IWTO Responds to European Consultation on Substantiating Green Claims

Environmental ratings must resolve inherent bias against natural fibres or risk loss of credibility with consumers, the International Wool Textile Organisation told lawmakers as part of a consultation on forthcoming European legislation.

BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 2020 - While a harmonised approach to measuring the environmental performance of products is highly desirable, the system must be meaningful and accurate if it is to have the intended result of identifying truly sustainable products, IWTO said in its statement to a recent European Commission consultation.

The consultation was part of a wider initiative being developed by the European Commission that will lead to legislation on the environmental claims companies will be allowed to make about their products and services.

Ensuring a level playing field for natural fibres

The wool industry has been proactive in identifying the limitations of current environmental assessment methods and proposing solutions to help ensure a level playing field between natural and synthetic fibres. This work led to a peer-reviewed publication in the journal Sustainability proposing pathways for resolving the identified limitations.

The wool industry is also active in developing Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology for apparel and footwear in Europe, again with the aim of ensuring that scoring for clothing and is robust and meaningful.

While moving in the right direction, the PEF for apparel and footwear is still a long way from market ready. In responding to the call for input on green claims, IWTO identified four key limitations of the current model:

  • Accounting for renewable raw materials
  • Overlooking microplastics
  • Trade barrier risks associated with the PEF methodology
  • Choice of methods for global warming assessment are inconsistent with global accounting requirements under the UNFCCC.

Read the full text here

Substantiating Green Claims – Make Your Voice Heard

The Substantiating Green Claims initiative is open to public consultation until December 3. Proposed regulation is expected from the Commission in mid-2021.

Read Score Natural Fibres Fairly on iwto.org

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