The Impact of Modes of Acquisition on Clothing Lifetimes

Authors: Kirsi Laitela, Ingun Grimstad Klepp and Lisbeth Løvbak Berg


Reducing the environmental impact of clothing is dependent on a reduction of the produced volume. This chapter discusses how mode and volumes of acquisition impact the lifetimes of clothing. Based on our scoping review and reanalysis of international wardrobe audit data, we find that the number of garments that are acquired has most impact, making clothing utilization an important concept. Secondhand garments are used fewer times than new items, and gifts less than self-chosen items. Self-made clothing was worn less than tailored garments, showing that product personalisation can both shorten and increase lifetimes. Slowing down the rate of acquisition and increasing the lifetime with the first
user should be the focus of policy development.

In K. Niinimäki (Ed.), Recycling and Lifetime Management in the Textile and Fashion Sector

Contact publisher to access the whole article, or email

Lasting, durability and lifespan: Looking closer at the terms

“Let’s see the forest for the trees” was one of the talk-titles during the end seminar for the Lasting project, offered by PhD student Kamila Krych at NTNU. Hitting the nail on the head, she pointed to that fast fashion’s business model of extreme planned obsolescence is spreading to other product groups. There has been a rise in the number of kitchen stoves being bought that is higher than any increase in households can explain.

Lasting is not quite on its last legs, it will continue until the end of 2023, and an exhibit is planned in 2024 at Klimahuset to round it all off. However, the main findings were presented at the seminar in front of an audience of students, research partners, NGO and public servant partners, industry organizations and some from the Research Council. The title for the seminar was “Lost in the masses: Is product longevity the solution?”, and the theme has been increasingly relevant as we have seen EU policy focusing more and more on product longevity.

Project lead Kirsi Laitala summing up.

The venue was supposed to have been Sustainathon at Meetingpoint X, which was postponed until next year at the last minute, and the Lasting team did a great job of making the most of the venue-change to OsloMet. A recording of the proceedings is available here.

As mentioned, the main theme was where does durability and longevity have a function, and where is it actually a roadblock, in the meaning that it confounds the discussion and the way forward to reduce volumes and deplastify (mainly) apparel and other textiles? While durability and longevity are important for household appliances, to a certain degree also for furniture – the push and pull forces governing the inflow and outflow of apparel and other textiles has little to do with durability or repairability. On the other hand, when it comes to washing machines, we buy a new one when the old breaks down, so policy governing longevity and the right to repair makes a lot of sense. But what makes sense for one product-group, may not do so for all products in another. “For nylon stockings, maybe, but not for most apparel items,” according to Professor in Clothing and Sustainability, Ingun Grimstad Klepp.  

Professor Ingun Klepp engaging the audience.

She went on to explain: “If we are demanding more durable apparel products, using standard tests for strength, pilling, color-fastness, whatever, means more plastic. If we are looking at regulation of waste, eco-modulating fees based on weight, we favor plastic apparel, as synthetics in general are lighter. If we are looking at recycled content as a policy tool, synthetics win again, even though it will mainly be from recycled bottles. And, last but not least, if we use LCAs to dictate what are preferred fibers, again synthetics win.“

Citing research from CHANGE-researcher, Irene Maldini, Klepp went on to explain more on “pull” and “push” forces: Replacement as the driving force for buying something new is only 2,5% of the reason for apparel purchased, as a direct need to replace something that is broken or worn out. Closer to 30% was bought because the item “was on sale” or other occasions that spoke to opportunity. This points to that policy needs much more data on the push and pull forces than is currently available.

The drastic increase in apparel, which far outstrips an increase in need for more (there wasn’t a lack of textiles or footwear in year 2000 and the world population has not doubled in the time span), is also mainly driven by the availability of cheap synthetic fibers, polyester being the largest of these.

