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Pfas and fast fashion, what future for environmental legislation?

The impact of dissolution on the regulation and promotion of the fashion industry in France

Pfas and fast fashion, what future for environmental legislation? The impact of dissolution on the regulation and promotion of the fashion industry in France

Emmanuel Macron dissolved the National Assembly on June 9th, instantly plunging our country into a worrying climate of uncertainty and abruptly suspending dozens of ongoing bill proposals. Among them were two crucial texts for the future of sustainable fashion in France: the law on PFAS and the anti fast-fashion law. As of now, what is the state of the fight for cleaner and more ethical fashion in this tumultuous political context? We provide an overview and post-election perspectives.

Legislative advances until June 9, 2024

April 4, 2024, a date to mark with a white stone for environmental defenders. The National Assembly unanimously adopted the law aiming to ban, from 2026, the sale of textiles containing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Why so much excitement? Because these « forever pollutants » are everywhere, from our non-stick pans to our waterproof clothes, and they even make their way into our blood. Indeed, while 99% of Americans have them in their blood, studies in Europe are more reserved, but the results are equally alarming. By banning these substances from our clothes, France was making a giant step towards a healthier future. A step that, unfortunately, could be void after the dissolution. On March 8, 2024, the National Assembly adopted in the first reading the anti fast-fashion law. Its objective? To economically sanction companies that flood the market with clothes of poor environmental quality. To make companies no longer content with producing massively, but to do so thoughtfully, sustainably, and ethically. With this law, we are not just talking about clothes; we are talking about values, respect for the planet, and human dignity. The PFAS and fast-fashion laws are only part of the puzzle within many complementary initiatives. Meanwhile, Christophe Béchu, Minister of Ecological Transition, launched a draft decree on environmental labeling of textile products so that every consumer knows exactly the impact of their favorite t-shirt on the planet. On her side, Olivia Grégoire, Minister Delegate for Enterprises, Tourism, and Consumption, announced a strategic plan to support the fashion sector. Helping young brands grow, supporting the ecological transition, and boosting competitiveness through innovation. A real strategy for sustainable fashion.

After the dissolution: the impact on environmental laws

With the dissolution, the work of the 16th legislature was abruptly stopped. The bill proposals, including those on PFAS and fast-fashion, are now null and will not automatically resume their course once the new Assembly is in place. The new government, or the President of the Senate, will have to decide to reintroduce these texts. And with the new political dynamics, nothing is guaranteed. Although the Senate was not dissolved, it has suspended its public sessions. Commissions can continue to work, but the absence of parliamentary shuttle until the election of the new Assembly makes the adoption of laws impossible. The result of the legislative elections on July 7 will determine everything. If Emmanuel Macron obtains a majority in the National Assembly, he will be able to direct legislative priorities. However, if an opposition majority emerges, the future Prime Minister from that trend will be appointed, with priorities that we already know are very different. In this unfortunate case, for the PFAS and fast-fashion laws to be adopted, they will need to be reintroduced and reexamined. The mobilization of sector actors, environmental defenders, and citizens will therefore be crucial to maintain pressure and ensure their reintroduction. Their role will be decisive in influencing legislators and ensuring that environmental priorities remain on the agenda. The fight for sustainable fashion continues, and with it, the hope for a cleaner and more ethical future for the fashion industry in France.