The EU’s new ecodesign regulation introduces new requirements for apparel products such as product durability, reusability, upgradability and reparability as well as a direct ban on the destruction of unsold textiles and footwear.

The aim is to incentivise the public purchase of green products, however in the short-term SMEs will not be included.

The EU Commission explained it will be empowered to introduce similar bans for other products in the future and it will be aligned to the digital services act, when it comes to products sold online.

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy and Employment Pierre-Yves Dermagne added: “With the ecodesign regulation we create the right incentives for the industry to think circular from the very design conception of the products they plan to produce and sell in the EU.”

The ecodesign regulation also includes rules on the presence of substances that inhibit circularity; energy and resource efficiency; recycled content, remanufacturing and recycling; carbon and environmental footprints. Plus, it requires information such as the Digital Product Passport.

The EU Commission will be able to set ecodesign requirements by delegated acts and the apparel industry will have 18 months to comply with them.

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Following the Council’s approval, the legislative act has been adopted. After being signed by the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council, the regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force on the 20th day following that of its publication. It will apply from 24 months after the entry into force.

The European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation in December and said at the time that it promised to redefine product standards and make sustainable products the “new norm” in the EU.

Apparel company filings data published by GlobalData suggests that apparel ESG mentions in company reports has declined over the last year, despite the EU’s push for more ESG-based legislation.

Decline of apparel company filing mentions of ESG between 2023 and 2024

Credit: GlobalData

It showed most companies reported apparel ESG in their Q3 2023 reports, however it was of least interest in Q1 2024.

US fashion brand Guess Inc. saw the greatest decline in apparel ESG mentions with 18 in its Q2 2023 filings and only one by Q2 2024.