Audrun Utskarpen from the Nordic Eco Label, Lorelou Desjardins from the Consumer Council, Associate Professor Johan Berg Pettersen from NTNU, Professors Kate Fletcher and Ingun Grimstad Klepp from SIFO/OsloMet participated in a debate on to what degree product longevity can or cannot impact overproduction. As the Nordic Swan for example already has concrete “durability” demands for products; however, in order to have good baseline data, Utskarpen said that waste audits that could offer good data on what ends up in which waste streams, would be very useful to understand “real life” durability for apparel. Desjardins spoke about their Greenwashing prize, which even gained attention internationally, and was awarded Zalando last year, but also on how their internal research had made her wary of buying almost anything. Pettersen brought up that more and more consumer goods are becoming “disposable” and that waste generation is increasing, not decreasing. Which Klepp pointed to is a production-problem related to massive marketing, and not something we should put on the consumers’ shoulders. “We could ban all marketing as a scenario,” Klepp proposed, as consumers who are – everywhere they turn – told how sustainable their next purchase will be.

Lisbeth Løvbak Berg spoke about different attitudes towards and understanding of longevity between consumers and businesses.

Fletcher suggested that if everyone worked for a week at the Consumer Council, seeing what they uncovered in their daily tasks on toxic chemicals, etc. would quickly suppress the need to buy anything at all. She was, of course, joking, but more seriously she added that the idea that service design in itself will change the systemic problems (rental, repair, etc.) is not proven in any way by research – what is clear is that only if volumes are decreased will new business models have a chance of survival. Pettersen repeated Klepp’s point of strategies focusing on products, rather than systems and that as long as businesses do not actually feel the planetary boundaries, they are not going to change.

Leading up to this debate, Kirsi Laitala, leader of the Lasting project, talked about consumer attitudes towards durability for all the product groups in the project (based on focus groups), and called out one winner on the aspect of durability (obviously not in the textile sector): the Moccamaster coffee machine. Lisbeth Løvbak Berg spoke on the opposing narratives from businesses vs consumers themselves on what actually had a long life – and introduced Chapman’s teddy bear effect as the beacon. The teddy bear turned up again and again after that… as an ideal but also as something that children today have too many of, though probably the most loved one is loved to pieces.

Fletcher reminded us all that durability is not a monolithic construct, and also that it is a weak force compared to economic growth and capitalism – recognize the incompleteness of our knowledge and our colonial legacies we cannot escape. The idea that Western thinking and approaches are relevant everywhere, when they aren’t and we need to be reminded about this again and again, as Harald Throne-Holst, the moderator, reiterated: context, context, context. Being part of a community is a value in other parts of the world, that counts much more than amassing new stuff. Echoed by Pettersen, and relating it also to rebound effects. Not to forget Krych’s industrial ecology insights from her on-going PhD in the project, reminding us also to look at the big picture.

From the workshop.

The day was rounded off with a workshop in Norwegian, where a 2023 baseline situation for different consumers was juxtaposed against a 2050 future where limited resources would not make it possible to “live the same life”. The case studies were related to a family with small children, the student on the brink of a new life as a bread winner, and an older couple moving from their house to a smaller apartment. Many interesting options were proposed, f ex more community-based solutions.

The big discussion has just begun. Lasting products will work for many important product-groups, such as household appliances, electronics and even furniture. Nylon stockings are also on the list. Teddy bears: well, the vote is not yet in. The most worn ones are often the most loved.

Lost in the masses: is product longevity the solution?

When: 18th of October 2023, 10:00-15:15

Where: OsloMet, Pilestredet 35, Ellen Gleditschs hus: PH131, Anna Felbers auditorium (1st floor)

The Lasting project presents findings from 3 years of research on product lifespans and sustainability. The project led by Consumption Research Norway SIFO at Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) gathered actors from the Norwegian home appliances, textile and furniture sectors. The partners have researched the material streams, consumer and business perspectives as well as policy in the area of product lifetimes with the goal of moving towards a sustainable future where products last for a long time.

This seminar will be of particular interest to anyone working with sustainability, product design, business models or policy development.

The seminar is followed by a workshop where we move from theoretical to practical explorations, examining how we could live with our things in the future. Here we will play around with design briefs based on the project findings.

