France is enacting a growing number of climate regulations to reach its target 40% emissions reduction by 2030. The French Climate and Resilience Law is integral to meeting this ambitious goal and will impact a slew of industries, including fashion and textiles. The law will influence everything from labeling requirements to emissions reporting.
If your business operates in the EU, the French Climate and Resilience Law is one of several national sustainability laws that you’ll need to be aware of. Read up on our recent overview of apparel and textile regulations in the EU membership states. To learn more about all global apparel and textile regulations, visit our textile regulation hub.
Now, let’s take a deeper look at this impactful legislation.
What is the French Climate and Resilience Law?
Passed in 2021, the French Climate and Resilience Law grew out of the French Anti-Waste for Circular Economy Law (AGEC). It touches a broad spectrum of sustainability issues, from transport and travel to housing and land use. For fashion and textile brands, this legislation largely addresses labeling requirements and greenwashing.
Nearly 80% of the French say there isn’t enough information about the environmental impact of the products they consume. That’s why this is an important moment for fashion brands—in addition to staying compliant with national regulations, they can tap into an emergent consumer need.
What does the French Climate and Resilience Law mean for fashion brands?
The law will impact fashion and textile brands in two significant ways: labeling and environmental claims.
Labeling requirements: At the time of sale, consumers must have access to accurate information about “the environmental impact of the goods and services considered over their entire life cycle." This includes several environmental indicators, such as greenhouse gas emissions, the impact on biodiversity, and the consumption of water and other natural resources.
A visualization of the different environmental indicators
In 2022, the Union des Industries Textiles (UIT) collaborated with the French Agency for Ecological Transition (Ademe) to release and test a new environmental display method for textiles. The trial period experimented with a variety of methods, including an ABCDE score and a score out of 100. We’re expecting to see the results of this trial period along with new labeling guidelines at the beginning fo 2024. The French Climate & Resilience Law will likely move away from an ABCDE score, but the final methodology is to be announced. Read more about all gobal textile labelling regulations here.
Environmental claims: Some environmental claims are entirely prohibited. For instance, the use of terms like “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly” (or any similar terms) on products or their packaging is not allowed. This is because they are categorized as “global” claims, implying a general environmental benefit without referencing a specific environmental attribute, such as the recyclability of the product.
Additionally, there are stringent regulations for other types of claims. Claims regarding the recycled content of a product, for instance, are required to specify the actual percentage of recycled materials used in the product.
Advertising a product or service as carbon neutral or using any equivalent terminology is not allowed, unless the advertiser provides public access to the following information
- A report detailing both direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with the product or service;
- A detailed strategy outlining how the product or service's greenhouse gas emissions are first avoided, then reduced, and finally offset, including a roadmap with quantified annual targets for emissions reduction;
- The methods used for compensating any remaining greenhouse gas emissions, adhering to minimum standards established by a specific decree.
How do fashion and textile brands comply?
Environmental labeling has been a voluntary and supervised system since 2013, and has been progressing toward becoming a mandatory system over the last decade. As mentioned above, Ademe conducted a labeling methodology experiment in 2021-2022. The goal was to test and determine the best method of communicating the environmental impact of a product, based upon a life cycle analysis. Mandatory labels were originally going to be required as of January 2023, however Ademe has not yet released a final labeling methodology.
Regardless of the methodology, the label will require brands to display an eco-score composed out of the product’s greenhouse gas emissions, impact to biodiversity, and consumption of water and other natural resources.
13 of the 16 environmental indicators from the PEFCR listed by Ecobalyse. See more details here.
Again, we expect this methodology to be released in early 2024 (for implementation in 2026) and anticipate the labeling requirements to be in alignment with the European Product Environmental Performance (PEF) method. It is possible that there will be further experimentation conducted, as the law allows for a maximum period of five years.
How can Carbonfact help?
Carbonfact is a Carbon Management Platform tailored to fashion and textile brands. With our French eco-score solution brands can measure and report their environmental footprint according to the Climate and Resilience law.
Carbonfact is helping inform the effort to make France the first country that provides environmental labeling. Earlier this year, our co-founder Martin Daniel participated in the French government's working group on Affichage Environnemental (Environmental Labeling).