the textile and footwear sector; whereas the textile and footwear value chain has become increasingly buyer driven, which has put pressure on manufacturers to minimise production costs and turnaround time; whereas the conditions of market power asymmetries between suppliers and global buyers, as well as harmful purchasing practices, exacerbate the risk of labour rights abuses; whereas women, migrant and informal workers are especially vulnerable to negative social impacts; whereas improving social sustainability requires a holistic approach covering the value chain;


whereas 73 % (22) of clothes and household textiles consumed in Europe are imported, amounting to approximately 26 kg (23) of textiles per person per year, with 7,4 kg (24) of textiles per person per year produced domestically; whereas the majority of environmental and climate change impacts occur in upstream production processes, often taking place in non-EU countries where the protection of the environment and the fulfilment of labour and human rights need to be duly assessed and ensured; welcomes initiatives that lead to continuous improvements in labour rights and factory safety; whereas fossil fuel-based polyester accounts for about 50 % (25) of fibre production and the fashion industry’s use of synthetic fibres accounts for 1,35 % (26) of global oil consumption, much of it imported from Russia;


whereas existing systems for separate collection of textiles in the EU are voluntary and focus on collecting clothing that is deemed re-wearable; whereas the Joint Research Centre estimates that between 50 % and 75 % (27) of these separately collected textiles are reported as reused; whereas a large share of collected clothing is exported to non-EU countries with no collection infrastructure in place; whereas no viable business case currently exists to separately collect and process all textile waste in the EU, highlighting the need for a collective system and infrastructure to capture the value of used textiles (28);


whereas the European textile sector is economically important in the Union and has an important role in the achievement of the EU’s circular economy objectives, with an annual turnover of EUR 147 billion (29) and EUR 58 billion (30) in exports and EUR 106 billion (31) in imports as of 2022 and therefore has considerable leverage to address the negative social and environmental impacts of the textile and footwear industry; whereas more than 99 % (32) of the EU textiles ecosystem consists of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); whereas the textile sector employs 1,3 million (33) European citizens; whereas this industry is made up of approximately 143 000 (34) European companies, of which 11 % (35) are SMEs, and 88,8 % (36) are micro enterprises with less than 10 employees, which often face intense competition from non-EU countries; whereas coherent legislation is crucial to avoid creating a fragmented market that could have a negative impact on the sector, particularly on micro enterprises and SMEs;


whereas highly complex and fragmented supply chains in the garment sector at global level further complicate the work of market surveillance authorities, consumer associations and resellers; whereas the textile production sector was already under a lot of pressure from environmental and social dumping as a result of low production costs and environmental standards in non-EU countries and whereas this was exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a number of cases of abusive practices involving international brands and their suppliers and workers having come to light;


whereas industry stakeholders are encouraged to apply the New European Bauhaus’s guiding principles of sustainability, inclusiveness and aesthetics for the transition of the textiles ecosystem, as connecting creativity, the arts and science could help to create a positive impact;


whereas, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 6th Assessment (37), limiting warming to around 1,5 oC requires global greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 43 % below 2019 levels by 2030; whereas textile production and consumption have negative impacts on the environment in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, chemical pollution, biodiversity loss, natural resource use of water and land, and the volume of textile waste that is sent to landfill, accounting for the fourth-biggest environmental footprint;


whereas the transition to a well-being economy, and the development of indicators measuring economic, social and environmental progress ‘beyond GDP’ is embedded in the EU’s 8th Environmental Action Programme; whereas one of the 8th Environmental Action Programme’s priority objectives is advancing towards a well-being economy that gives back to the planet more than it takes and accelerating the transition to a non-toxic circular economy; whereas the 8th Environmental Action Programme recognises that human well-being and prosperity depend on healthy ecosystems and on significantly decreasing the Union’s material and consumption footprints to bring them within planetary boundaries as soon as possible;


whereas an estimated figure of between 16-35 % (38) of global microplastics released into the oceans are from synthetic textiles, which means that between 200 000 and 500 000 tonnes (39) of microplastics enter the global marine environment each year;


whereas hazardous chemicals used in the manufacturing of textiles are harmful to both the environment and people, with 20 % (40) of all clean water pollution being caused by dyes and chemicals used by the textile industry; whereas highly toxic chemicals, such as per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), continue to play a role in the production of textiles; whereas PFAS are present and sometimes necessary in textile products that constitute essential use, such as in safety apparel; whereas many products, including textile products, sold to European consumers do not comply with EU chemicals legislation such as REACH (41); whereas in its ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability: Towards a Toxic-Free Environment’, the Commission has committed to minimising the presence of substances of concern in textile products through the introduction of new requirements;


whereas the textile sector uses non-textile parts of animal origin, with animals often bred specifically for the purpose, including in countries with inadequate animal welfare legislation;


