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The Debate on Greenwashing Synthetic Textiles: A Threat to Natural Materials

The Debate on Greenwashing Synthetic Textiles: A Threat to Natural Materials

Recently, there’s been a heated debate about the greenwashing of synthetic textiles, with claims that polyester is more eco-friendly than natural materials like wool and silk. This narrative is being pushed by organizations such as The Policy Hub, SAC, Higg, and Textile Exchange through the promotion of ‘preferred fibers.’

Last week, a crisis email from Make the Label Count revealed that the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is included in the text of the Green Claims Directive, which is set to be voted on by the EU Council on June 17th. PEF is not an environmental tax but a system to compare the environmental impact of products and document their “footprints.” The PEF tool compares non-renewable, fossil-based industrial fibers with renewable natural fibers without considering issues like microplastics and non-renewability. This is the crux of the problem. If the proposal is adopted, fast fashion companies like Temu and Shein could claim that polyester is green while wool is not.

This threatens not only traditional Norwegian garments like the bunad but also products such as furniture, interior textiles, and shoes. At Kastel, we believe wool is a gift from nature due to the unique properties it brings to our shoes. It’s also a local and renewable textile source with the potential to be biodegradable. If wool is classified as less sustainable than recycled polyester, it will have enormous consequences for our industry and the agricultural sector in Norway! We should be fighting for less plastic, not more!

The Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion has sent letters to consumer authorities across Europe and needs signatures.

Contact us immediately if you want to sign the letter. We need your name and company.

About the author
Emilie Østby WettestadHead of Content
My name is Emilie, and I am the Head of content at Kastel! I create content for social media and plan content in collaboration with ambassadors, UGC, and influencer profiles. I love spending time with friends and family, knitting, reading, hiking, and working out. Whenever I get the chance, I head back home to the countryside.

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