The seminar will be in English, while the workshop will be in Norwegian.

Click here to sign up (


9.30 Doors open – coffee available

10:00 Welcome by Harald Throne-Holst, Researcher at SIFO

10:05 Consumer views on increasing product lifetimes by Kirsi Laitala, project leader and Researcher at SIFO

10:30 Let’s see the forest for the trees: industrial ecology insights into product lifetimes by Kamila Krych, PhD Candidate at NTNU

10:55 Conflicting narratives of product longevity by Lisbeth Løvbak Berg, Researcher at SIFO

11:20 Durability in product policy – The limitation of the dream of longer life by Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Professor in Clothing and Sustainability at SIFO

11:45 Lunch

12:30 Lost in sameness: plurality, clothing and durability by Kate Fletcher, Professor at the Royal Danish Academy

12:55 Discussion: overproduction and product longevity

13:25 Coffee break and room change for workshop participants: Room PI451 (4th floor)

13:45 Workshop (in Norwegian): Tingene og oss i fremtiden

15:15 End

The Lasting project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. Read more about the project at the project website (

Narratives of product longevity: a business vs. consumer perspective

Authors: Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Marie Hebrok


This paper explores narratives of product longevity expressed by businesses and consumers, with the aim of illuminating and comparing ways in which the two stakeholder groups express their engagement with products in the context of prolonging their lifespans. We base our analysis on consumer focus groups and interviews with company representatives. Our focus is on textiles (incl. clothing) and furniture. We find that technical and emotional durability are the two dominant ways of understanding product longevity by company representatives. Consumers, however, tell a different story, of living with their things, of use, of time passing, and of life events triggering change. This is a context in which social and systemic factors play a large role in determining the lifespan of a product – factors that are external to the product itself. Although all can agree on the importance of technical durability, problems connected to excessive production volumes and how products feature in everyday life are avoided in narratives produced by business actors. We argue that corporate narratives of product longevity are diverting our attention away from production toward consumption, keeping questions of volume and growth at arm’s length. These conflict with consumer narratives of product longevity that grapple with the materiality of the things within the context of lived lives in a consumer economy.

Click here to download and read the full article.

Click here to download and read the full conference proceedings (

Why won’t you complain? Consumer rights and the unmet product lifespan requirements

Authors: Kirsi Laitala, Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Pål Strandbakken.


The Consumer Purchases Act is one of the cornerstones for ensuring that businesses are liable for defective or faulty products that do not meet the minimum requirements for lifespans. However, this right is too seldom used by consumers. This paper discusses the reasons for not complaining based on six consumer focus groups, where in total 36 consumers described furniture, electronics, and textile products that they were dissatisfied with. Many complaints were not made due to consumers’ cost-benefit evaluations, where they considered the economic costs, time use, and the needed effort, as well as the probability of getting the complaint accepted. Many participants lacked the competencies required to make the judgment when the right is applicable and where and how to proceed. Further, the expectations based on price and brand, properties of the product such as materials, as well as the type of fault and its relation to use were important. Strengthening and extending consumer rights to complain are discussed as an important part of the strategy to increase the quality of goods and extend their lifetimes. The findings show barriers and opportunities to the efficacy of this strategy that is highly relevant for policy development. There is a need for clear guidelines on what the consumer rights are for the specific products, what is considered unacceptable abrasion and normal use, and differentiation between commercial warranties and legal rights. Complaints are an important avenue for businesses to gain information about the performance of their products, and for legal durability expectations to be enforced.

Click here to download and read the full article.