whereas gender equality is a core principle of the EU enshrined in the Treaty on European Union (TEU) (42), the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’); whereas Goal 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is ‘Gender Equality’, Goal 8 is ‘Decent work and Economic Growth’ and Goal 12 is ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’; whereas in its gender equality strategy 2020-2025, the Commission committed to integrating a gender perspective into all aspects and at all levels of policymaking, but this is inadequately covered in the Textiles Strategy;


whereas women account for approximately 80 % of the global garment workforce (43); whereas the majority of low-wage labour in the textile sector in both the Union (44) and third countries is made up of women, whose salary contributes significantly to household incomes and poverty reduction (45); whereas garment workers on average only receive 1-3 % of the final retail price of clothing (46); whereas low wages, coupled with low or non-existent social protection, make women and children particularly vulnerable to exploitation, human rights violations, workplace violence and sexual harassment, lack of access to healthcare, gender discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination, with little to no remediation and recourse opportunities; whereas 189 states have signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which states that discrimination against women ‘violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity’;


whereas women generally have access to a narrower range of jobs and tasks, and face horizontal and vertical segregation; whereas women also suffer direct and indirect gender-based discrimination as a result of the gender power imbalances between a mostly female workforce and predominantly male management structures, with a disproportionate number of men in leadership, managerial and mid-level positions;


whereas women and girls are globally more likely to be financially dependent on climate-vulnerable sectors and natural resources (47) and are frequently exposed to additional gender-specific factors and barriers that consistently render them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and disasters;


whereas human rights, the environment and climate change are strongly interlinked; whereas human rights cannot be enjoyed without a healthy environment and a sound climate;

Union Strategy


Welcomes the Commission communication on an EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles and the vision it presents for 2030; stresses that actions following the publication of the Strategy should be fully aligned with the Union’s climate and environmental objectives, in particular that of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest, of halting and reversing biodiversity loss, as well as achieving zero-pollution for a non-toxic environment;


Stresses further that the actions following the publication of the strategy should be fully in line with the Union’s international commitments, including the Paris Agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals;


Underlines that moving towards sustainable and circular textiles requires a holistic approach progressively covering the whole value chain of textile products; highlights the importance of ensuring synergies between the Textiles Strategy and the Union’s industrial strategies in order to ensure the transition to sustainable and circular business models and products with high standards for the protection of human health, human rights and the environment, while strengthening the competitiveness and resilience of sustainable textile ecosystems; notes that the Textiles Strategy contributes to the twin green and digital transitions;


Welcomes the fact that textiles have been identified as a priority product category for action under the Circular Economy Action Plan; calls on the Commission to set specific targets for textiles in order to achieve compliance with the Biodiversity Strategy;


Calls for the European Environmental Agency (EEA) to be given the role and resources to monitor and assess whether measures taken under the Textiles Strategy are sufficient for the described objectives, including the quantitative targets, progress indicators and overarching 2030 vision; considers that progress against those indicators should be monitored at a minimum every two years; requests the EEA to assess policy gaps and provide options for further policy improvements;


Acknowledges the urgency of ensuring that textile products placed on the EU market are long-lived, reusable, repairable, recyclable, made to a great extent of recycled fibres, and free of hazardous substances; underlines that textile products should be produced in a way that respects human and social rights, the environment and animal welfare;


Expresses its concern that the measures identified in the EU Strategy might not be sufficient to fulfil the 2030 objective and calls on the Commission to ensure all necessary measures, including additional legislative and non-legislative measures to those identified in the strategy, are taken to achieve the 2030 vision expressed in the Textiles Strategy; underlines that the adopted measures should prioritise waste prevention in line with the waste hierarchy;


Stresses the importance of ensuring coherence and clearly defining the scope of application of all pieces of legislation that will be adopted under the strategy, in order to ensure legal certainty and predictability in the single market;


Calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt measures to put an end to fast fashion, as the current levels of production and consumption are unsustainable; calls on the Commission, in collaboration with the Member States and in consultation with researchers, civil society and industry stakeholders, to establish a clear definition of fast fashion, which is based on high volumes of lower quality garments at low price levels; welcomes the encouragement in the Textiles Strategy for businesses to reduce the number of collections per year; stresses the need, in particular, for measures to reduce the global use of primary materials and the overproduction of textiles;


Underlines the need for a paradigm shift in the fashion industry to end overproduction and unsustainable consumption, driving fast fashion to go out of fashion; encourages the production and consumption of sustainable slow fashion; believes that the Textiles Strategy and the envisaged measures should better tackle overproduction and overconsumption;


Reiterates the need for an absolute decoupling of growth from resource use in the textile sector and its request for the Commission to propose binding EU targets for 2030 to significantly reduce the EU’s material and consumption footprints and bring them within planetary boundaries by 2050, using the indicators adopted as part of the updated monitoring framework; calls on the Commission to propose comprehensive science-based targets for the textiles sector without delay, in order to measure the sector’s transition to circularity, including on the use of raw materials; reiterates its request for the setting of the EU targets through a back-casting approach to ensure that policy objectives are on a credible path towards achieving a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy within planetary boundaries by 2050 at the latest;


