“Making fast fashion out of fashion”, “Don’t waste it wear it!” or “Give a hand to second hand”. These are some of the slogans of the ReSet the Trend campaign that the European Commission launched earlier this year. European citizens and businesses are invited to join the fight against fast fashion and to spread the word about what we can do to green the textiles sector.
But why is it important for the textile industry to change? The industry is among the top five for raw material use and greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and among the top three when it comes to pressures on water and land use. Every year in the EU alone 5.8 million tons of textiles are discarded, amounting on average to around 11 kg person. Only 1% of the material used around the world for clothing is recycled into new clothing. By 2030, the consumption of clothing and footwear is expected to double.
The ReSet the Trend campaign is part of the EU’s Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, which sets out a range of measures to address our production and consumption of textiles, whilst recognizing the importance and potential of the sector for our economy. The objective is to create a greener and more competitive textile sector, while engaging consumers and busineses to change. Many companies are already taking steps to be part of this transformation, and the campaign’s website features inspiring stories of change showcasing frontrunner businesses. Among these are EMAS-registered companies VAUDE and Kellheim Fibres.
As a tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report, and continuously improve their environmental performance, EMAS facilitates organisations the transition of all sectors towards a green economy. EMAS-registered organisations have to monitor all their environmental impacts and from there set up an environmental policy with short- and long-term goals for their business. To ensure transparency and credibility the companies publish an annual environmental statement and an audit by a third-party verifier is performed each year. Apart from the constant enhancement of the environmental impact, adopting EMAS often comes along with better financial performance (Check out the Study on Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations) and employee empowerment.
The outdoor clothing company VAUDE has been implementing EMAS already since 2008. VAUDE is a real driver of change when it comes to introducing creative alternative business models. They understand that the most sustainable product is the one that is used the longest. This starts with a timeless design that is meant to last. If something breaks you can buy replacements and the clothing company has a repair service in place. You can also rent products, for example, outdoor equipment you only need once. In the case that you do not like a piece anymore, they have partnered up with eBay so reselling the product and giving it a new life is made easy.
EMAS helped VAUDE to holistically address their environmental-related issues. By using the EMAS core indicators on energy efficiency, material efficiency, water, waste, biodiversity, and emissions they systematically improve their environmental performance. Since 2022 VAUDE has reached global climate neutrality for all its products. Furthermore, they take responsibility for their whole value chain and actively fight for fair working conditions and living wages for their workers in Germany, Europe, and Asia.
Kellheim Fibres is another inspirational textile business producing viscose fibres mainly for clothing, hygiene or medical products, specialty papers, and technical applications. Their environmental policy with EMAS is built around the three pillars of efficiency, credibility, and sustainability. These include the goals to optimize circularity, continuously increase energy efficiency, operate in an open and trustworthy manner, use resources efficiently, and minimize their local and global environmental impact along the whole value chain.
The wood Kellheim Fibres uses to produce its fibres comes exclusively from certified sustainably managed forestry. Additionally, they joined the Canopy-Initiative to help protect virgin and endangered forests. When it comes to the production of the fibres, the company takes care to constantly reduce their emissions and waste. The end product, the viscose fibres, is biodegradable and can be completely decomposed in the sea and the soil. Therefore, Kellheim Fibres looks to find sustainable alternatives for common products, like safe food packaging, wet wipes that can be flushed down the toilet, washable and highly absorbent diapers, or moisture-retaining asparagus films.
These two companies show what the ReSet the Trend, #ReFashionNow campaign embodies: If we all do our part to address the problems of the textile industry, there is great potential to tackle many of the challenges of the sector, and transform our economy for the better. By adopting a circular economy, businesses can reduce waste, save resources, and contribute to a more sustainable future for all. In the words of campaign ambassadors Matteo Ward, Italian influencer for sustainable fashion: “This is the time where we need to take action, raise the voice for a fair more ethical, more transparent fashion industry, that does not exploit human and nature to create clothing but rather respects all these dimensions to revolutionize the way our clothes are made”. The same applies for every other industry, and EMAS is a great tool to help companies and other organisations to go circular in a systemized way.
- Data publikacji
- 9 maja 2023
- Dyrekcja Generalna ds. Środowiska