Click here to download and read the full conference proceedings (

Flawed or redundant: products with long lifespans against the odds

Authors: Harald Throne-Holst and Kirsi Laitala


Many strategies are proposed that should enable the consumers to keep using the products for longer, but there is less research on which and how consumer practices contribute to longer lifespans. In this paper we focus on two specific, distinct ways of reaching long lifespans: 1) retaining redundant products even though they are not needed or used, and 2) keeping on using flawed products despite they no longer functioning, fitting, or delivering the expected service level. In the former, the products are passive while in the latter they remain in active use and thus reach longer service life. The discussion is based on six focus groups conducted in connection with the project LASTING. The overarching theme was product longevity of three product groups: electronics, textiles, and furniture. Our analysis points to five categories of explanations for products that are either kept despite the lack of any intention of using them again or retained in active use despite flaws: Economic, Ethical, Social, Emotional, and Intentions. It remains important to focus on active service life and various ways to promote it to reduce the environmental and climate impacts of consumption. The role of each of the five categories will be discussed, as well as implications for sustainability and policy options.

Click here to download and read the full article.

Click here to download and read the full conference proceedings (

A full PLATE with a 7-course SIFO menu

Photo Tuomas Uusheimo

Holding on or letting go? Why don’t consumers complain more? Why do we hang on to stuff that is flawed? How to make fast fashion out of fashion and actually degrow the textile sector? All these questions will be answered at the PLATE conference at Aalto University, in Espoo, Finland.

At the end of May and beginning of June, Consumption Research Norway SIFO at Oslo Metropolitan University will partake in the biannual PLATE (Product Lifetimes and The Environment) conference with a full menu of all in all six papers, and all in all four presenting findings from LASTING, where one is by authors from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The project Change will also be presented with volumes of consumption as the appetizer. Studying clothing consumption volumes through wardrobe studies: a methodological reflection is written by Irene Maldini, Vilde Haugrønning and Lucrecia de León. As not all wardrobe methods take advantage of their volume-centric possibilities, the paper explores lessons from a wardrobe pilot study conducted in Uruguay, Portugal and Norway in 2022 with both male and female respondents. Preliminary findings show that a volume perspective on wardrobe research can give valuable insights on the particularities of clothing use in relation to quantities.  

Putting on a different set of glasses

In another paper, which is a result of the Wasted Textiles project, this is also explored related only to textiles and clothing: Regulating Fast Fashion out of Fashion, authored by Kerli Kant-Hvass and Ingun Grimstad Klepp. The analysis underpinning the paper is based on a review of 10 textile strategy documents from public, private and non-profit organizations, on whether and how growth and overproduction in the textile industry is being addressed. Merging this with research and findings from the opposite end of the value-chain than these textile strategy documents do (which use design and a focus on “preferred fiber” choices to potentially optimize lifetime), the paper puts forward Targeted Producer responsibility (TPR) as a means to curb volumes effectively and thus reduce environmental impacts.

Another paper, written by Kirsi Laitala, Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Pål Strandbakken, addresses consumers’ use and knowledge of the Consumer Purchases Act by asking: Why won’t you complain? Consumer rights and the unmet product lifespan requirements. The paper discusses the reasons for not complaining, based on six consumer focus groups, where in total 36 consumers described furniture, electronics, and textile products that they were dissatisfied with and hadn’t necessarily taken the trouble to claim their consumer rights.

Clearer guidelines in order

There is a need for clear guidelines on what the consumer rights are for the specific products, the authors write, to make it clear what is considered unacceptable abrasion and normal use, but also to differentiate between commercial warranties and legal rights. Complaints are, after all, an important avenue for businesses to gain information about the performance of their products, and thereby improve them.

In Norway, the right to complain is extended to 5 years for some durable goods, which exceeds the EU requirements of 2 years. This creates confusion about which products and which duration is valid, where consumers often link this to price, rather than the type of product. In addition to clearer guidelines, there are possibilities for new technical solutions to facilitate the storage of receipts and purchase information related to each product, which was especially problematic for low-priced items. Digital product passes, which is on EU’s menu of policy instruments, may be developed with this in mind, and could also include information about consumer rights.

Focus groups offer insights

Two other Lasting papers, are both about what we keep or discard and why, and are based on focus groups, but also some interviews with business representatives. The overarching theme was product longevity of three product groups: electronics, textiles, and furniture. In Flawed or redundant: products with long lifespans against the odds, co-authored by Harald Throne-Holst and Kirsi Laitala, the theme is explored related to reasonings behind keeping things – by only storing them and not using them – or trying to use them even though they are broken or flawed. Five groups of reasoning were presented: Economical, Ethical, Social, Emotional, and Intentions.