Stresses the need to support consumers in moving away from fast fashion and the high level of consumption of clothing and in making informed, responsible and sustainable textile consumption choices; underlines that increasing the sustainability of textiles, such as improving their durability has a significant impact on the environment, while at the same time creating cost-saving opportunities for customers; highlights the need to ensure that high-quality, durable and sustainable clothing and footwear are affordable; calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt measures to reduce aggressive and false advertising; calls further on the Commission and the Member States to develop and implement awareness-raising programmes on sustainable consumption and the climate, the environmental, health and social impacts of the textile and clothing industry, in collaboration with researchers, civil society and industry stakeholders; considers that the campaigns and programmes should make use of up-to-date research on consumer behaviour;


Highlights the need to better understand the impact of online marketplaces and social media platforms in driving textile consumption and their use of practices such as targeted advertising and the creation of incentives with buy-now-pay-later options, free shipping and returns, and quantity discounts; calls on the Commission to assess policy options to reduce such practices and enable consumers to limit their exposure to this form of advertising; stresses the need to create consumer incentives for sustainable consumption;


Draws attention to the fact that imports of non-compliant products sold through online marketplaces are widespread, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the textile products those service providers sell comply with EU law; calls for online marketplaces to be included in the definitions of the types of economic operators that market surveillance authorities can take action on;


Urges the Commission to ensure a clear framework on the question of liability in EU legislation and to ensure that online platforms and digital services do not facilitate the import of non-compliant textile products to the internal market;

Environment and climate impacts


Expresses concern that from a consumption point of view, over their life cycle, textiles have on average the fourth highest negative impact on the climate and the environment, after food, housing and mobility (48); points out that in 2020, the textiles sector was responsible for the third highest impact on water and land use and the fifth highest impact on the use of raw materials and greenhouse gas emissions (49);


Stresses the need to reduce the impact of the manufacturing and wet processing stages, where 60 % (50) of the climate impact occurs;


Recalls the need to promote circularity and to implement a life-cycle approach, taking into account the entire value chain, while ensuring the production and use of textiles that are more durable, reusable, repairable, recyclable and energy-efficient;


Calls on the Commission to propose further legislation to fully decarbonise the industry in a progressive manner, starting with full transparency on scope 1 and 2 emissions and, where relevant, more transparency on scope 3 emissions, in textile supply and value chains, and to set ambitious science-based targets by 2025 at the latest for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the textiles sector, covering their entire life cycle, including the emissions of raw material throughput, in line with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to 1,5 oC above pre-industrial temperatures, reflecting equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, recalls that around 70 % of the emissions related to the Union’s textile consumption take place outside of the EU (51); calls for more robust information and disclosure on the climate and environmental impacts, including on biodiversity;


Welcomes the fact that a review of the Best Available Techniques Reference Document (BREF) for the textile industry is currently underway; stresses that this review should fully reflect the best available data and contribute to achieving a high level of environmental performance;


Calls on the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to provide relevant support to third countries to help decarbonise textile supply chains;


Calls on the Commission to facilitate sector-specific climate dialogues and partnerships with textile stakeholders to encourage the drawing up of voluntary roadmaps, in line with the European Climate Law (Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 (52));


Expresses concern about the water use of the textiles sector and the pollution caused by the dyeing of textiles; recalls that 20 % of global water pollution comes from dyeing and finishing textile products (53); calls on the Commission to set ambitious, science-based and mandatory targets to progressively reduce the water footprint within the textile industry; calls on the Commission and the Member States to incentivise the development of processes which are less energy and water intensive, avoiding the use and release of harmful substances; stresses the importance of research and innovation, in particular into new forms of sustainable recyclable fibres that require less water, as well as into the development of alternatives to the conventional use of chemicals, water reuse through the development of wastewater treatment technologies, and to reduce energy and water consumption in the production process; calls on the Commission to address water use and pollution caused by dyeing and finishing, within the Ecodesign Regulation;


Recalls that more than 200 million trees are logged each year for the purpose of processing them into cellulosic fabrics such as viscose and rayon, and that up to 30 % of the viscose and rayon used in the fashion industry is made from endangered and ancient forests which once were home to native plants and animals (54); recalls, furthermore, that in Brazil, land clearing to raise cattle, which are then slaughtered for food and fashion purposes, is responsible for 80 % of the Amazon’s deforestation (55); highlights that the new EU regulation on deforestation-free products will also include leather;


Welcomes the fact that the strategy makes a link between fast fashion and the use of fossil fuel-based synthetic fibres, which in turn has major implications for microplastic and nanoplastic pollution; points out that microplastics release climate pollutants such as methane and ethylene into the environment, contributing to climate change, and that microplastics undermine the resilience of the ocean and the environment in general;


Points out that microplastics and nanoplastics can also have an impact on human health; draws attention to the exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals caused by microplastics;


