Global Coalition Calls for Digital Labeling to Reduce Waste and Increase Consumer Access to Information
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the International Apparel Federation (IAF), and 128 additional organizations from all corners of the globe, today delivered a letter to supranational, national, and local authorities around the world to modernize domestic textile, garment, footwear, and related accessories labeling requirements and legally allow more sustainable and economic, digital labels for required labeling information.
The 130 signatories represent the global fashion and sportswear industry, and its enablers and stakeholders, including those representing materials such as leather, wool, and textiles; and those working to advance sustainability, circularity, and authenticity solutions.
Industry estimates show that, collectively, labeling requirements now result in the annual production of approximately 5.7 million miles (about 9.2m km) of label tape – enough to stretch from the earth to the moon, and back, twelve times each year.
“Consumers today want more information with less waste. The opportunities are endless if digital opportunities are unlocked. 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,” said AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar. “We need the Federal Trade Commission, and sister agencies around the globe, to update their rules to give companies the option to meet labeling standards using digital means.”
As the letter states, “Shifting to the use of digital labels would significantly reduce labeling waste and significantly aid in decarbonization efforts, resulting in the elimination of at least 343,000 MT of CO2e from industry supply chains. … With greater demand for more traceability, transparency, and accountability from all stakeholders in the industry’s global value chain, the time for supranational, national and local authorities to act and update these outdated, inflexible, and complex labeling requirements and empower their consumers with more accessible information through greener e-labeling is now.”
“It is crystal clear we need to progress to digital labelling for apparel and footwear. The global environment needs it, the industry wants it, and consumers are expecting it. A patchwork of often very old-fashioned legislation across the world is blocking the logical path to modern garment and footwear labelling. There is no alternative to full global industry collaboration and coordination to remove these roadblocks to achieve digital labeling faster,” said IAF Secretary General Matthijs Crietee.
Access the full letter. Find more information on this initiative with #CutTheTape and this video about U.S.-based initiatives to urge the Federal Trade Commission and Congress to modernize labeling requirements.
Digital labeling will be one of the many topics covered at IAF’s 38th World Fashion Convention. The convention will be held together with the Sewn Products Equipment Suppliers Association of the Americas (SPESA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 22-25 of this year, the first time it has been hosted in the U.S. in more than two decades.