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Laws and regulations for upholstery fabrics and textile recycling

Laws and regulations concerning upholstery fabrics play a crucial role in production, sales, and textile recycling. It is of utmost importance for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to be aware of these regulations to ensure that upholstery textiles are safe and sustainable. Global agreements have been established to promote sustainable business practices and facilitate a sustainable transition, aiming to prevent further global warming.

Contributing to sustainable business with the Paris Agreement

The most comprehensive agreement is the Paris Agreement, which was the first treaty aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius by 2015. This agreement provides a framework for countries to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

A more sustainable economy with the European Green Deal

Building on this foundation, Europe has introduced the European Green Deal, a comprehensive package of policy measures and initiatives by the European Union to address climate change and create a more sustainable economy. The Green Deal aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, involving measures such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable land and forestry practices.

A new strategy for sustainable textile production

To realize the overarching goals of the European Union, the Climate Law was introduced. By 2030, net greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 55% compared to 1990 levels. Recently, a strategy for sustainable textiles was launched, encompassing a series of targeted measures and initiatives to reduce the impact of the textile industry on the environment and society. This strategy benefits not only the textile industry but also offers numerous advantages to end consumers, including high-quality and affordable textiles. But how can this strategy be implemented? Here are a few tips:

Sustainable upholstery fabrics

Prioritize the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, such as organic cotton, recycled fibers, and other sustainable alternatives. Encourage suppliers and producers to utilize materials with a lower ecological footprint.

Environmentally friendly production processes

Implement technologies and methods to reduce the environmental impact of production processes. Decrease water and energy consumption, minimize waste, and reduce the use of harmful chemicals.

Circular economy

Promote the design of products for extended lifecycles, easy repair and dismantling, and encourage the reuse and recycling of materials. Support the development of circular business models and the collection and recycling of used clothing.

Transparency and traceability

Establish a transparent supply chain by disclosing information about production processes, suppliers, and materials used. Ensure traceability of raw materials to verify the origin and sustainability of products.

Certification and standards for upholstery fabrics

Encourage the use of recognized sustainability certifications, such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), GRS (Global Recycled Standard), and OEKO-TEX. These certifications assure consumers that products meet sustainability standards.

Ethical labor conditions

Ensure fair labor conditions in the textile industry, both in production locations and throughout the supply chain. Support initiatives that promote social justice and labor rights.

Consumer awareness

Educate consumers about sustainable textile choices and the impact of their purchasing behavior on the environment and society. Promote responsible consumption and sustainable entrepreneurship, as it begins with business owners.

Collaboration and partnerships

Work with stakeholders, including brands, manufacturers, NGOs, governments, and industry organizations, to achieve shared sustainability goals. Collaboration can lead to greater impact and broader change within the sector.

Research and innovation

Invest in research and innovation to develop new sustainable materials, production methods, and technologies. Stay informed about new developments in sustainable textile innovation.

Monitoring and evaluation

Set measurable goals and indicators to evaluate the progress and effectiveness of the sustainable textile strategy. Adjust the strategy as needed to encourage continuous improvement.

Achieving a sustainable textile industry through collaboration

By adopting an integrated and holistic approach, businesses and governments can contribute to a more sustainable textile industry that benefits both the environment and society.

Future laws for the textile sector

In addition to the aforementioned important agreements and laws, there are other matters that do not yet apply to the textile sector, but we anticipate they will in the future. One imminent responsibility in the Netherlands is the Textile EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility). It holds products and importers accountable for the entire life cycle of products, including the waste phase. The government’s objective is to promote reuse and recycling. Several sectors, such as mattresses, already operate under EPR. While it currently does not apply to upholstery fabrics, FABRAA is already considering this responsibility. We continue to explore the best possibilities for textile recycling and reducing the impact of upholstery fabrics.

Sustainable business practices in the future of upholstery fabrics

Furthermore, we also anticipate developments in sustainable business practices, specifically the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is a European Union directive aimed at improving the sustainability reporting practices of large companies. The directive was introduced in September 2021. It mandates companies to provide information on their environmental performance in their annual reports. This is intended to help stakeholders better understand a company’s sustainability practices and performance, enabling them to make more informed decisions. The requirement for public accountability and the implementation of improvement plans will significantly boost the transition to sustainability within businesses.

Guidelines for sustainable business practices

According to the directive, large companies must disclose ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) information in their annual financial reports. The disclosed information should cover management approach, performance, and the impact of the company, as well as the viability of its business model. The directive also encourages companies to utilize frameworks for sustainability reporting. Large companies are those that exceed threshold amounts for at least two of the following three criteria on the balance sheet date:

Total Balance: €20 million;

Net Turnover: €40 million

Average Number of Employees during the fiscal year: 250 FTE.

For large listed companies with over 500 employees, the mandatory CSRD reporting begins from the fiscal year 2024; for large non-listed companies, it begins from 2025. For small and medium-sized listed companies, the obligation is expected to commence from the fiscal year 2026.

Textile recycling in legislation

On the path to circular upholstery textiles, legislation is crucial. Clear rules regarding laws and regulations for upholstery textiles are important, as is the case with an imminent obligation we are currently awaiting: the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). PEF is a methodology used to assess the environmental impact of a product throughout its lifecycle, from raw material extraction to the end of its useful life. PEF measurements are based on a set of indicators that determine the ecological impact of a product in terms of climate change, resource use, land use, water consumption, air pollution, and environmental toxicity. The results of a PEF analysis can be used to compare and improve products and assist in making sustainable decisions across the supply chain and by consumers. The European Union is currently working on developing a harmonized European PEF method to ensure a unified approach. While this does not currently apply to our fabrics, it is only a matter of time before it becomes applicable to upholstery fabrics. This provides the furniture industry with an opportunity to reduce the impact of products.

Sustainable upholstery fabrics by FABRAA

In addition to these grand plans for a sustainable transition, there are also factors that provide you as a buyer with the opportunity to make an informed decision when purchasing sustainable fabric. FABRAA upholstery fabrics come with various certifications, test results, and labels to provide you as a buyer with the assurance of high-quality fabric. Equally important is the assurance regarding the use of recycled materials in the upholstery fabric. Nearly all fabrics in the FABRAA collection have a GRS certification. The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an independent third-party certification system that verifies the recycled content and supply chain integrity of products made from recycled materials in upholstery fabric. The GRS certification provides consumers and businesses with the assurance that the product is made from a certain minimum amount of recycled material and meets stringent social, environmental, and traceability requirements. The certificate helps promote the use of recycled materials in upholstery fabrics and encourages the development of circular textiles.

It is important for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to stay informed about relevant regulations to ensure that upholstery fabrics meet legal requirements and are safe and of good quality. In summary, laws and regulations regarding textile recycling and upholstery fabrics are of great importance to ensure that products are safe and sustainable.