Policy Initiatives for Smart Material Choices

Explore how Smart Material Choices are being incentivised by policy initiatives.

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Global Fashion Agenda proactively advocates for policy changes and supportive measures that reinforce sustainability targets and prompt policymakers to take informed action to foster necessary change. The GFA Monitor report is built on five sustainability priorities and outlines the opportunities and actions required for fashion brands and retailers to shift to a net positive fashion industry by 2050. As outlined in the report, greater transparency and traceability for the promotion of smart material choices is a core policy priority.

The sourcing and production of fibres and materials used by the fashion industry puts substantial pressure on natural resources and comes with implications for water, energy, and land use, as well as emissions and waste. To align textile fibre and material production with the 1.5-degree pathway and goals pertaining to soil health, biodiversity, and water conservation, players across the value cycle – from growers and suppliers to fashion brands and retailers – should jointly pursue a holistic approach to the industry’s use of materials.

  • As such, the European Commission is looking into mechanisms to integrate them in the design of clothing under the Regulation on Ecodesign for Sustainable Products proposed on 30 March 2022. Following its adoption by the European Parliament and the Council, the regulation could, for instance, introduce a Digital Product Passport for textiles based on mandatory information requirements. As highlighted in the Policy Hub’s position paper on Digital Product Passport, digital product passports will be important in contributing to the digitisation of product information. GFA -in the framework of the Policy Hub- is engaging with the European Parliament and the Council who are currently negotiating the final text. We envision the Regulation to become applicable as of 2026. The horizontal framework provided by the regulation will be complemented by product specific requirements that will also cover textiles.


Aware of the importance of consumer-friendly and consistent information, the European Commission has also issued:


The promotion of innovative materials is also included as part of the EU Textiles Strategy which further outlines that Member States also play a key role in providing support to research, innovation and investments in this regard.

Lastly, at COP26, Textile Exchange and over 50 industry signatories led a “call to governments” to request for trade policy to incentivise the use of environmentally preferred materials in the apparel industry. The request calls for preferential tariffs on materials like organic cotton and recycled fibres. Work has been ongoing to determine the most effective policy strategy and partnerships in this area.


Global Fashion Agenda is one of the five members of the Steering Committee of the Policy Hub – Circularity for Apparel and Footwear. Our position papers and related advocacy actions can be found at www.policyhub.org


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