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EuroCommerce feedback accompanying the answers to the questionnaire of the public consultation on the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles

In the new Circular Economy Action Plan the Commission announced that a dedicated EU strategy for textiles is planned for 2021. We welcome that the Commission is working on a comprehensive strategy dedicated to all textiles and EuroCommerce would like to express that our sector wants to be part of the future dialogue towards a systematic and positive change in the textile ecosystem. We encourage the EU Commission to continue the closest collaboration with retailers and wholesalers in the further materialization of the EU Strategy for Textiles as clarified in the roadmap.  

As described in the Commission’s Annual Single Market Report 2021 from May 2021, that accompanied the update to the 2020 EU Industrial Strategy, the Retail Ecosystem and the Textile Ecosystem are two separate, but linked industrial ecosystems, because textile retail is one of the biggest subcategories of retailers and the shutdown of retail outlets also impacted the textile producers. Therefore, the Commission needs to differ between retailers and wholesalers and producers within the EU Textile Strategy, because not all retailers and wholesalers have a direct influence of how the products they sell are produced. This distinction is often missing in the questionnaire and should be taken into account in the final strategy.   

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current socio-economic context this initiative is needed more than ever. With the closure of non-essential retail, the very low in footfall in town centres, and the dramatic loss of consumer confidence, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a severe economic impact on the whole textile and fashion supply chain.

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Farm to Fork – sustainable food needs commitment of everyone in the supply chain

The European Parliament agriculture and environment committees are today finalising their joint report on the Farm to Fork strategy.  EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren commented:

Our sector has for many years driven sustainable practices, working with suppliers, for example on organic production and other quality standards, and creating a market for farmers and expanding choice for consumers. I am therefore happy to restate today our readiness to contribute to sustainable food systems under the Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy. The Covid crisis has shown that retail and wholesale is an essential sector, ensuring efficient distribution of daily essentials to consumers. We also work hard to do so in a sustainable way and in promoting healthy lifestyles. A wide range of actions already initiated by retailers and wholesalers can be seen from our website #sustainablecommerce.

In a consumer survey as part of the joint McKinsey/EuroCommerce report on the State of Grocery Retail released earlier this year, 50% of consumers said that they planned to buy more healthy, local or environmentally-friendly foods this year, but 26% wanted both to save money on groceries and move towards sustainable lifestyles. This is a clear message to retail and wholesale to work with farmers and the whole supply chain to continue to increase the supply of sustainably-produced, affordable food.

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