Cascale Increases Efforts to Monitor Policy Landscape

  • Legislation and Policy
April 26, 2024

Cascale, formerly the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, shared its inaugural Global Legislative Update with members.

This comprehensive quarterly overview highlights legislative activity across the EU, U.S., Asia, and other markets relevant to textiles and apparel as well as the consumer goods industry. As a global, nonprofit alliance of over 300 leading organizations in the consumer goods industry, Cascale recognizes the importance of closely monitoring the policy landscape in order to empower its members with timely insights to support sustainability practices and navigate evolving regulations.

Below is a summary offering a sneak peek into Cascale’s Global Legislative Update, with the full document accessible to Cascale members only through Cascale Connect. Cascale members may click here to access the full Global Legislative Update report.

Key Developments

January to April 2024 was marked by an array of legislative progress related to climate change, decent work for all, and a nature-positive future.

  • The European Union (EU) has moved closer to implementing further labor rights-related legislation, such as the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3D) and Forced Labour Regulations.
  • Separately, the EU achieved progress in promoting circularity in the textile and apparel industry. These include the Waste Framework Directive, Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, and Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR).
  • Also in Europe, a particular highlight is France’s passage of a bill to impose surcharges on low-cost fashion items, marking it as the first country to adopt legislation that limits ultra-fast fashion.
  • In Bangladesh, pressure from international observers has prompted the country to reform its Labor Law and strengthen worker protections.

Key Implications

  • Developments worldwide signify an overall strengthening of the regulatory framework and compliance requirements for the textile and apparel sector as well as the wider consumer goods industry.
  • The recent series of EU legislative updates means that companies will face stronger due diligence, waste management, and packaging requirements over the coming years. As textile and apparel production and consumption are highly globalized, the EU’s requirements for the sector are likely to gradually diffuse into other geographical jurisdictions and accelerate the sustainable transition of the global consumer goods industry.

Looking Ahead

  • The European Parliament elections in June will likely mark a shift in EU environmental policies as the recent rise in right-wing forces and the political heft of farmers put pressure on the EU to dilute its green policies. This might undermine efforts to reach 2040 emissions targets.
  • In Asia-Pacific, India’s general elections between April and June are likely to result in a continuation of policies mediating between energy security and climate commitments. BJP, the incumbent party that consistently leads in recent polls, has a track record of pivoting towards fossil fuels while incrementally strengthening renewable infrastructure.
  • Across the Atlantic, the recent delay of the United States in implementing a regulation to cut carbon emissions from gas-fired plants highlights the likely dilemma faced by policymakers to balance sustainability goals and business interests, especially ahead of the November presidential election. With the United States representing a significant share of the global fashion market, the environmental policies of the new administration will have implications for the sector’s green transition.

Collaboration to Support Member Compliance Needs

Cascale believes regulation is essential to drive meaningful change. Together with our technology partner Worldly, the sustainability data and insights platform and exclusive licensee of the Higg Index, and in collaboration with others, Cascale is working diligently to identify and address existing and potential future gaps between the Higg Index and legislation. The ongoing effort aims to ensure that the tools evolve in tandem with legislation, facilitating proactive alignment, continuous refinement, and, most importantly, supporting members’ compliance while considering legislative requirements.

In March 2024, Cascale and Worldly hosted the first webinar in a joint series called “Navigating Legislation & the Higg Index,” showcasing how the Higg Index aligns with evolving regulations. The March webinar focused on the Higg Product Tools as it relates to regulatory frameworks like the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). Watch the webinar recording now. The next webinar in the series, scheduled for June 12, will explore the Higg Brand & Retail Module and its alignment with regulatory frameworks like the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSRD) and more. Register today.

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