The European fur sector has entered the European Product Environmental Footprint initiativeas part of the technical secretariat on apparel and footwear products.
The technical secretariat is coordinated by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and includes fashion brands and the leather and wool sectors, which work together to develop PEFCRs. The Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) are guidelines which clarify how to apply the Product Environmental Footprint method to measure the environmental footprint of products.
The European Commission has developed the initiative amid pressure for a harmonised method assessing the environmental impact of products. At the moment, there are different ways to do that and numerous labels which are confusing for the consumers.
Currently, PEF is a non-legally binding recommendation. The Commission hopes that after testing the criteria with more products, it will become the basis for EU-wide legislation benchmarking goods from batteries to pasta and clothing materials. The pilot phase proved it possible to track environmental performance across large-scale supply chains. The results mean the European Commission has given the green light to the next stage, the so-called transition phase, in which existing PEFCRs can be implemented and new ones - like the one covering natural fur - can be developed.
In three years, when the transition phase of research and consultations is over, the apparel and footwear sector hopes to have the tools to measure precisely the environmental impact of their products. These rules will also apply to fur, and this will enable the fur sector to calculate the environmental footprint and label fur products accordingly.