SBS commends European Commission initiative to develop an EU strategy for sustainable textiles

SBS commends European Commission initiative to develop an EU strategy for sustainable textiles

SBS commends European Commission initiative to develop an EU strategy for sustainable textiles

Brussels, 3 February 2021 – Small Business Standards (SBS), the association representing European Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in standardisation, supports the European Commission’s initiative to develop an EU strategy for the sustainable recovery of the European textile industry, a resource-intensive sector of 160000 companies, most of which are SMEs, that have suffered significantly from the current sanitary crisis.

Recognising the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industrial ecosystem for textiles in the EU, the European Commission earlier this year published a roadmap for the future EU strategy for sustainable textiles. The aim is to develop a “comprehensive framework to create conditions and incentives to boost the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of the EU textile sector”.

Welcoming the Commission’s initiative, SBS Director Maitane Olabarria commented: “SBS is pleased to contribute to the development of this strategy as it sees a great development opportunity for companies, especially for SMEs which make up an important part of the textile and textile care sector in Europe.”

According to SBS, the future strategy should incentivise the “product-as-a-service” principle and inclusion of circularity in public procurement. Textile care, a SME driven sector that has adopted sustainable business models, is a good example to illustrate this. Local and regional players – laundries and dry-cleaning companies – are key to provide all sorts of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other clothing and textiles reprocessed on a regular basis. Fostering the reprocessability and repairability of textiles would support this sector and thereby ensure the local supply of PPE clothing and textiles while saving resources.

Furthermore, to boost reuse within the textile production, it is necessary to create a European regulation that integrates the “end-of-waste” criteria to encourage designers to use recycled raw materials and simplify recycling operations at the end of the products’ life.

Finally, SBS underlines the importance of considering the key role of standards in the future strategy. Through their guiding role in establishing the required specifications for reuse, reprocessing, repairability, recyclability and quality of secondary raw materials, standards have the potential to drive a shift in the production chains towards products which are designed for circular use.

A public consultation is expected during the first quarter of 2021 and the Commission’s adoption of the strategy is expected later in the year.


Views and opinions expressed are those of Small Business Standards (SBS) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EFTA. Neither the European Union nor EFTA can be held responsible for them.