World Footwear


Global alliance calls for the digital modernisation of labelling requirements

Jul 12, 2023 World
Global alliance calls for the digital modernisation of labelling requirements
A coalition of 130 organizations representing the fashion industry from around the world is pushing for the modernisation of labelling requirements to enable a reduction in waste and greater consumer access to information
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the International Apparel Federation (IAF), and 128 other organizations representing the global fashion and the sportswear industries have delivered a letter to supranational, national, and local authorities to urge for the modernisation of labelling requirements for textiles, clothing, footwear and related accessories, legally allowing the use of “more sustainable and economic” digital labels.

On the one hand, “shifting to the use of digital labels would significantly reduce labelling waste and significantly aid in decarbonization efforts, resulting in the elimination of at least 343 000 MT of CO2e from industry supply chains”, reads the letter.  The estimation is that labelling requirements currently result in the annual production of nearly 5.7 million miles of label tape, “enough to stretch from the earth to the moon, and back, twelve times each year”.

On the other hand, the coalition believes that the time has come to react to consumers' growing interest in receiving information digitally, as well as their increased demand for more traceability, transparency, and accountability from all stakeholders in apparel and footwear's global value chain.  “Consumers today want more information with less waste. The opportunities are endless if digital opportunities are unlocked”, stated AAFA President and CEO, Steve Lamar.

“Purchasers will gain access to more detailed and accurate information about the textiles, garments, footwear, and related accessories they are considering buying, such as more in-depth materials and origin information. It also unlocks more information throughout the garment's lifecycle, including details about resale, repair, rental, upcycling, or recycling. This is one tool for a more responsible and agile global industry” he added.

IAF's Secretary General Matthijs Crietee also considers that digital labelling in the fashion industry is something that the environment needs, the industry wants, and consumers expect. Therefore, “there is no alternative to full global industry collaboration and coordination to remove” the difficulties posed by “a patchwork of often very old-fashioned legislation” in order to achieve digital labelling faster.

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