Underlines the need for the continued research and collection of data on how microfibres, microplastics, and nanoplastics from the textile industry impact the environment, climate and human health;


Calls on the Commission to swiftly present the initiative on the reduction of unintentionally released microplastics, which has been delayed; emphasises the importance of tackling the problem at source and covering the whole life cycle; calls for the setting of clear targets and measures in the upcoming proposal, to prevent and minimise the release of micro and nanoplastics and microfibres into the environment, covering both unintentional and intentional releases; considers that ecodesign requirements should favour fabrics which, based on current scientific knowledge, are prone to releasing less microplastics and microfibres;


Underlines that micro and nanoplastic pollution is often caused by the dyeing and washing processes of synthetic textiles, as synthetic microfibres are released into wastewater; points out, in this context, that most microplastics from textiles are released during the first 5 to 10 washes, which only solidifies the link between fast fashion and microplastic pollution (56); stresses that measures are needed to reduce the amount of microplastics released during industrial wet processing and washing and drying by industry and consumers;


Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support research into the impacts of microplastics and nanoplastics, as well as of microfibre shedding in general, including through innovation that would avoid microfibre and microplastic release at each stage of the life cycle;


Underlines the importance of developing non-toxic material cycles for the transition to a circular economy and climate-neutral economy; reiterates the call to close the gaps in the current chemicals legal framework, giving priority to products consumers come into close and frequent contact with, such as textiles; regrets the fact that hazardous chemicals are widely used in various textile production processes that have severe impacts on the environment and workers, and can remain in garments and household textiles, impacting consumers; considers that any use of harmful chemicals needs to be prevented or reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and the environment; reaffirms that, in accordance with the waste hierarchy, as defined in the Waste Framework Directive, prevention takes priority over recycling and that, accordingly, recycling should not justify the perpetuation of the use of hazardous legacy substances; stresses that textiles should be safe, sustainable and circular by design;


Regrets the slow implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, and, in particular, expects the REACH Regulation to be revised; urges the Commission to adopt the proposal without further delay and to deliver on its commitment to substitute as much as possible and otherwise minimise the substances of concern in textile products placed on the EU market; underlines the need for greater alignment of the REACH Regulation with the principles of the circular economy with regard to the specificities of the textile sector, notably to phase out the use of hazardous chemicals, disclose information on the chemicals used in products and ensure traceability; highlights that the phase-out of hazardous chemicals would strengthen the secondary raw materials markets;


Expresses concern that around 60 chemicals in textile products placed on the EU market are considered as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction; emphasises the importance of continuing research into the chemicals used in textiles, including their impact on the recyclability of textiles; recalls the Commission’s commitment in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability to ensure that consumer products do not contain chemicals that cause cancers, gene mutations, affect the reproductive or endocrine system, or are persistent and bioaccumulative; urges the Commission to implement this commitment without delay, including through the adoption of the necessary legislative measures; highlights that exposure to endocrine disruptors can have multiple harmful health effects by targeting different organs and systems in the human body and can interrupt other hormonally regulated metabolic processes, yet a specific framework on endocrine disruptors in textiles is lacking;


Stresses that PFAS have proven to be extremely persistent in the environment and both their production and use have resulted in the severe contamination of soil, water and food; highlights that PFAS are widely and commonly used in the textile industry; calls, therefore, for the stringent regulation of PFAS in textiles;

Circular by design


Welcomes the proposal for a regulation for ecodesign for sustainable products; welcomes the Commission’s assessment of textiles and footwear as being a priority group of products to be potentially regulated under the Ecodesign Regulation; stresses that ecodesign requirements for all textile and footwear products should be adopted as a priority;


Stresses that ecodesign requirements should address the textiles sector comprehensively across product parameters; calls on the Commission to ensure that trade-offs between different product aspects are analysed; underlines that the ecodesign requirements should effectively address the overproduction and overconsumption of textiles, the material footprint and the presence of substances of concern;


Stresses that the ecodesign requirements for textiles should be set in line with the Union objectives in the fields of climate, notably the objective to achieve climate neutrality at the latest by 2050, the environment, including biodiversity, resource efficiency and security, and the reduction of the environmental, material and consumption footprints, and staying within the planetary boundaries as set out in the 8th Environmental Action Programme, non-toxicity, energy efficiency as well as other related Union objectives, legislation and international commitments;


Calls on the Commission to set horizontal ecodesign requirements for textiles and footwear swiftly, and to focus on setting product-specific requirements between different textile products later on;


Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide economic operators with sufficient time to adjust to new ecodesign requirements, particularly taking into account the needs of micro enterprises and SMEs;


Considers that consumption of new textiles, such as clothes, depends on several factors, including the availability of the products and their pricing, and not only on the need to replace a product that is no longer functional; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the policy framework on textiles takes a holistic view of durability, including both the physical and the emotional durability of textile products put on the market, which describes the garment design that takes into account long-term relevance and desirability to consumers, as clothing represents a cultural value;