In Holding on or letting go? Conflicting narratives of product longevity: a business vs. consumer perspective, authors Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Marie Hebrok have found that technical and emotional durability are the two dominant ways of understanding product longevity by business representatives, and as such what they aim to embed in their products. Consumers, however, tell a different story, of living with their things, of use, of time passing, and life events triggering change – factors that are external to the product itself. The authors argue that corporate narratives of product longevity divert our attention away from production toward consumption, keeping questions of volume and growth at arm’s length.

Stockings as stress

In relation to durability, the Reduce project will present The devaluation of stockings. Tone Rasch, Ingrid Haugsrud, Kirsi Laitala and Atle Wehn Hegnes (Tone is associated with the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology) explore nylon stockings for women as an example of a product that first was recognized as high fashion, but later has been devalued and is now seen almost as a single-use product. Thin stockings represent a good example of how we value and take care of delicate items has a significant contribution to their lifetimes. Looking into the historical context is beneficial for learning about the points in time when changes occurred and how they contribute to consumer practices.

The weakest link: How technical lifespan extension can be counter-effective for climate goals looks at scenarios for kitchen durables (fridge, dishwasher, stove, and kitchen cupboards) to explore lifetime extension, and investigate the extent to which these interventions could in fact be counter-effective for climate goals set for 2050. The authors, Kamila Krych and Johan B. Pettersen, found that the extra resources invested to ensure more durable products that anyways can land in waste bins prematurely, can be counter-effective in reaching the climate goals set for 2050.

Tasty alternatives

Faster environmental benefits, the authors write, could be achieved by increasing the repair rates by extending product warranties, subsidizing repair services, supporting the development of innovative repair businesses, demanding the availability of spare parts at affordable prices, and increasing the convenience of repair. The paper also points to policy addressing “problematic” products as more effective, such as dish-washers that fail more frequently. A belief in design-focused interventions, is clearly questioned, as the authors see this as taking longer to bring effect.

So, all in all, attendees should be well-satisfied and full of new knowledge, considering this rich menu, which is of course only a small part of the three-day proceedings in Finland. The research papers will be published after the conference.

A conversation with Kate Fletcher

First of all, we would like to welcome you as a colleague! This is a very happy development for Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) and our clothing research group, alongside of course, the work in the projects you have the lead of work packages. So firstly: welcome!

For such a long time, we have associated you with London College of Fashion, and now you are affiliated with three Scandinavian institutions. Is there a special affinity to this region that has resulted in this tripling of your affiliation?

Well, it is a very beautiful region! Seriously, there has been a steady – and growing –  presence in sustainability, design, fashion and textiles work in the Nordic countries over the last twenty-five years and I am now honoured to be able to connect with this work in three different institutions.

Are the other two positions very different from your role at SIFO?

All the roles are fairly distinct, drawing on different parts of my knowledge and skills. Some are more design-based, others more strategic, while the work at SIFO is more specifically linked to research projects.

Your research project, Craft of Use, brought in a new perspective on how we use our clothes in a myriad of ways; that has inspired many to rethink their relationship with clothes. How did this research lead to for example Earth Logic and your input to new research? Can you give us a ‘thread’ that weaves through your research?

The Craft of Use project started out in 2008 as a way to glimpse what ‘fashion’ might look like ‘post growth’. The idea was that in a world beyond consumerism when clothes are no longer bought mindlessly, the skills of using garments well, with dedication and care, take on new significance. These skills would become the currencies of post growth fashion, they also emphasise practices not just products and users, not just garments. Through a hybrid ethnographic-design research project the Craft of Use project connected the everyday (the lifeworld of the user), systemic questions about taken-for-granted economic and social structures, and relational potential of design to act and connect differently. Earth Logic is, I guess, an obvious continuation of this approach. It also uses a similar action research methodology and is similarly radical.

