France plans major moves against fast fashion

France plans major moves against fast fashion

France plans major moves against fast fashion

March 29, 2024

Category: GARMENTS

Country: France

Region: Europe

Surcharge linked to ecological footprint of €5 an item is planned from next year if bill passes.


By Innovation in Textiles
19th March 2024

France: The French lower house of parliament has voted unanimously in favour of a bill to crack down on fast fashion, with a ban on adverts and the imposition of penalties on low-cost clothing to cover environmental impact being proposed.

The bill, tabled by MP Anne-Cécile Violland, will now pass to the French Senate for a further vote.

If approved, a surcharge linked to fast fashion’s ecological footprint of €5 an item is planned from as early as next year, rising to €10 by 2030.

Violland said the proceeds from the charge would be used to subsidise producers of sustainable clothes, allowing them to compete more easily.

“I am delighted with this major breakthrough,” posted the nation’s Minister of Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu on X. “A big step has been taken to reduce the environmental footprint of the textile sector. Ultra fast fashion is an ecological disaster – clothes are poorly made, widely purchased, rarely worn and quickly thrown away.”

The proposal takes specific aim at fast fashion retailer Shein.

“Shein offers 900 times more products than a traditional French brand brand releasing more than 7,200 new models of clothing per day, with a total of 470,000 different products available overall,” it states. “This enables it to achieve vast economies of sale and charge ever lower prices.”

“This in turn forces European fashion brands to increase their output in order to compete and a high turnover of cheap fashion items influences consumer purchasing habits by creating purchasing impulses and the constant need for renewal, with negative environmental, social and economic consequences.”

France has had an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for waste clothing and footwear in operation since 2008, under which manufacturers pay annual fees for its collection and sorting.

The European Commission’s Textiles Strategy is mandating the separate collection of  textile waste Europe-wide from next year, so it’s interesting to note how the French scheme has progressed.

What’s immediately apparent, is that it is extremely complex, with so many companies and institutions involved, so many factors that have to be taken into account and the complicated calculations that are necessary, and in many cases have to be approximated.

There are, for instance, now 47,406 voluntary waste clothing drop-off points which are being overseen by 583 local authorities across France, and 67 separate sorting companies with differing technologies involved in dealing with the waste as part of the EPR scheme.

Meanwhile, 6,087 participating manufacturing companies made declarations to the scheme in 2022, with 4,354 registered as putting less than 5,000 items on the market and 1,733 companies who produced more than 5,000.

Paris-headquartered Refashion was created solely to manage the scheme, and is accredited by the French authorities and governed by 29 manufacturers and brands and three industry federations.

In the last clear indication of the annual overall cost of the scheme to industry, Refashion reports that in 2021 some 4,351 companies paid in €71.44 per ton of waste, based on an estimated 715,290 tons of items put on the market, which equates to fees of over €51 million.


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