All fibres deserve a fair environmental rating. To achieve this, rating methods must resolve inherent bias against natural fibres, the International Wool Textile Organisation has told lawmakers as part of a consultation on forthcoming European legislation. What’s at stake? Loss of credibility with consumers.
While a harmonised approach to measuring the environmental performance of products is desirable, the system must be meaningful and accurate. Only then will it have the intended result of identifying truly sustainable products, IWTO said.
IWTO responded to a consultation that was part of a wider initiative being developed by the European Commission. The initiative 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. Research led by the industry led to a peer-reviewed publication in the journal Sustainability proposing pathways for resolving these limitations. Constructive solutions such as these help ensure a level playing field for both natural and synthetic fibres.
The wool industry is currently active in developing Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology for apparel and footwear in Europe. The goal is to ensure a robust and meaningful scoring for wool clothing.
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 IWTO’s complete response to the consultation here.
Wool Has a Role in Sustainable Fashion
Around the world, people are rethinking how products, including clothing, are made and disposed of. The fashion industry is moving towards the reusing and recycling instead of blithely consuming more and more of the planet’s resources. Mindsets are shifting towards sustainable materials. Wool is a wonderful option that deserves to be given a fair chance.
Source: IWTO, press release, 2020-09-24.