From left to right: Else Skjold, Trine Skødt, Mette Dalgaard Nielsen and Kate Fletcher. From the launch of the Klothing Research Center.

In the two projects Lasting and CHANGE, where you lead two work packages, you are looking outside the Global North concept of consumption and fashion/clothing practices with a new lens or kaleidoscope. Is this challenging to you personally and also research in general?

It is both personally challenging, and challenging to research, and necessarily so. For too long the dominant ideas in fields like fashion and sustainability have been assumed to be universal, with the assumption that no one sits outside of these ideas, beyond this epistemic territory. But with this assumption comes erasure, and denial of other perspectives, realities, possibilities etc. Looking to more plural perspectives tackle some of the biggest subjects like Western hegemony, human exceptionalism, patriarchy, but it also asks about small practical things like how writing items in a list introduces a hierarchy, which in turn introduces an inadvertent priority or power relation.

Some of the focus in Mathilda Tham’s and your Earth Logic, is about a more localized and diverse approach to clothing and fashion. I personally find this fascinating, and it resonates with so much of what needs to be in place in order “repair” our current system, if we can even repair it. Do you have any thoughts at all that you are willing to share, on systemic change within the current economic system?

Community based action is seen, time and again, as the radical basis of sustainability change. For it is in local places that lives are lived. One of the strands of work that is ongoing within Earth Logic is an exploratory project around a local fashion government. In Earth Logic, when we talk about government and governance people often think about big government, like what happens at national or pan-national levels, but what Earth Logic is interested in is at a different level. Our interest is the small sets of individual, household, community and regional decisions around organising and regulating clothing provision and expression. To be clear, this is not about what can be produced in a region, but more about how to meet needs with the clothing that we already have. This for me is systemic change. I’ll let you be the judge if it sits within the current system or not.

What do you feel should be further explored at SIFO, what themes do you see as unaddressed?

One of the critical challenges for fashion and sustainability is to tackle rising consumption volumes. I would like to get straight to heart of this challenge and to explore consuming less, and to do that with colleagues with expertise from across the SIFO family.

Kate with the CHANGE team at Finnskogen, flanked by Ingun Klepp (left), Ingrid Haugsrud, Else Skjold and Lea Gleisberg, Vilde Haugrønning in front.

Do you feel research councils understand what the actual problems are? Do you have a wish for a call you haven’t seen?

In general terms it seems research councils prefer funding projects that are similar to existing ones, that use related thinking, and aligned with established economic priorities. What I hope for is that bolder, riskier, farsighted projects will also be funded. Such projects generally create the compost that other projects then go on to sow the seeds of change in. And without the compost, other seeds of future projects will not germinate. So, this is ultimately an investment in the future.

Consumption, as a word and a concept; what do you find the most problematic and what do you find to be valuable?

Etymologically, I find the term consumption problematic, meaning, as it does, “to use up”. And in the fashion context, its strong association with the culture of consumption is antithetical to ecological balance. Yet inspired by the words of the poet and farmer Wendell Berry, I am also seeing consumption, as about husbandry. That is, the name of all practices that sustain life by connecting us conservingly to our places and our world. It is the art of keeping tied all the strands in the living network that sustains us.

New briefing outlining research behind the TPR proposal

During a meeting earlier this year with a team from the European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans’ office, the authors of this new paper were asked to supply more background on the Targeted Producer Responsibility they presented.

As the first step in supplying more research-based data and knowledge, the paper entitled “Critical review of Product Environmental Footprint (PEF): Why PEF currently favors synthetic textiles (plastics)” and therefore also fast fashion was sent to the meeting-participants and published online. This was, however, only the first of three papers promised. The second, “Research input for policy development based on understanding of clothing consumption“, a research briefing, goes into the research behind the proposal. It is now sent to the meeting participants and is therefore also made publicly available.

For this research briefing, additional researchers who are not part of the Wasted Textiles project were engaged, and who have also recently been recruited to roles at SIFO: Kate Fletcher and Irene Maldini. Authors from Wasted Textiles are Lisbeth Løvbak Berg (SIFO, OsloMet), Tone Skårdal Tobiasson (NICE Fashion/UCRF), Jens Måge (Norwegian Waste Management and Recycling Association). Kerli Kant Hvass (Revaluate/Aalborg University); and of course, the main author Ingun Grimstad Klepp.