Encourages the Commission and Member States to support research into how emotional durability can effectively be measured and be reflected in policy responses;


Stresses the need for the Commission and the Member States to promote business models and other measures that contribute to longer lifespans for textiles products and their use for longer, as well as the re-use and repair sectors as alternatives to purchasing new products;


Calls on the Member States to explore the setting of incentives to encourage sustainable consumption such as reduced VAT for second-hand products and repairs;


Considers that public authorities should drive the development of more sustainable textiles and circular business models and aim to reduce the environmental impact of textiles when making public purchases; calls for a broader and more effective application of socially responsible and sustainable public procurement criteria for textiles, in order to avoid market fragmentation; encourages the participation of social enterprises in public tenders;


Considers that garments, shoes, accessories and home furnishing products should comply with the welfare of animals; regrets the lack of attention paid to the well-being of animals in the Textiles Strategy; welcomes innovations by some parts of the industry such as sustainable alternatives; believes that more support should be given to related research and development;


Calls on the Commission to put forward measures on animal welfare and protection within the textiles industry and sector, focusing on eliminating harmful practices and illegal wildlife trade, and increasing transparency and awareness about the use of animals for the production and testing of textiles, also in third countries;


Stresses the need for the Commission and the Member States to promote research, foster innovation and develop policies supporting new sustainable circular business models for the textile industry, such as, re-use, rental, on-demand production and technological innovations that can reduce the environmental and social impacts of the sector, provide information and improve consumers’ health; underlines that research and innovation are key to strengthening the competitiveness of the EU textile industry; calls for research and innovation into artificial fibres, including recycling of waste-to-fibre and fibre-to-fibre, and the upcycling of synthetic waste in the textile industry;


Calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate the creation of sustainable business models and the competitiveness of the sector;


Highlights that not just products and materials, but also business models and the wider infrastructure should be designed to support waste prevention, preparation for reuse and high-quality recycling, in line with the waste hierarchy; considers that sustainable circular business models should become the norm; calls for the establishment of metrics and benchmarks that demonstrate the environmental performance of the circular business model, with policy incentives linked to these demonstrated impacts;


Underlines the importance, after following the waste hierarchy, of recycling for circularity, as a source of raw materials for textile production in Europe; underlines that the purity of the input in fabrics affects the efficiency and economic viability of the recycling process and that reduced mixed-material composition would help recyclability in Europe; underlines the need for a competitive European secondary market for raw materials;


Calls for extended producer responsibility schemes and other measures to incentivise research, innovation, investments and the scale-up of infrastructure for the collection, sorting and composition sorting, preparation for reuse and reuse and high-quality fibre-to-fibre recycling solutions that allow the separation and recycling of mixed materials and the decontamination of the waste stream;


Encourages Member States, regions and managing authorities to make use of the European Structural Funds and the Recovery and Resilience Instrument to unlock the potential of the European textile industry for innovative solutions to further digitalise and decarbonise the sector; encourages the development of circular economy hubs that would bring together innovative research centres and collection, sorting and recycling plants, which would turn waste into value and create new jobs in textile manufacturing; calls for the creation of a network of regional and national sustainability and innovation textiles hubs to assist companies, in particular SMEs, in the twin digital and green transitions;


Recalls that several EU funding opportunities exist, such as via Cluster 2 Horizon Europe or the European Innovation Council; emphasises that the EU research and innovation agenda has to address the whole value chain of circularity in the textiles ecosystem; in this context, calls for a dedicated co-programmed Partnership at EU level for advancing the European Union’s competitiveness in innovative and sustainable textiles; stresses that the upcoming Horizon Europe work programmes should reflect the goals of circularity and sustainability, as set out in the EU Textiles Strategy and in the corresponding EU research and innovation agenda for textiles; underlines the role the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Knowledge and Innovation Communities on Culture & Creativity and Manufacturing; calls on the Commission to appoint a European Innovation Council (EIC) programme manager on innovative, smart and sustainable textiles, and to run dedicated EIC Accelerator challenges;


Underlines the importance of sector-specific dialogues to increase the sectoral engagement of the textiles industry in the transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy; looks forward to the creation of transition pathways as an important building block for the textiles ecosystem in Europe;


Calls on the Commission, in collaboration with industry stakeholders and research institutions, to develop a life cycle assessment methodology applicable to the textile industry in order to ensure fair comparisons of textile products; points out that the life cycle assessment as a principle is crucial to avoid unintentional environmental impacts and to incentivise the invention of new raw materials that can demonstrate a lower impact on the environment; stresses the need for a European standard on life cycle assessments and the need for better data infrastructures across supply chains to enable this;


