Green proposals put forward by the European Commission to encourage sustainability and fight the fast fashion movement stop short of specifically promoting natural fibres such as wool and cotton.
The proposals, released last week, include a strategy for sustainable and circular textiles, as well as updates to EU consumer rules put forward last week aimed at boosting consumers' knowledge of products' durability and ability to be repaired.
The rules would also ban greenwashing and misleading claims about a product's durability.
Vice-president for values and transparency Vera Jourova said the European Commission was supporting consumers who increasingly want to choose products that last longer and can be repaired.
"We must ensure that their commitment is not hampered by misleading information," she said.
"We are giving them strong new tools to make informed choices and increase sustainability of the products and our economy with this proposal."
Measures in the strategy for sustainable and circular textiles include new design requirements for textile including mandatory minimums for the inclusion of recycled fibres, the creation of digital product passports based on circularity and environmental requirements, action on microplastics, economic incentives to make products more sustainable and restrictions relating to textile waste.
To address fast fashion, the strategy also calls on companies to reduce the number of collections per year, act to minimise their carbon and environmental footprints, and calls on member states to adopt favourable taxation measures for the reuse and repair sector.
The strategy sets out an aim that textile products placed on the EU market will be "long-lived and recyclable" by 2030, but does not specifically mention natural fibres, instead highlighting recycled fibres and re-use and repair services.
The details of the proposals come following lengthy campaigning by Australian Wool Innovation in regards to the EU's Product Environmental Footprinting methodology.
Through the Make The Label Count campaign, AWI and other stakeholders have been pushing to have microplastics factored into whether a garment earns a clothing sustainability label.
Speaking at Senate estimates this week, AWI CEO John Roberts said it "beggars belief" that a fibre such as wool should rate so poorly under the current methodology.
"We've been successful in garnering the support of I think 27 European parliamentarians who have all raised concerns in the European parliament in relation to this," he said.
"We've certainly got the attention we didn't have six months ago, if I could put it that way."
The strategy for sustainable and circular textiles reveals that a forthcoming European Commission initiative, due to be presented this year, will address the unintentional release of microplastics in the environment through the washing of synthetic fabrics through measures related to manufacturing processes, prewashing at industrial manufacturing plants, labelling and the promotion of innovative materials.
A synopsis report of public consultation undertaken regarding the proposals points out that several NGOs and government stakeholders were "cautious about prioritising or limiting any particular kind of fibre", instead arguing for a choice of fibres that can be shown through cradle to grave methods to be sustainable.
Stakeholders also told the Commission that they considered emissions reduction one of the the most important policy objectives for greener production processes.
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