EU Parliament officially adopts Right to Repair Law

November 28, 2023

On 21th of November 2023, the European Parliament approved a strengthened Right to Repair law with an impressive 590 votes

This legislative development, initially proposed by the EU Commission in March 2023, aligns seamlessly with the objectives of the European Green Deal, encouraging consumers to opt for repair rather than replacement.

The stance taken by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee not only supports an independent repair market but also broadens the scope of the right to repair to include bicycles.

The Parliament's forward-thinking measures encompass a one-year guarantee on repaired goods, the provision for replacement products during extended repairs, and the authority for market regulators to oversee spare parts prices. 

Manufacturers must adhere to fair practices by supplying reasonably priced spare parts and repair information. Furthermore, the Parliament is challenging phone makers by endeavoring to reconfigure their closed-loop systems, thereby paving the way for alternative repair services. 

Emphasizing the importance of affordable and accessible repair services, the Parliament urges member states to introduce financial incentives, encouraging citizens to prioritize repair over replacement.

The Impact of the Right to Repair Law in the Fashion Industry

The impact of the legislation largely depends on the specific provisions of the Right to Repair law and how well brands and manufacturers adapt to the changing landscape. Those proactively embracing sustainable and repairable practices may find themselves better positioned in the evolving market.

A Right to Repair law generally focuses on making products repairable and ensuring that consumers have access to necessary information and parts for repairing products. In the context of fashion, this could potentially affect items like clothing, shoes, or accessories if they are designed to be repairable.

If the law includes provisions for manufacturers to make fashion items more durable or provide repair information and parts, it could lead to a shift in the industry. This might encourage innovative sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion.

Implications of the Right to Repair Law for Fashion Companies

By officially adopting the Right to Repair law several implications for fashion brands and manufacturers can be expected:

  1. Design and Production Changes: Fashion brands and manufacturers might need to reconsider their design and production processes to create products that are more easily repairable. This could involve using materials that are durable and can withstand multiple repairs.
  2. Supply Chain Considerations: Manufacturers may need to ensure a steady supply of repair parts and materials. This might require adjustments to the supply chain to accommodate the availability of these components.
  3. Information Accessibility: Compliance with the Right to Repair law may involve providing consumers and repair services with access to repair information. Fashion brands would need to make guidelines and information available on how to repair their products.
  4. Impact on Business Models: Brands that rely on a fast fashion business model might face challenges as consumers are encouraged to repair items rather than discard and replace them. This could necessitate a shift towards more sustainable and durable product offerings.
  5. Consumer Behavior Changes: The law could influence consumer behavior by promoting a mindset of repair and reuse. Consumers may start looking for brands that support and facilitate the repair of their products, influencing purchasing decisions.
  6. Cost Considerations: Fashion brands might need to weigh the costs associated with making products repairable against potential benefits, including positive consumer perception, brand loyalty, and adherence to sustainability goals.
  7. Regulatory Compliance: Fashion brands and manufacturers would need to ensure compliance with the specific requirements outlined in the Right to Repair Legislation. This may involve regular audits and adjustments to ensure adherence.
  8. Market Opportunities: There could be new market opportunities for brands that embrace repairability and sustainability. Consumers increasingly value eco-friendly practices, and brands aligning with these values may gain a competitive edge.
  9. Innovation in Materials: The emphasis on repairability may drive innovation in materials and manufacturing processes. Brands may explore new, more sustainable materials that lend themselves well to repair and refurbishment.
  10. Extended Product Lifespan: Overall, a Right to Repair law could contribute to extending the lifespan of fashion products. This aligns with broader sustainability goals and may appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

How Fashion Companies get compliant with the Rights to Repair Law

Fashion brands and manufacturers can prepare for the potential impact of the Right to Repair law by taking proactive steps to align their practices with principles of sustainability and repairability. Here are several strategies to consider:

⚙️ Design for Durability and Repair:

  • Explore materials that are durable and conducive to repair
  • Design products with modular components, making it easier to replace or repair specific parts
  • Consider creating repair guides or manuals for customers

