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EU Publishes Proposal for a Sustainability - What Does This Mean for Fashion?

EU Publishes Proposal for a Sustainability - What Does This Mean for Fashion?

By Imogen Berrington


Behind the shiny guise of a new item of clothing, there is a long chain. This chain is called the fashion supply chain. The fashion supply chain is the often forgotten journey behind an item of clothing, it includes the sourcing of raw materials, the factories which produce the garments and the distribution network used to connect us consumers with the garments.


suply chain fashion problems

When brands are open and honest about the story behind their clothes, we as consumers and fashion lovers can trace the garments journey all the way back to its beginning. This empowers us as consumers to acknowledge the lives of those along the supply chain. However, an honest supply chain is much easier said than done.


The harsh reality about many fashion supply chains is that they are complicated and are often far from transparent. This is where the EU commission steps in with their proposal for a corporate sustainability due diligence law. First announced in April 2020, this proposal has been long awaited, and on 23rd February, it was finally published.


supply chain fashion industry errors

This crucial proposal signals that companies cannot continue with their unethical and unsustainable practices. It calls for a corporate due diligence and accountability law which requires companies to adopt responsible behaviour within their supply chains.


Now stick with me as I go through who this proposal actually applies to. The EU may have put this proposal into action, but it is set to impact both EU companies and non-EU companies. This is because, the due diligence obligations would apply to EU companies with more than 500 employees and a net worldwide turnover exceeding 150 million euros. As well as non-EU companies with a net turnover, in the EU, exceeding 150 million euros in the financial year preceding the last financial year. These obligations will apply two years from the date the proposal is enforced.


waste from fashion industry 2022

These are not the only companies subject to these revolutionary laws. Four years after the law is approved, EU companies with more than 250 employees on average and a net worldwide turnover exceeding 40 Million euros will also need to conform to these laws. Provided that at least 50% of their net turnover was generated in one or more of the manufacture or wholesale of textiles, agriculture or the extraction of mineral resources and, metal products and the wholesale trade of mineral resources.


In this same four-year period, non-EU companies with a net turnover in the EU of between 40 million euros and 150 euros of which at least 50% was generated in on or more of the sectors mentioned above will also be subject to this law. Once approved, it is just a matter of time before it is set into action.


For this proposal to be set in stone, it will go through the EU’s legislative procedure which means that there will be an agreement on the final text by the Commission, Parliament and Council. It is when this is passed that the law will make an impact on a global scale.


Looking at the fashion industry, this proposal will stand up for human rights and the planet. By questioning the fashion brands at the top, risks that are rife amongst their unethical fashion supply chains will be exposed and removed.


save garments workers

This proposal has the chance to change the fashion industry and the way clothes are made. If this proposal is accepted, people and the planet will be put before profit; this is the opposite of the current fast-fashion industry which many unfortunately have become accustomed to.