WR joins with worldwide organizations to support standardized clothing labeling

Jul 20, 2023
Written by WR Communications


WR signed on in a letter last week to representatives from the global fashion and sportswear industries, along with their enablers and stakeholders, advocating for a significant shift in labeling requirements for textiles, garments, footwear, and related accessories.

WR urged authorities worldwide to modernize domestic labeling regulations and legally endorse sustainable, economical digital labels.

Over the past six decades, a complex hodgepodge of labeling requirements, including care instructions, fiber content, importer requirements, and origin details, have emerged globally. Originally intended to help consumers make informed purchases, these requirements now obstruct the industry’s sustainability efforts and the promotion of a circular economy, including traceability enhancement. Industry estimates reveal that these requirements lead to the annual production of approximately 5.7 million miles of label tape, equivalent to twelve round trips from the Earth to the moon.

Fortunately, digital solutions like QR code labels offer a way to significantly reduce the material waste from these regulations. Transitioning to digital labels could drastically aid decarbonization efforts, potentially eliminating at least 343,000 metric tons of CO2e from industry supply chains.

In response to the growing consumer interest in digital information, governments worldwide are adopting digital approaches, such as the proposed EU digital product passport and replacing traditional labeling requirements with electronic labeling for consumer electronics products in countries like Singapore and Australia.

To facilitate change, the industry must take bolder actions, including amending regulations to allow the adoption of fully digital labeling solutions. This would give consumers more detailed and accurate information about the products they are considering, such as in-depth materials, origin information, and supply chain details. Additionally, digital labels would make product information more accessible to a wider range of consumers, including the sight impaired, and could be delivered in languages easily understood by them.

Reducing the excessive use of labeling tape to a simple QR code or other digital tool would discourage consumers from removing labels after purchase, ensuring that product information remains available throughout the product’s lifecycle. This change would make these products more valuable in the circular economy, providing new opportunities for resale, repair, rental, upcycling, or recycling.

Given the increasing demand for traceability, transparency, and accountability from all stakeholders in the industry’s global value chain, it is time for authorities to update these outdated, inflexible, and complex labeling requirements and empower consumers with more accessible information through greener e-labeling.


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