As one of Vietnam’s leading textile and garment export markets, the EU increasingly attaches importance to the development of a circular economy, minimizing environmental impacts, thereby providing specific regulations, more strict with imported goods. Textile and garment enterprises need to pay special attention to changes and respond flexibly to better exploit this market.
Moving from “soft law” to “hard law”
Recently, Sweden and seven other countries, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxemburg, Norway, Spain and Austria, signed a letter calling on the European Commission (EC) to set a time limit for dangerous chemicals. must be phased out from consumer products.
Sweden and these countries emphasize that products such as children’s items, toys, cosmetics, furniture and clothing are still allowed to contain chemicals that can be harmful to health, especially fetus and children. Therefore, the proposal for new regulations related to chemical control that the EC intends to introduce in early 2023 must include a broad ban on these substances to ensure the fullest protection.
Currently, the EU market is increasingly focusing on developing a circular economy. Ms. Nguyen Hoang Thuy, Head of the Vietnam Trade Office in Sweden, said: at the end of March 2022, the EC presented a proposal for the EU’s new Textile and Apparel Strategy. At the same time, the EC presented a revision of the Ecodesign Regulation, which aims to set out legal requirements for different product groups, including clothing and footwear. Textiles are one of the first product groups to comply with eco-design criteria, while the footwear industry must meet the requirements at a later stage.
In the EU, on average, textile consumption ranks fourth among industries with negative impacts on the environment and climate change; ranks third in water consumption and land use. Additionally, there is a tendency to use textiles for a very short time before throwing them away. “The EU has therefore changed its approach to sustainability challenges by moving away from “soft laws” such as international guidelines in favor of “hard laws” such as regulations and directives that legally binding,” Ms. Thuy said.
According to the Textile Strategy, products must be designed and manufactured to last longer, be repaired, and then reused. Ecodesign regulations also include the development of digital product passports, which in addition to the usual information must also inform consumers about chemical content, repairability and fiber composition. Product-specific information requirements will ensure consumers know the product’s impact on the environment when making a purchase.
The final ecodesign regulation must be approved by the European Parliament and Council, expected by the end of 2023, before the first criteria for other product groups are defined, expected in 2024.
“Going green” efforts
According to experts’ assessments, by 2030, textile products brought into the EU market must have a long life and be recyclable, be made mainly from recycled fibers, and not contain toxic and toxic substances. produced to meet social and environmental rights. Manufacturers must take responsibility for their products along the value chain, even when they become waste.
Vietnamese textiles and garments and footwear are two of the products and goods with relatively high export growth in the EU market recently. Therefore, Ms. Nguyen Hoang Thuy noted that textile, garment, and footwear enterprises need to research and innovate according to the above trends and regulations, and even have to “take shortcuts and get ahead” of trends in order to breakthrough exports.
In fact, before the EU market had new moves and stricter regulations, businesses in the textile and garment industry had also proactively raised awareness and made efforts towards a “green” production.
Mr. Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), said: the majority of Vietnamese textile and garment enterprises in the supply chain of the textile and garment industry processing for major brands have accepted requests for “greening”. ” in production, such as implementing social and environmental responsibilities and reducing emissions… Enterprises are also transforming production, meeting global commitments and legal requirements of the EU, typically the Law on Obligations The German Supply Chain Due Diligence (LkSG) comes into effect in 2023, requiring the identification, prevention, mitigation, and accountability of environmental and social risks throughout the supply chain.
Talking to Customs Magazine reporters, Mr. Than Duc Viet, General Director of Garment 10 Corporation shared: Garment 10 is a leading unit in the industry, reputable in the markets. With the “greening” program, on the one hand, businesses must always move towards world trends. Besides, businesses are also pressured by import customers when they demand standards for green factories, working environment for workers, reducing pollution emissions, reducing toxic waste…
“Currently, the entire system of Garment 10 factory for export meets customer requirements. However, with some new certifications, May 10 is also striving. In addition to the green factory story, another factor that must be mentioned is green materials. Currently, many customers require May 10 to use materials of natural origin, recycled materials so as not to exploit many resources and after only being used, they will only decompose after 5-10 years. That’s what May 10 is focusing a lot on,” Mr. Than Duc Viet emphasized.
Similarly, Mr. Vuong Duc Anh, Chief of Office of the Board of Directors, Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) added: Textile and garment enterprises also have to spend a lot of investment costs to meet the requirements of “greening”. ” textiles such as investing in rooftop electricity, investing in water saving systems or reusing water in factories. In particular, for manufacturers making jeans or textile dyeing houses, businesses will have to ensure that chemicals are used safely, have wastewater treatment processes, and maximize water savings…