Eco-question: Eco-score—what will France’s environmental labeling tell us about our clothes?

Environmental labeling is one of the key measures of the Climate and Resilience Law of August 2021. Its aim is to shed light on a product’s environmental impact on climate, biodiversity, environmental health and resources, from design to end-of-life, to give consumers reliable, easy-to-understand information to encourage buying more sustainably.

Environmental labeling: towards more sustainable manufacturing

The evaluation also aims to encourage more sustainable production to reduce the fashion industry’s environmental impact. It will be developed in conjunction with the PEF CR Apparel & Footwear (Product Environmental Footprint, Category Rule Apparel and footwear) methodological reference framework currently being drawn up on a European level.

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Which criteria are taken into consideration?

8 indicators are taken into account in calculating environmental impact:

Criteria of environmental labelling

How can these be measured?

Part of the assessment will be based on LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) calculation tools, requiring a good knowledge of a product’s value chain. Other elements, such as products’ physical durability test reports, may also be required.

How do you communicate this information?

A graded score? A scale from A to E? A color code? At the moment, the format for the information remains unknown. Will it be communicated through an online virtual version, as for the AGEC law, or a physical version on hangtags? Here too, we’ll have to wait a few more months to find out whether the logistics of product-labeling will be impacted.

When will it be rolled out?

The general outlines of the French methodology are expected to be specified in the fall of 2023. The aim is to finalize it by the end of 2023, in order to draft a decree to implement the law, clarifying what is expected, the product categories affected, the implementation timetable and penalties. The law’s implementation is expected to undergo a voluntary labeling phase in 2024, before becoming mandatory in 2025.

How do we get ready for it?

While art. 13 of the AGEC law has already shaken up organizations in terms of data collection, environmental labeling will require us to take things a step further. Even now, increasing the traceability of our products, to get a clear view of the origins of different levels, the processes used from fiber to finished material, the relative weight of components and the energy mix, can give us invaluable data we can use to model the impact of garments.

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