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European Parliament to turn the page on unfair fast fashion, thanks to S&Ds’ leadership

Date

31 May 2023

Sections

Sustainable Dev.

Tomorrow, the European Parliament is set to approve a key report to make all textiles sold in the European Union sustainable, in line with the Green Deal objectives and social justice.

Global textile production nearly doubled between 2000 and 2015, and consumption of clothing and footwear is projected to rise by a staggering 63% by 2030. In the European Union, the consumption of textiles - most of which are imported - already ranks fourth in terms of its negative impact on the environment and climate change, following food, housing, and mobility. Additionally, the textile sector is known for its low and unfair working conditions. For the S&D Group, the establishment of a sustainable textile industry is therefore crucial for the EU's just transition to a circular and climate neutral economy by 2050. 

In March of last year, the European Commission presented a comprehensive strategy aimed at ensuring the longevity, repairability and recyclability of textile products entering the EU market. The European Parliament, under the leadership of the S&Ds, not only endorsed this strategy, but also significantly raised its level of ambition. Particularly noteworthy is its call to the European Commission and Council to put an end to fast fashion, to set specific climate and environmental targets for the textile sector, and, at the same time, to uphold social standards. These binding targets should encompass waste prevention, collection, reuse and recycling, as well as CO2 reduction, mandatory water footprint reduction targets and tackling harmful purchasing practices. 

Delara Burkhardt, S&D MEP and European Parliament’s rapporteur on the matter, said:

“The fast fashion model that exploits both people and the planet's finite resources must come to an end. The EU must enforce sustainable practices through legislation and set binding environmental and climate targets for the textile industry. The welfare of the people and the planet takes precedence over the textile industry's pursuit of profits. Past disasters, such as the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, the growing landfills in Ghana and Nepal, water pollution, and the prevalence of microplastics in our oceans, must drive the EU to swiftly abandon fast fashion and make all textiles sustainable." 

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