Skip to content

European Green Deal

The European Green Deal is an ambitious European Union plan to achieve a climate-neutral and sustainable economy by 2050, covering all sectors of the economy, including the textile and fashion sector, which is one of the most polluting and socially impactful.

According to the European Commission, the textile and fashion sector accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, consumes large amounts of water and energy, generates a lot of waste and microplastics, and is associated with human and labor rights problems.

The plan proposes a series of actions to transform this sector and make it more sustainable and circular, that is, to reduce the consumption of resources, extend the useful life of products, facilitate their repair and recycling, and minimize their environmental and social impact.

Among the main actions proposed by the European Green Deal for the textile and fashion sector are the following:

  • Establish design requirements for textile and fashion products, to make them more durable, repairable and recyclable, as well as requirements on the minimum content of sustainable fibers. This will imply a change in the way textiles are produced and designed, which will have to take into account the full life cycle of the products and avoid the use of hazardous substances.
  • Introduce clearer information and a Digital Product Passport, including sustainability and circularity parameters, based on the requirements of the proposed Ecodesign Regulation. This will enable consumers to better understand the origin, composition, impact and final destination of the products they buy, and thus make more informed and responsible choices.
  • Reverse overproduction and overconsumption, and discourage the destruction of unsold or returned textiles. This will challenge the fast fashion business model, which is based on mass production and frequent consumption of low-quality, short-lived garments. It will seek to encourage a more conscious and moderate consumption, which values the quality, durability and functionality of products.
  • Addressing the unintentional release of microplastics from synthetic textiles. These microplastics are small plastic particles that are released from textiles during washing, use or disposal, and end up contaminating the environment and the food chain. The aim is to reduce their emission through measures such as labeling, innovation, research and regulation.
  • Combat “Greenwashing”, to empower consumers and raise awareness about sustainable fashion. Greenwashing is a deceptive practice that consists of presenting a false or exaggerated image of the sustainability of a company or product in order to attract consumers. The aim is to avoid this type of advertising through control, transparency and education.
  • Introduce mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility standards for textiles in all member states and encourage producers to design more sustainable products. Extended Producer Responsibility is a principle that obliges producers to take responsibility for the management of the waste generated by their products, from collection to treatment. This motivates them to reduce the quantity and toxicity of waste, and to facilitate its recycling.
  • Restrict the export of textile waste and promote sustainable textiles globally. Much of the textile waste generated in the European Union is sent to developing countries, where it is burned, buried or sold in informal markets, which is an environmental and social problem. The aim is to limit this practice and encourage international cooperation to improve the conditions of production and consumption of textiles worldwide.
  • Encourage circular business models, including the reuse and repair sectors. These business models are based on the use of existing resources, avoiding the generation of waste and the extraction of new materials. Some examples are rental, exchange, second hand, customization, repair or upcycling of textile products.

What benefits will the European Green Deal have for the textile and fashion sector?

The European Green Deal is an opportunity for the textile and fashion sector to adapt to the new challenges and demands of society, and to contribute to the ecological and social transition that is needed.

Among the benefits that the European Green Deal will have for the textile and fashion sector are the following:

  • Reduce the environmental and social impact of the sector, contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity protection, pollution prevention, efficient use of resources, and respect for human and labor rights.
  • Improve the competitiveness and innovation of the sector, promoting the creation of new products, services and business models that respond to the needs and expectations of consumers, and that are differentiated by their quality, design and sustainability.
  • Generate new employment opportunities and economic growth, creating added value and diversifying the supply and demand of sustainable and circular textile products, both locally and globally.
  • To increase consumer confidence and loyalty, offering more transparent and truthful information about textile products, and facilitating their active participation in the process of sustainable and circular production and consumption.

How can you join the European Green Deal as a fashion consumer?

As a fashion consumer, you have a key role to play in the success of the European Green Deal, as your purchasing decisions influence the behavior of companies and the impact of the textile and fashion sector.

Here are some actions you can take to join the European Green Deal as a fashion consumer:

  • Inform yourself about the origin, composition, impact and final destination of the textile products you buy, and choose those that are more sustainable and circular, that is, that use natural, recycled or recyclable materials, that have a long useful life, that can be repaired or reused, and that minimize the environmental and social impact.
  • Reduce your fashion consumption and opt for quality over quantity, avoiding impulsive and compulsive buying of clothes that you do not need or that you will not use. Think if you really need it, if you like it, if it fits you well, if it combines with what you have, and if it will last. Apply the 3R principle: reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Take care of and extend the life of your garments, following the washing, drying and ironing instructions, using environmentally friendly products, and avoiding the use of the dryer or dry cleaning. If they get damaged, try to repair them or take them to a repair shop. If you no longer want them, donate them, sell them, exchange them or transform them into something new.
  • Support brands and designers that are committed to sustainable and circular fashion by buying their products, following their social networks, sharing their initiatives, or participating in their events. This way you help them grow and spread their message.
  • Raise awareness and educate your environment about the importance of sustainable and circular fashion, sharing your knowledge, experiences and advice with your family, friends, colleagues or followers.