Underlines the importance of a coherent and consistent legal framework for the industry; emphasises the specific role that first movers, micro enterprises, SMEs and start-ups are playing in the transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy; highlights the need to support SMEs in the textile industry in moving away from linear business models and unsustainable practices with respect to the climate, the environment, health and social issues, including through guidelines to facilitate access to the available funding and compliance with administrative procedures; emphasises the importance of training opportunities for SMEs; notes the opportunities provided by the Enterprise Europe Network and the European Digital Innovation Hub;

Textile waste and extended producer responsibility


Considers that textile producers should have extended producer responsibility for the textiles they make available on the market for the first time within the territory of a Member State; welcomes the intention of the Commission to set out harmonised EU rules on extended producer responsibility for textiles, with eco-modulation of fees as part of the revision of the Waste Framework Directive; calls on the Commission to ensure that a significant proportion of the contributions made to extended producer responsibility schemes will be used for waste prevention and preparation for re-use measures, respecting the waste hierarchy;


Emphasises that extended producer responsibility should comply as a minimum with the requirements of Articles 8 and 8a of Directive 2008/98/EC, in addition to which it should include any other relevant costs specific to the textile sector; emphasises the need to ensure consistency between the eco-modulation of fees and the future delegated acts on textiles adopted under the Ecodesign Regulation, whereby the ecodesign requirements should be used as a basis and extended producer responsibility fees can incentivise businesses to go further;


Calls on the Commission to ensure that online marketplaces are also covered by the extended producer responsibility rules; considers it important for the extended producer responsibility scheme to promote the activities of social enterprises involved in used textiles management;


Underlines the need to ensure the environmentally sound management of collected textiles; recalls that separate collection of textiles will be mandatory from 1 January 2025; encourages the Commission to monitor the Member States that have already implemented separate collection in order to facilitate exchanges of best practices and improve implementation;


Underlines that the revision of the Waste Framework Directive should introduce specific separate targets for textile waste prevention, textile collection, textile reuse, preparation for reuse, closed loop fibre-to-fibre recycling and phase out the landfilling of textiles; stresses that reliable data and benchmarks are needed for monitoring the targets; underlines also the importance of setting harmonised end-of-waste criteria for textiles;


Highlights the need to invest in re-collection infrastructure and high-end sorting and recycling facilities in order to be able to manage textile waste as of 2025; stresses the benefits of scaling up automated sorting infrastructure for post-consumer textiles, which can deliver high levels of precision and efficiency;


Considers it important to promote social economy enterprises collecting and re-using textiles as partners in meeting the collection and waste management obligations and targets;


Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote concrete measures to raise awareness and achieve higher separate textile collection rates, including through the use of economic incentives;


Agrees with the Commission that the production of clothing from recycled bottles is not consistent with the circular model for PET bottles; considers that misleading claims should not be made about the recycled content in clothing based on PET, and that this should be taken into account, inter alia, in the review of the EU Ecolabel criteria;


Regrets the fact that about 20 % of textile fibres become waste before they reach the end-consumer; considers that great uncertainty exists about the total amount of fibres discarded in the pre-consumer phase; calls on the Commission to introduce mandatory reporting requirements on pre-consumer waste;


Stresses the importance of the revision of the Waste Shipments Regulation in strengthening the efforts to combat illegal shipments of waste to third countries; stresses the need to establish criteria to distinguish between used goods and waste; notes that these measures will be of particular importance to textile waste; is concerned that textile waste is still falsely labelled as second-hand goods (57); while emphasising the principle of proximity as laid down in the Waste Framework Directive, points out that shipments of waste between EU Member States can be important for facilitating the recycling of waste in order to introduce secondary raw materials into the circular economy;


Reaffirms its position that the export of waste to non-EU countries should only be allowed when the receiving countries manage it under human health and environmental protection standards that are considered equivalent to those of the EU, including respect for international conventions on labour rights, and that all receiving facilities should be audited for environmentally sound management prior to exports;


Urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the likely increase in collected textile waste after the introduction of separate collection in 2025 does not lead to the incineration or landfilling of such textiles in non-EU countries; calls on the Commission to clarify that ‘prepared to a specification of worn clothing and other worn textiles’ includes, inter alia, pre-sorting;

Transparency and traceability


Welcomes the initiative to empower consumers with regard to the green transition and the resulting EU rules that should ensure that consumers receive information at the point of sale on a commercial durability guarantee for textile products, as well as relevant information on their reparability, their end-of-life management and on the production year of the product;


Expresses its concern over the widespread practices of greenwashing; points out that that 53 % of green claims give vague, misleading or unfounded information and 40 % of claims have no supporting evidence; welcomes the Commission’s proposal to empower consumers for the green transition and the proposal for a directive on green claims; emphasises the need to establish clear rules to put an end to greenwashing practices and to raise awareness of the implications of fast fashion and consumer behaviour for the environment;


Calls on the Commission to revise and reinforce the EU Ecolabel for textiles to enable the identification of the most sustainable textiles;


