Every type of fiber should receive an equitable environmental assessment. In order to accomplish this goal, rating methodologies must address any inherent prejudice against natural fibers, as emphasized by the International Wool Textile Organization during their input into the upcoming European legislation in a consultation with lawmakers. The stakes are high: the risk of losing credibility with consumers.
Although a standardized method for evaluating the environmental impact of products is desirable, it is essential that the system is both significant and precise. Only then can it fulfil its purpose of correctly identifying genuinely sustainable products, as underscored by IWTO.
IWTO responded to a consultation that was part of a wider initiative being developed by the European Commission. The initiative will lead to legislation on the environmental claims companies will be allowed to make about their products and services.
Ensuring a level playing field for natural fibres
The wool industry has been proactive in identifying the limitations of current environmental assessment methods. Research led by the industry led to a peer-reviewed publication in the journal Sustainability proposing pathways for resolving these limitations. Constructive solutions such as these help ensure a level playing field for both natural and synthetic fibres.
The wool industry is currently active in developing Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology for apparel and footwear in Europe. The goal is to ensure a robust and meaningful scoring for wool clothing.
While moving in the right direction, the PEF for apparel and footwear is still a long way from market ready. In responding to the call for input on green claims, IWTO identified four key limitations of the current model:
- Accounting for renewable raw materials
- Overlooking microplastics
- Trade barrier risks associated with the PEF methodology
- The choice of methods for global warming assessment is inconsistent with global accounting requirements under the UNFCCC.
Read IWTO’s complete response to the consultation here.
Wool Has a Role in Sustainable Fashion
Around the world, people are rethinking how products, including clothing, are made and disposed of. The fashion industry is moving towards reusing and recycling instead of blithely consuming more and more of the planet’s resources. Mindsets are shifting towards sustainable materials. Wool is a wonderful option that deserves to be given a fair chance.
Learn more about wool’s sustainability. Check out one of our Fact Sheets or Wool Notes – a guide to all things wool. And reach out to us if you have more questions!