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New requirements for textile products in the Northern European market

New requirements for textile products in the Northern European market

Under this regulation, textile products must comply with more stringent requirements regarding design, chemistry, quality, and longevity.

The Vietnam Trade Office in Sweden has updated information on requirements in the Northern European market for textile and garment products for business and consumption in this market area.

Northern European markets include Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. This region is making efforts to reduce the environmental impact of production and consumption. On average, each Northern European buys 13-16 kg of textiles and garments per year. The agency in the Northern European market is currently introducing more stringent requirements to promote the textile and garment industry to change and develop in a more sustainable and circular direction.

Based on the criteria of the EU Textile Strategy, in version 5.0 the Nordic market, products must comply with more design and chemical requirements, strict environmental requirements in all relevant stages of the product life cycle. Some of the most important requirements that textile and garment businesses need to pay attention to include:

  • Designed for recycling: To ensure that textiles are designed for recycling, the Nordic market places strict requirements on unwanted chemicals and prohibits the use of plastic and metal parts for decorative purposes only. Additionally, recycled fabrics that meet some of the requirements for the redesign can be used.
  • It is strictly forbidden to burn unsold clothes: To avoid overproduction, Northern European markets prohibit burning or burying unsold clothing. Manufacturers must report to the Nordic Agency on the disposal of surplus products.
  • Requirements for natural and synthetic fibers: Textile fibers must be organic, recycled, or of biological origin. Cotton used in Nordic eco-labeled clothing must not be made from genetically modified products (GMOs) and must be 100% organic or recycled materials. For protective clothing, separate requirements apply. Synthetic fibers must be recycled or made from renewable raw materials. Cellulose fibers must be FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Forest Standard Certification) certified.
  • Durability and quality: Textile fabrics must be tested to ensure new durability criteria such as abrasion, fading, seam durability, as well as color fastness when exposed to sweat and saliva. These tests will be based on ISO standards. In addition, more stringent requirements on elasticity and stretch are introduced, along with color fastness to light exposure extended to some product groups (swimwear, outdoor clothing), and pilling (including wool).
  • Chemistry: Among the chemicals that will be banned in the new version are CMR substances (carcinogens, mutagens) and chemicals containing silicon. In addition, specific requirements are placed on volatile organic compounds in tryp embryos, PFA, biocides and antibacterial agents, metal complex dyes and pigments.
  • Implement the best techniques: The manufacturer of textile products must demonstrate that the energy used in, for example, washing, drying, bleaching and associated dyeing, printing and finishing of textiles, is measured and compared with separate, prior figures, when implementing performance improvement techniques. This means that water consumption associated with processes such as dyeing, printing and textile finishing, must be measured. Additionally, there must be documentation that manufacturing facilities have implemented at least water and energy efficiency techniques or initiatives.
  • Requirements for microplastics: Manufacturers must measure how much microplastics are released when washing synthetic textiles. This must be measured using a standardized testing method.
  • The working environment must comply with ILO conventions: Northern European eco-labeled textile and garment production facilities must comply with ILO (United Nations International Labor Organization) conventions, which prohibit forced labor, child labor, and discrimination, while also setting requirements for reasonable wages and working hours. The Nordic market authority will also organize physical inspections of all production facilities, regardless of where they are located in the world.

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