Welcomes the development of Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules for apparel and footwear; calls on the Commission to ensure that these methods address all relevant environmental impacts; expresses concern over the environmental impact factors, such as micro and nanoplastic emissions and biodiversity loss, which are currently missing; highlights the need to include both industry and non-industry organisations in the development of such rules, as well as to ensure the transparency and accessibility of data;


Welcomes the introduction of the digital product passport (DPP) in the ecodesign proposal, which, as part of a coherent framework with corporate due diligence legislation on sustainability and the forced labour proposal, will provide increased transparency; considers the DPP to be a decisive tool for circularity and welcomes the role which the DPP can play in enabling new sustainable business models for textiles and in consumer empowerment, facilitating sustainable choices by making data more accessible and transparent; stresses that the information provided by the DPP needs to be accurate, complete and up to date;


Expresses concern that high volumes of surplus, excess inventory and deadstock, as well as returns, lead to the destruction of perfectly usable textiles; underlines that a ban on the destruction of unsold and returned textile goods at Union level should be enacted and considers that comprehensive information to allow monitoring of the ban on the destruction of unsold textile goods is essential, in accordance with the revision of the Ecodesign Regulation;


Underlines the importance of a harmonised and properly functioning internal market; regrets the large proportion of textiles available on the Union market that are non-compliant with Union law (58); calls on the Member States to ensure stronger market surveillance, more frequent controls and dissuasive penalties for infringements, to ensure that all products placed on the EU market, including by online marketplaces from non-EU countries, meet the requirements set out in Union legislation; underlines the importance of preventing the import of counterfeited or unsafe textile products and of harmonised surveillance of the internal market;


Calls on the Commission to audit the enforcement systems in the Member States with regard to textiles and to make recommendations for improvement, strengthen cooperation and coordination between enforcement bodies and propose EU enforcement instruments, where necessary; calls on the Commission to make use of the powers granted under Article 11(4) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 in order to ensure the adequate testing of products across the Union; reaffirms its call on the Commission to take swift legal action when it establishes that EU laws, pertaining in particular to the protection of human health and the environment and the functioning of the internal market, are not being observed; recalls its position that procedures should be made more efficient in the field of environmental infringements (59);

Due diligence and social fairness


Regrets that the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles falls short on social elements, such as workers’ rights and the gender perspective;


Stresses that the textile sector is host to a broad range of labour rights abuses, in particular affecting women and other marginalised groups, including poverty wages, wage theft, undue limitation of the right to join or form a union of an individual’s choosing, child labour, forced labour, exposure to unsafe working conditions and sexual harassment (60) (61);


Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a corporate sustainable due diligence directive as an important step to address specific problems in the textile sector; highlights that negative environmental impacts and social impacts in supplier countries cannot be avoided through due diligence legislation alone, and that improving social and environmental sustainability requires a holistic approach; calls on the Commission to provide additional support for local actors in partner countries and to take additional legislative measures to address these impacts in countries outside the EU; underlines, furthermore, the need for the EU to promote the ratification of all International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions that are relevant to the textile industry; calls on the Member States to support efforts to prevent gender-based violence in the textile sector by committing to the ratification and implementation of ILO Convention No 190 on Eliminating Violence and Sexual Harassment in the World of Work;


Calls on the Commission to mainstream the gender perspective in the implementation of the EU Textile Strategy; draws special attention to the fact that women account for 80 % (62) of the global garment workforce and are therefore disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of the industry; highlights that gender-based violence has been widely reported in the textile industry; stresses that women and girls in garment factories are particularly at risk of harassment and gender-based violence owing to their precarious, low-income employment, as well as their limited upward mobility, the location of workplaces and their dependence on on-site housing; stresses that special attention should be paid to gender equality and women’s rights in the textiles sector; strongly insists that women workers’ unions be allowed to freely establish and operate, and asks for the right to collective bargaining to be respected;


Notes that women in the textile industry are often excluded from decision-making; calls on employers in the textile industry to take steps to ensure female representation in managerial and leadership positions and to ensure female representation in consultation forums; calls further on employers to provide training courses to managers and employees on gender equality and gender discrimination; calls on the Member States to promote studies in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics among girls and women to ensure that women play a key role in all aspects of the textile industry, including the use of the high-tech machinery that is often required during various manufacturing procedures, and thereby to underline the link between women, technology and textiles;


Calls on the Member States and the Commission to ensure the collection of comprehensive gender-disaggregated data to ascertain the involvement of women in the textile industry and any potential variations or discrepancies between Member States;


Recalls that indigenous crafts are often appropriated, which is related to structural racism, and are often used for clothing for mass consumption; recalls that traditional crafts and their makers are sacrificed, as local communities are pushed into low-paying garment worker jobs (63);

Harmful purchasing practises


Regrets that the strategy does not envisage any action against the harmful purchasing practices of companies; points out that according to the ILO, the current power imbalance between garment buyers and their suppliers, in particular SMEs, causes overproduction and exploitation of workers in the industry (64); considers that unfair purchasing practices by companies such as last-minute changes in design or lead times, unilateral amendments to contracts and last-minute cancellation of orders should be effectively tackled; calls on the Commission to provide an assessment of how best to minimise these practices, including through legislation taking inspiration and learning from the experience of the implementation of Directive (EU) 2019/633 (65) on unfair trading practices in the agricultural and food supply chain;