This briefing paper builds on research and evidence from SIFO’s 75 years of consumer research on clothing and the ongoing projects CHANGE, Lasting as well as the mentioned Wasted Textiles, addressing the problem of overproduction of textiles. It draws attention to the importance of incorporating the latest consumer research in the design of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) – or rather our suggestion TPR – and other textile policies currently being developed in the EU. It is written by a diverse group of academics and practitioners who are seeking to support change in the sector.

The briefing puts forward that the authors see a trend in various policy discussions and documents based on the belief that making garments more durable, will reduce the quantity of clothing produced. Scientific research does not provide evidence for this, which is exactly what this briefing aims to show. The briefing is, however, not only a criticism of the lack of research-based policy tools. The authors also offer suggestions on how to make these tools effective in the challenge that lies ahead of us: Making fast fashion out of fashion.

Read the full briefing below.

Critical background paper on PEF for apparel and footwear

This week saw the publication of a critical background paper on concerns surrounding the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules for Apparel and Footwear from a consortium representing the collaborative international research project Wasted Textiles at Consumption Research Norway SIFO at Oslo Metropolitan University.

The consortium were asked to supply more background information to the EU Commission after a knowledge sharing meeting January 25 hosted by Vice President Timmermans cabinet members and other EU officials from both DG Grow and DG Environment involved in the execution of the EU Textiles strategy, the revision of the Waste Framework Directive, and other Green Deal related policies.

As the first step in supplying more research-based data and knowledge, the paper entitled CRITICAL REVIEW OF PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT (PEF): WHY PEF CURRENTLY FAVORS SYNTHETIC TEXTILES (PLASTICS) AND THEREFORE ALSO FAST FASHION was sent to the meeting-participants this week, and the authors have decided to make the paper publicly available through the Clothing Research website, and can be accessed at the bottom of this page.

During the meeting, which was mainly about Extended Producer Responsibility, Professor in Clothing and Sustainability at Consumption Research Norway SIFO at Oslo Metropolitan University, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, brought up concerns surrounding PEF and PEFCR that could be addressed with the right policy measures to ensure better data collection for the use- and end-of-use phase. These concerns are based on research from three longitudinal research projects at SIFO (Wasted Textiles, CHANGE and Lasting), under the auspices of the Clothing Research umbrella. This research was what led to the meeting with several EU officials, who were all genuinely interested in how academic research can contribute to better policy measures.

Four of the authors, from left to right: Jens Måge, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone Skårdal Tobiasson and Kerli Kant Hvass.

This paper is the first in a series of three that will be delivered to the participants of the meeting and will be made available on this website, related to EU’s textile strategy. The research consortium behind the critical papers, welcome EU’s ambitious strategy for apparel and footwear; however, the same research consortium sees that unless one takes a holistic view which includes the use and disposal of products, with a view from what actually ends up in the waste and how quickly – true sustainability-measures are in danger of supplying misleading information. By capturing this research and making it available, it is possible to spur policy measures that address the issue of over-production head on.

In conclusion, the paper states: “In essence, one can therefore say that PEFCR for clothing favors plastic due to a lack of political decisiveness on how to measure natural versus synthetic materials, together with giving the FF (fast fashion) industry power in the development of PEFCR and choice of underlying data. Fast fashion will remain in fashion if those who have the most to gain from it are making the rules.” The first critical paper is authored by Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Kirsi Laitala, Lisbeth Løvbak Berg (all SIFO, OsloMet), Tone Skårdal Tobiasson (NICE Fashion/UCRF), Jens Måge (Norwegian Waste Management and Recycling Association) and Kerli Kant Hvass (Revaluate/Aalborg University).

The SIFO Clothing Research team who are all co-authors: Kirsi Laitala, Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Ingun Grimstad Klepp.