Clothing imports to the EU: Achieving sustainability & transparency in the supply chain
Clothes contribute more to climate change than international flights and shipping combined. Producing raw materials - from cotton to artificial fibers - as well as spinning, weaving and dyeing require enormous amounts of water and chemicals that can end up untreated in our water systems.
And ‘fast fashion’ is driving up the sector’s environmental footprint as it contributes to an increased tendency to see clothing as disposable. Europeans have almost doubled the size of their wardrobes over the past 15 years, with a significant proportion largely unused, according to a recent European Parliament report.
The EU’s retail clothing sector sources textiles and clothes from all over the world. In addition to sourcing at the most competitive rates, they must also consider how industries, such as cotton production, are regulated in different countries, both in terms of the environment and international labour standards.
Two-thirds of consumers say sustainability is extremely or very important, according to a recent fashion industry report. About a third say they have switched brands to those with positive environmental and social practices.
EURACTIV invites you to this high-level event to discuss the balance retailers must achieve when sourcing textiles and clothes. Questions will include:
- As industry schemes are currently voluntary, should the European Commission put forward legislative plans to reduce the fashion industry's environmental impact?
- Should the new Commission develop a European ‘textiles strategy’ to tackle recyclability?
- Can policies banning hazardous substances used to process and dye fibres be effective in reducing demand for fast fashion and waste generation?
- What role for consumers? Will environmentally-conscious shoppers put pressure on retailers to ensure more sustainable sourcing?
*Special guest participants from Uzbekistan: Uzbek Minister of Labour; President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan; Chair of the Association of Textile Producers of Uzbekistan.
EURACTIV Network Office
Boulevard Charlemagne 1, 1041 Brussels
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Adkham Ikramov, Chairman of the Chamber of Trade and Industry of Uzbekistan
Madelaine Tuininga, Head of Unit, Trade and Sustainable Development, Generalized System of Preferences, DG TRADE, European Commission
Mauro Scalia, Director for Sustainable Businesses, European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX)
Andrew Stroehlein, European Media Director, Human Rights Watch
12:00 – 12:30 Registration
12:30 – 13:10 Panellists statements
13:10 – 14:00 Discussion and Q&A
14:00 – 15:00 Networking Cocktail including delicacies from
+32 (0) 2 788 36 93
Eradication of child labour through higher standards and better enforcement of trade deals is a priority of the new European Commission, whose representative told a EURACTIV event there have been "significant developments" in sustainability and transparency in the textile industry, one of the sectors most associated with child labour.