Committee: Producer responsibility should result in more sustainable textiles

A key objective of introducing producer responsibility is to reduce the large volumes of clothing and textiles that are consumed in the Nordic Region.

The fashion and textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. An analysis by the Nordic Council of Ministers has found that the sector accounts for between 8 and 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that those living in the Nordics consume more textiles than the annual international average.

The proposal from the Committee for a Sustainable Nordic Region is in line with the EU’s plans. In the long term, common principles for producer responsibility on textiles are expected to become mandatory in the EU and EEA countries.

For many years, the focus in the Nordic countries has been on creating a sustainable textile industry. With this proposal, the committee wants the Nordic Region to continue to lead the way.

“If we agree on common principles for textile producers, we can create better conditions for the circular use of textiles in the Nordic Region. We can reduce the overall environmental impact and also support sustainable production of quality textiles in our region,” says Tove Elise Madland, chair of the committee.

Better conditions for sustainable materials

Through this proposal, the committee is aiming to establish better conditions for more sustainable textile qualities such as wool and leather produced in the Nordic Region, and reduce the use of lightweight plastic-based fibres like nylon, polyester, and acrylic.

The rapid growth of the textile industry is largely based on synthetic fibres, which according to the UN, accounted for less than 20 percent of global fibre production 20 years ago to now account for 62 percent.

Ensuring fair competition

One purpose of the proposal is for the small Nordic markets to collectively play a bigger role in pushing the textile industry in a more sustainable direction.

Producer responsibility also includes private clothing imports via e-commerce, which is intended to lead to fairer competition for Nordic textile production. The proposal also intends to address the issue of textile waste being exported to low-income countries outside the EU, where it ends up in large landfill sites.

The proposal will now proceed to the so-called Theme Session on 8 and 9 April, where it will be considered by the entire Nordic Council. If the proposal is approved there, it’ll become a recommendation to the Nordic governments.

The proposal originates from the Conservative Group in the Nordic Council.