Upcoming Legislation in the EU Explained: The End of Fast Fashion?

Melissa Wijngaarden

Upcoming Legislation in the EU Explained: The End of Fast Fashion?

The EU is getting tired of the fast fashion industry and the effects it has on people and the environment. And so, they launched a set of rules to curb the negative impact businesses have on the environment and human rights. With all these headliners popping up, it may be hard to keep track; so we highlighted some of our favourites here. Missing one you would like to learn more about? Hit us up! We love to dive in!

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive: a unified reporting framework

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) isn’t necessarily targeted at the fashion industry, but many fast fashion companies need to comply. 

The CSRD is a unified reporting standard that requires companies to report on their environmental impact, social impact and governance structure. It’s an extension to existing legislation called NFRD, but introduces the double materiality concept. This means that companies are required to do a risk analysis on their impact on the environment and society and will pro-actively need to identify key metrics to improve. These topics need to be in line with the Paris Agreement. 

The first companies already need to start reporting over 2024 in 2025.

The Anti-Greenwashing and the Green Claims Directive: aimed to reduce greenwashing

The Green Claims Directive targets greenwashing. With 53% of green claims giving vague, misleading or unfounded information, the EU’s Green Claims Directive aims to make green claims reliable, comparable and verifiable.

The directive provides clear criteria on how companies should prove environmental claims and labels and requires them to verify claims with an independent and accredited verifier.

We could look at it as a Project Cece on steroids; with Project Cece we do an impact analysis to check what brands are actually doing in terms of sustainability. 

The Green Claims Directive is not yet implemented, but the proposal was adopted in March 2023. 

Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive: making companies responsible for their full supply chain

In Dutch, we call this the “Anti-wegkijkwet”, which would literally translate to the “Anti-look-away-law”. 

The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (also referred to as CSDDD and CS3D) requires companies to pro-actively take action on risks to the environment and human rights in their full supply chain

After a horrible plot twist in the last phase of the process which is usually just a formality, Germany and France significantly reduced the scope of the directive so it now will only apply to roughly 5000 companies. 

But, a win is a win, and making companies with an annual turnover of 450 million euro liable for misconduct in their full supply chain is still a huge win.


Digital Product Passports: full transparency & recycling made easier

As part of the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, a preliminary agreement was reached about Digital Product Passports. 

These Digital Product Passports would provide a single access point to all relevant information about a product. For consumers this could mean access to information of how to best take care of your item, for recyclers it could be to learn about the material composition and for regulators it could be to see if a company meets requirements implied by the CSDDD or Green Claims Directive.

The requirements of a DPP are yet to be set and will be communicated somewhere in 2024.

France’s Anti (Ultra) Fast Fashion Bill

In a landslide vote (unanimously), the French parliament voted for a bill targeted at reducing the negative effects of fast fashion and redistributing these funds to sustainable alternatives.

The bill will ban the advertising of fast fashion products and adds an economic penalty on fast fashion clothes. To make it economically more attractive to produce in an eco-friendly fashion, the bill puts fines of up to €10 per item sold on fashion items harming the planet and people.

The fine will be used to fund waste management, repairs and public awareness campaigns.

The bill still needs to pass the senate and it’s yet to be determined if it will be targeted at ultra fast fashion (SHEIN, Temu) only or if fast fashion will be included as well.

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