Sewing the pieces together: Towards an EU strategy for fair and sustainable textiles

The think tank ECDPM has been commissioned by Oxfam-Magasins du monde, the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office with the task of developing a comprehensive study on the textile supply chains.  Sewing the pieces together: Towards an EU strategy for fair and sustainable textiles, is a research paper which assesses the available options for the EU to put in place an ambitious and integrated EU strategy in support of fair and sustainable textile supply chains.

The textile industry, which employs millions of people worldwide, is typically characterised by poor working conditions and workers’ rights violations. In parallel, there is a growing concern about the environmental impacts associated with textile production and consumption. Although the EU has put policy measures in place to address the challenges of the global textile supply chains, it needs to step up efforts in a coherent way.

In essence, a comprehensive commission-wide approach is still lacking, and this report offers us insights on the policy options for an integrated and ambitious EU strategy to support sustainable textile value chains. It assesses the benefits and disadvantages of various policy areas, while also looking into the ways in which different instruments can complement each other and work coherently.

In particular, the paper evaluates policy measures related to market access, product labelling, public procurement, extended producer responsibility, voluntary multi-stakeholder initiatives, due diligence legislation and development cooperation.

This options paper offers yet another set of arguments for the urgent need for a comprehensive EU Strategy on the textile supply chain. Civil society has been calling for such a strategy for years, and this call has been echoed by the European Parliament through its 2017 Resolution on the EU flagship initiative on the garment sector (2016/2140(INI)). This options paper brings us one step closer to having a tangible proposal on the table.

Read the paper