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So far the initiatives and frameworks that exist are voluntary on behalf of companies, organizations or institutions; which in reality do not have a wide reach in the industry. Moving towards sustainability requires governmental efforts, as well as sanctions, to have the capacity to demand collective objectives in fashion. Common guidelines, addressed to all equally, are required to promote a structural balance. This allows for less flexibility in the industry to commit improper procedures and conflicts.
On March 30, 2022, the European Commission worked on a proposal to regulate the conditions for products on the European market. The main objective is to reduce the negative impacts of products's life cycle. In order to make them fully sustainable, without generating unnecessary adverse consequences. This regulation also promotes according to its industrial policy, the supply and demand of sustainable goods, along with creating a sustainable culture in consumers for regional improvement.
Moreover, the proposal is focused on upgrading production processes. It consists of harmonized steps to make the market efficient. From customs controls to risk analysis, the eco design approach is based on the creation of products taking into account circularity and sustainability. Some of the most important aspects to be promoted are durability, reusability, upgradability and reparability, presence of substances of concern, resource and energy efficiency, recycled content, product remanufacturing, carbon and environmental footprints.
Thanks to this regulation, the European Union with a common perspective is closer to achieving its environmental, climate and energy objectives. This proposal works with other regulations such as the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Commission's 2020 industrial strategy for Europe, etc.
The Commission is also proposing several amendments to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive(UCPD). First, the list of product characteristics about which a trader cannot mislead consumers is expanded to cover the environmental or social impact, as well as the durability and reparability.
NEW YORK FASHION ACT
As an initiative of the Consumer Protection Committee, a bill to hold fashion brands accountable is in the process of being passed in the United States. It requires fashion sellers to account to standardized environmental and social policies. This would be the first state to obtain regulation of global apparel and footwear companies with more than $100 million in revenues.
It also intends to implement a remediation fund to encourage environmental and labor projects that directly benefit the workers and communities that are part of the industry. What the law specifically demands is:
NEW YORK FASHION WORKERS ACT
In conjunction with the above bill, during New York Fashion Week, Sara Ziff of the Model Alliance joined Senator Brad Hoylman and the models Karen Elson and Teddy Quinlivan to announce legislation to protect workers in the industry. It seeks to regulate management and boost labor protections for models, stylists, hair and makeup artists, influencers, volunteers and many more.
This law pushes companies to end unfair actions that constantly arise. For example, eliminate unfair model salaries, end unfair contracts, discontinue predatory fees, stop overcharging for services and even prevent human trafficking in modeling. As many know, getting involved in this industry is complicated, therefore this proposal tries to decrease possible obstacles and damages on people.
COALITION OF CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Latin America and the Caribbean are also regions that are responding to the climate emergency. Within the framework of COP27, the countries Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Peru, as the steering committee of the organization, have established a new action plan. Over a period of time until 2030, it is proposed to cooperate in circular initiatives with a multi-sectoral approach. The main purpose is to increase people's awareness of the circular economy.
Although this regulation itself does not deal with the fashion industry, within its plan it focuses on key sectors which include plastics, industrial and textile. Some of the actions planned are: investing in research, providing technical support, creating innovation centers, providing assistance and training, as well as developing public policies on sustainable consumption and production. In the end, this is an initiative that was created in parallel with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. On the basic pillars of economy, society and environment.
PROPOSAL FOR A DIRECTIVE ON CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY DUE DILIGENCE
In February 2022, the European Commission issued a new regulation to reinforce sustainable and responsible corporate behavior, as well as to protect human rights and the environment in company operations. The proposal is divided into different requirements for citizens, companies and developed countries.
The directive establishes that there must dentifying, bringing to an end, preventing, mitigating and accounting for negative human rights and environmental impacts in the company's own operations. Taking into account their value chains, they must also work on the basis of the Paris Agreement to keep global temperatures at 1.5° Celsius. Here the role of the directors is key because they must be in charge of overseeing the implementation of the due diligence processes and integrating it into the corporate strategy.
This proposal has a compliance system where the rules will be supervised by two means. First, through administration by the member states, an authority will be designated to supervise and impose effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, including compliance orders (creating a European Network of Supervisory Authorities). And second, through civil liability member states will ensure that victims get compensation for damages resulting from the failure to comply the obligations of the new proposals.
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