Seeking harmonization in Europe on legislation in the area of textile names, the adoption of Regulation (EU) no. 1007/2011 lays down provisions for the definition and use of textile fibre names as well as for labeling textile products containing parts of animal origin. It also standardises the test methods for determining the fibre composition of textile products across Europe.
Link to Regulation (EU) no. 1007/2011 [External link]
In the absence of specific European regulations on safety of certain product categories, the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC concern overall matters of consumer product safety, providing a generic definition of a safe product. This directive applies to manufactured products that can be directly used by consumers, such as garden machinery, consumer electronics and textiles. A product under the General Product Safety Directive is deemed safe once it conforms to the safety provisions provided in European legislation or national legislation of member states adopted in accordance with EU law.
An achievement of the General Product Safety Directive has been the establishment of RAPEX, an EU rapid alert mechanism which serves as a platform of information exchange between the European Commission and the member states to prevent the use of products in member states if products have proven to pose serious threats to the health and safety of the consumers in other countries.
Link to Rapid Alert Mechanism RAPEX [External link]
To tackle the flaws of the General Product Safety Directive, the European Commission has proposed a new Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package consisting of a proposal for a Regulation on Consumer Product Safety and a proposal for a Regulation for Market Surveillance of Product as well as non-legislative documents.
Link to Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package [External link]
In 2012, the Commission launched a Communication on Promoting Cultural and Creative Sectors for Growth and Jobs in the EU. [External link]
This Communication was accompanied by two staff working documents:
These documents are central to the European Commission’s Fashion Working Group and High-Level Forum on Fashion where Fur Europe is member. These groups representing the fashion industry gathers to discuss challenges and opportunities and provide professional input to the European Commission.
The Commission has defined CSR as the responsibility of the enterprises for their impact on society. CSR should be the company’s initiative and it should target to integrate social, environmental, ethical, consumer, and human rights concerns into its strategy and operations. As a private and voluntary action so far, no European legislation has been established. However, the Commission has introduced the 2011 CSR Strategy, where the Commission sets the agenda and a number of actions to strongly support this approach.
In spite of the voluntary status of the Commission’s CSR policy, European countries have taken initiatives to set national CSR action plans.
We should also note that many countries have taken initiatives to set action plans in this direction.
Link to the Commission’s webpage on CSR in Practice [External link]
Though not currently articulated as a CSR policy, Fur Europe is committed to sustainable economic, environmental and social development, which contains similar elements as the Commission’s CSR policy.
All consumer products exposed to the use of chemicals – including the vast majority of textiles – are subject to the REACH legislation (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals). REACH ensures a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, the promotion of alternative test methods and the free circulation of substances on the internal market. Both products manufactured in and imported into Europe are subjects to REACH.
The technical, scientific and administrative aspects of REACH are managed by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) [External link].
Dressers and dyers are an important part of the European fur sector’s value chain and subjects to REACH as chemicals are being used in the processing of raw fur skins. The dressing and dying processes ensures the long-lasting abilities of fur products.