The Nordic Swan Ecolabel, the official ecolabel of the Nordic countries, has announced the launch of revised and sharpened requirements for clothing and other textile products certified with the label. More requirements for product design, increased emphasis on quality, longevity and a ban on dumping surplus clothing are some of the innovations.

The textile industry is a key industry for solving the problems of climate change, nature loss and the spreading of harmful chemicals. According to the EU, the textile industry is the fourth most damaging sector when it comes to climate and the environment. There is a great need to reduce the environmental impact and contribute to a more circular economy, where we recycle materials instead of using and disposing of them, Nordic Swan Ecolabel said in a press release.

“The Nordic Swan Ecolabel now launches even more ambitious requirements for textile manufacturers because the need for change in the industry is acute. Both European and Norwegian authorities demand more sustainable and circular production of textiles. Now it is important that the industry accepts the challenge and uses existing tools to make the process of changing easier,” said Cathrine Pia Lund, CEO of the Nordic Swan Ecolabel in Norway.

“More and more people want to make choices with less impact on the environment, and the best choice is of course to reduce consumption. But once you are going to make a purchase, it is important to choose well. We are now strengthening the requirements for product design and production process in order to increase quality and facilitate a circular economy for the textile industry,” said Anne-Grethe Henriksen, marketing and communications manager at the Nordic Swan Ecolabel in Norway.

Another novelty is that manufacturers now have to measure how much microplastic is spread from synthetic textiles. This must be measured with a standardised test-method and we encourage the result to be reported to the Microfibre Consortium with a goal of setting a limit value over time.

Cotton used in Nordic Swan Ecolabelled clothing must be 100 per cent organic or recycled. For workwear, separate requirements apply. Synthetic fibres must either be recycled or made from renewable raw materials.

The revised requirements for the Nordic Swan Ecolabel do not allow burning or dumping of unsold clothes, and manufacturers must also report to the ecolabel what they do with the surplus products. The production sites for Nordic Swan Ecolabelled textiles must comply with the United Nations International Labour Organisation conventions which, among other things, prohibit forced labour, child labour and discrimination and which facilitate reasonable wages and working hours. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel also goes on inspection visits to all production sites, no matter where they are situated in the world.