The Euratex textile industry trade body of the EU has unveiled a manifesto of actions it desires from the European Union (EU) to ensure the sector remains competitive amidst growing demands for sustainability.
The manifesto asks for financial incentives and standard requirements for innovative new sustainable textile products because they often carry a price premium as they are scaled up.
The wish list was published by Euratex ahead of next June’s European Parliament elections. It reminded policymakers that Europe’s textile and apparel industry accounts for 192,000 companies employing 1.3 million workers with a turnover of €167 billion and over €67 billion of exports.
It states that sustainable textile products typically come at a premium price, making it difficult for many consumers and buyers to purchase such products. Public authorities should also implement green public procurements by increasing the importance of sustainability criteria in their evaluation grids.
Euratex urged the industry and policymakers to work together on a mix of coherent policy measures and initiatives to offer a transparent and predictable framework to help make companies more resilient and competitive.
It urged developing a “smart” EU industrial policy to enhance competitiveness instead of creating administrative burdens and to promote education, jobs, and innovation while providing access to sustainable energy at lower prices.
There is a need for more coherence in the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles, which currently includes no less than 16 regulatory proposals, each with a different timetable and managed by different departments of the European Commission.
The EU should ensure free and fair trade for the industry to thrive. All trade agreements should offer adequate market access for EU companies and a level playing field in these markets.
Euratex president Alberto Paccanelli commented: “These elections are a turning point for the future of Europe and its industrial base. While some regions of the world are already taking measures to support their industry, Europe has been lagging. We now need a clear vision for a greener and wealthier future.