ECDPM in collaboration with WFTO-Europe, Fair Trade Advocacy Office and Oxfam Magasins du Monde issued a discussion paper, in which they envision comprehensive European regulations for fair and sustainable textile supply chains.

The textile supply chain is plagued by human rights violations, poor working conditions, child labor, environmental degradation and intense pollution. Nevertheless, all of these unpleasant consequences are easy to ignore when we, as consumers, enter a sparkling, scented mall to buy the hundredth T-shirt for a few euros.

In the last years, the tragic incident of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh raised the attention towards working conditions in producing countries and the negative environmental impact of fast fashion production has come heavily into focus.

The responsibility of these outcomes falls heavily on the shoulders of importers, brands, retailers and customers in Europe. Therefore, it is natural to expect an effort from the European Union to take the matter in its own hands and exploit the leverage on companies, trade partners and other stakeholders to ban the most harmful practices and to encourage the entire industry to shift towards fairer and more sustainable production. Regrettably, the initiatives have been limited, scattered and fragmented so far.

This report contains a comprehensive overview of the numerous and diverse policy options of which the EU can dispose in order to effectively tackle the issue of sustainability in the textile sector, such as: Human Rights due diligence legislation, public procurement, product labelling, multi-stakeholders initiatives, trade negotiations, development cooperation and so on .

In conclusion, an inclusive and harmonized EU strategy for fair and sustainable textile has great potential to contribute to the commitments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, and the beginning of the new legislative term for the Commission is the best moment to make it a priority of the European Green Deal.

Read the Paper here.


Mikkel Kofod Nørgård | Junior Project Officer at WFTO-Europe | Tel: +32 2 640 63 86