Canada’s wool industry supports Make the Label Count

Canada’s wool industry supports Make the Label Count
Aug 05, 2022

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The Make the Label Count campaign challenges the European Commission’s product environmental footprint.

By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Image by Reijo Telaranta from Pixabay

The Canadian Wool Council has stated that it is adding its support to the global Make the Label Count campaign to challenge the European Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) Methodology.

At its recent 2022 Global Congress, the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) discussed a need to support Make the Label Count, asking the global wool industry to bring attention to the potentially devastating effect the Europen Commission’s PEF will have on the industry’s wool demand.   

The PEF evaluates the environmental impact of all products in circulation in the European Union including textiles. But, the Make the Label Count campaign has identified three significant shortcomings in the methodology’s ability to evaluate wool and other natural fibres:

  1. The PEF system does not currently consider microplastics. Omitting microplastics as an indicator effectively assigns zero impacts to this form of emissions, which risks unintentionally guiding consumers towards plastic products and fibres, As such, the system does not align with the CEAP, the Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, the Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles or the EU Strategy for Textiles Roadmap.;
  2. The PEF system does not currently include plastic waste. An increase in consumption of synthetic fibres has been accompanied by an increase in the mass of plastic waste originating from the textile supply chain. The absence of plastic waste in the PEF methodology has the potential to contribute to an inequitable comparison of natural and synthetic fibres. Again, the system does not align with the CEAP or the Packaging Directive;
  3. The PEF system does not currently account for the renewability or biodegradability of fibres. This means that synthetic fibres—made from non-renewable resources and disposed of in landfill—may be scored as more sustainable than natural or recycled fibres. The system does not align with the CEAP or the Bioeconomy Strategy.   

The European Commission’s PEF is placing synthetic fibres and natural fibres on a level playing field by not acknowledging that synthetic fibres are derived from petrochemical, non-renewable, non-biodegradable plastics.

The Canadian Wool Council and others want to ensure fairness in the labelling benefits of all natural fibre producers and help prevent corporate greenwashing.
Make the Label Count has produced a whitepaper to address these concerns with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and has asked the IWTO members to assist in bringing awareness of the disastrous impact this evaluation could have on the global wool industry.

This movement is important to Canadian sheep and wool producers.

To increase demand for wool and justify better wool prices for producers, the public must appreciate all of wool’s environmental benefits.

The European Community’s decisions often inform policy in other countries, so having such a large group of players discussing sustainability legislation will benefit the global industry in the long run.

“Giving consumers the full picture is crucial to making sustainable buying decisions and avoiding corporate greenwashing,” stated Matthew Rowe, the Canadian Wool Council Chief Executive Officer. “Canada’s wool industry is therefore pleased to add our support to the Make the Label Count Campaign.”

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