🔎 Supply Chain Transparency:

  • Ensure transparency in the supply chain, especially concerning the sourcing of materials and components
  • Collaborate with suppliers to ensure a steady and sustainable supply of repair parts

🌿 Invest in Sustainable Practices:

  • Explore eco-friendly and sustainable manufacturing processes
  • Implement practices that minimize waste and environmental impact

🎓 Education and Training:

  • Train staff and manufacturing partners on sustainable and repair-friendly practices
  • Equip customer service teams to provide guidance on repairs

🤝 Establish Repair Services or Partnerships:

  • Consider offering in-house repair services or partnering with third-party repair services
  • Develop a network of authorized repair centers to handle repairs

👩 Information Accessibility:

  • Ensure that repair information is easily accessible to consumers
  • Provide online resources, guides, or video tutorials on product repair

♻️ Adopt Circular Business Models:

  • Explore circular economy business models, such as leasing or rental services, to extend product life cycles
  • Take back and recycle old products to minimize environmental impact

📲 Embrace Technology:

  • Leverage technology to track and trace products, facilitating easier identification of components for repair
  • Explore digital solutions for providing repair information and guides

👥 Engage with Stakeholders:

  • Collaborate with industry organizations, NGOs, and regulatory bodies to stay informed about evolving sustainability and repairability standards
  • Engage with customers to understand their preferences and concerns regarding repairability

📣 Market Sustainability Efforts:

  • Communicate sustainability and repairability efforts transparently in marketing materials
  • Highlight the positive environmental impact of choosing repair over replacement

⚖️ Anticipate Regulatory Changes:

  • Stay informed about potential changes in regulations related to the Right to Repair
  • Participate in industry discussions and provide feedback on proposed legislation

🔄 Continuous Improvement:

  • Regularly review and update sustainability and repairability practices based on feedback, technological advancements, and changing consumer preferences

By adopting these strategies, fashion brands and manufacturers can position themselves to not only comply with potential Right to Repair regulations but also to thrive in a market where sustainability and repairability are increasingly valued by consumers.

How Sustainable Brand Platform can help

According to EURATEX there are 16 pressing fashion legislation that affect companies operating in the European textile & fashion industry today. With the European Union adopting the Rights to Repair law the grip gets tighter. 

While it has never been more necessary for fashion brands and manufacturers to set up a sustainability strategy to get compliant it also has never been easier. Sustainable Brand Platform can play a crucial role in helping sustainability managers become compliant with Right to Repair regulations and integrate sustainable practices into their operations. 

Here's how: 

  • Supplier Collaboration: Facilitated communication and collaboration between fashion brands and their suppliers to ensure adherence to sustainable and ethical standards.
  • Supply Chain Transparency: Implemented tools for supply chain transparency, enabling brands to track the journey of materials from sourcing to production.
  • Product Design: Product impact calculations through Product LCA or Carbon Footprint to design better products with repairability and durability in mind.
  • Compliance Monitoring: Communication about changes in regulations related to sustainability and the Right to Repair movement. Sign up to our newsletter!
  • Digital Product Passports: Our Product iD Card showcases material details, manufacturer processes and repair guidelines. Through QR codes on items, it provides transparent information on sustainability and repairability to end-consumers and stakeholders.
  • Benchmarking & Progress Tracking: Access to tools for data analytics to help brands measure and improve their sustainability performance.

By using Sustainable Brand Platform's services fashion brands and manufacturers can navigate the complexities of sustainability and Right to Repair compliance and beyond. Our solutions facilitate collaboration, provide essential information, and support the industry's transition towards more sustainable and socially responsible practices.

Ready to get prepared for fashion legislation compliance? Get in touch with us!

Katharina Lahner
Together with the Sustainability Success Team of Sustainable Brand Platform, Katharina is communicating the importance of data and collaboration in the fashion industry; matching the industry's needs for minimizing its environmental impacts with SBP's fashion-specific SaaS solutions.

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