Completed in May 2006 by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), the
Environmental Impact of Products (EIPRO) study was conducted from a life cycle perspective. Whilst textiles was not
identified within the highest areas of impact they did dominate across all impact categories with a contribution of 2–10 % of all consumption.
A study on the Environmental Improvement of Products (IMPRO) for textiles was developed in order to
identify technically and socio-economically feasible means of improving the environmental performance
of textile products. The objectives of the study were to:
- identify the market share and consumption of textile products in the EU-27;
- estimate and compare the potential environmental impacts of textile products and their value chain (life cycle) consumed in the EU-27;
- identify the main environmental improvement options and estimate their potential;
- assess the socioeconomic impacts of the identified options.
The analysis of the possible improvement options suggest that a significant reduction of impacts can
potentially be achieved by targeting consumers. In particular, some of these options would require
small behavioural changes. To achieve such changes it is necessary for consumers to be aware of
these issues, and it is imperative that infrastructural requirements can be met. Promotion of ecolabels, and examples of best practice cases, could be used as tools.
Concerning improvement options related to supply factors, it is more challenging to make an accurate
assessment and comparison of the improvement potential of single actions due to a lack of experience with emerging techniques. Nevertheless, the analysis suggests that significant improvements could be achieved by encouraging practices which can produce less environment impacts, such as the recycling of effluent water.