The apparel and footwear industry proposes green recovery measures to the European authorities

Global Fashion Agenda — Mobilising the fashion system to change

17 June 2020
Key apparel and footwear organisations come together to present a new proposal for a Green Recovery Plan for Europe. The Policy Hub, a joint effort of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) and Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), recently published a proposal that outlines seven key principles necessary fora green recovery for the entire industry. The proposal was developed in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the global economy. The apparel, textile and footwear industry is no exception. This crisis coincides with sustainability programs and commitments have increasingly becoming the industry norm and steps towards achieving a circular economy and carbon neutrality are taken,” said Baptiste Carriere-Pradal, Chair of the Policy Hub. “Shifting the economy to a more circular one requires all hands on deck and is a collaborative effort by citizens, industry and policymakers who can build upon both existing commitments and new initiatives together.”

The proposal follows the European Commission’s recently issued recovery plan and the Policy Hub suggests that EU authorities and Member States consider the seven key principles as they move toward implementing the EU Recovery Plan.These key principles should serve as a roadmap to ensure economic recovery while also driving the development towards a circular economy:

Short-term measures (next 12 months):

  1. Leveraging short-term government support to drive green engagement and commitments such as through conditional loans;
  2. Providing tailored support for companies linked to the circular economy, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises potentially through increased EU funding to support re-skilling;
  3. Encouraging a shift in demand towards greener choices and circularity through potential incentives for VAT reduction for circular business models.

Medium to long-term measures (within 5 years):

Supporting innovative low-carbon activities in accelerating renewable energy market in Europe:

  1. Accelerating circularity by helping to scale up technologies and to establish infrastructure for collection, sorting, reuse and high-value recycling for example through harmonising end-of-waste criteria;
  2. Fostering circular design and a more sustainable material mix, by defining what a circular and sustainable products is;
  3. Incentivising increased transparency to accelerate the transition towards circularity and empowering the consumer for example through a public-private partnership to provide technological infrastructure.
Amina Razvi
Amina Razvi

“The seven key principles the Policy Hub has developed offer a strong foundation for the development of the EU Green Economic Recovery Plan. Based on industry expertise, these short and medium-term measures can effectively guide a robust legislative agenda that drives true sustainable change. The measures, if enacted, will promote more resilient supply chains and help address the current crisis and the ongoing climate crisis,” said Amina Razvi, Executive Director of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

Jérôme Pero
Jérôme Pero

“As we look at how to stimulate the economy after the coronavirus pandemic, we must not lose sight of the continuing climate and ecological crisis”, declared Jérôme Pero, FESI Secretary General. “The proposed EU Green Economic Recovery Plan will provide specific assistance to textile companies in their transition to a climate-neutral economy. But achieving a green recovery also means empowering consumers: only together we will be able to build a low-carbon and sustainable European industry”.

Jonas Eder-Hansen

“Since 2017 GFA has worked with 12,5% of the global industry to accelerate circularity through the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment. Guided by ambitious target-setting, the industry has taken important steps towards achieving circularity. However, more companies are needed for this initiative to realise its goal—and the companies already committed must enhance their efforts. Policymakers have an important role to play and can take their cue by aligning with the seven key principles outlined in the proposal” said Jonas Eder-Hansen, Public Affairs Director at GFA.

The Policy Hub’s proposal, which can be viewed here, is based on inputs and discussions with the partners of the Policy Hub and their members—representative of more than 300 brands, retailers, manufacturers and other stakeholders. Key stakeholders assisted with the development of the proposal with additional inputs and reviews.