Insists that the green and digital transitions of the European textiles sector drive forward a Just Transition which leaves no one behind; stresses that the transition to more sustainable and circular business models within the textile industry presents significant potential for the creation of new business opportunities, new green jobs and for the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, while offering the opportunity to improve the working conditions and attractiveness of the sector and the remuneration of workers, who will play a central role in the transition; recognises that while the transformation of the sector can create new jobs with new skill requirements, other types of jobs might be lost; emphasises the importance of quality social dialogue and the engagement of national and regional authorities to adequately plan for the transition and ensure that mitigating measures are put in place and that change is managed in a socially responsible way, including ensuring that newly created jobs in the circular economy are quality jobs;


Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the provision of sectoral training and education in the field of sustainable textiles to safeguard current jobs, improve worker satisfaction and ensure the availability of a skilled workforce, together with social partners, the industry and other stakeholders; underlines the importance of ensuring that low-wage textile sector workers, including those engaged in the most precarious forms of employment, have access to quality lifelong learning and training opportunities, particularly after periods of absence for care reasons;


Calls on the Commission and Member States to assist social economy actors, including social enterprises active in circular activities, in their reskilling and upskilling activities;


Calls on the Commission to ensure a level playing field with a high level of environmental protection for products produced and consumed within the EU and those exported or imported; notes that most clothing in the Union is imported from third countries (66), contributing to harmful environmental and social impacts outside of the Union; points out that trade policies can play a crucial role in contributing to sustainable value chains, notably through the effective enforcement of the trade and sustainable development chapters of EU trade agreements; considers that the Union should ensure that trade agreements and preference programmes are used as levers to promote sustainable development, protection of climate and environmental, human rights, labour rights and fair and ethical trade around the world, as well as the responsibility of value chains;


Recalls the principle of policy coherence for development (PCD) and, in particular, Article 208 TFEU, which states that the Union ‘shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries’; stresses the importance of minimising possible contradictions and building synergies with development cooperation policy for the benefit of developing countries and to increase the effectiveness of development cooperation; highlights the importance of PCD in enabling an integrated approach to achieve the SDGs;


Strongly encourages the Commission, therefore, to supplement the strategy with corresponding regional and country programming for developing countries in the framework of the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument — Global Europe and Team Europe initiatives, which should visibly promote and communicate sustainable projects that promote governance reforms and better enforcement of laws, in particular labour laws, as well as sustainable projects that help to build textiles production and distribution infrastructure;


Denounces the vicious circle created by climate change effects which force agricultural workers to abandon their land, as it is no longer suitable for farming, move to industrial centres and be forced to seek exploitative employment in the garment and other industries; recalls that these migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, as they lack social support networks and owing to the general lack of social infrastructure and legal protection; recalls that the increasing number of droughts and floods also threatens cotton farmers worldwide; recalls that cotton is a particularly striking example of the aforementioned vicious circle, as growing it involves excessive water use, which harms the soil, as well as the use of pesticides, which has damaging effects on farmers and the environment;


o o


Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)   OJ C 465, 17.11.2021, p. 11.

(2)   OJ C 67, 8.2.2022, p. 25.

(3)   OJ C 184, 5.5.2022, p. 2.

(4)   OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 136.

(5)   OJ C 371, 15.9.2021, p. 75.

(6)   OJ L 114, 12.4.2022, p. 22.

(7)   OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3.

(8)   OJ L 272, 18.10.2011, p. 1.

(9)  Texts adopted, P9_TA(2023)0003.


(11)  European Environment Information and Observation Network ETC/CE Report 2/2022 — ‘Textiles and the Environment — The role of design in Europe’s circular economy’, European Environment Agency, European Topic Centre on Circular Economy and Resource Use, 10 February 2022.






























(41) Schein_v9.pdf

(42)  Articles 2 and 3(3) TEU, Article 8 TFEU and Article 23 of the Charter.

(43)  European Parliament, Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services, Briefing, ‘Textile workers in developing countries and the European fashion industry: Towards sustainability?’, 24 July 2020.


(45) publication/wcms_848624.pdf

(46)  Clean Clothes Campaign, ‘Another wage is possible: A cross-border base living wage in Europe’.






(52)  Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (OJ L 243, 9.7.2021, p. 1).







(59)  European Parliament resolution of 16 January 2020 on the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, paragraph 59 (OJ C 270, 7.7.2021, p. 94).






(65)   OJ L 111, 25.4.2019, p. 59.

(66)  European Parliament, Directorate for Parliamentary Research Services, Briefing, ‘Textiles and the environment’, 3 May 2022, available at:


ISSN 1977-091X (electronic edition)