Small But Perfect Toolkit 7: Policy Advocacy for Entrepreneurs

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Policy Advocacy for Entrepreneurs

Circular Business Models 1 2023

The content of this report represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

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With the contribution of the COSME Programme of the European Union.
Policy Advocacy for Entrepreneurs 3 4 7 8 9 10 Background Case study Goals and potential shifts Reflection exercise Further resources and references Contents


What is advocacy? How does the EU work?

Advocacy is trying to influence politics to: Change public attitudes and behavior, change the institutional policy and practice and increase the power and influence for marginalized persons and groups. It can also have as a goal to change in the political process or system. The term advocacy that can be seen as an umbrella term including campaigning, lobbying, creating and maintaining coalitions and outreach to the media.

The European Commission has the power to initiate legislation and the European Parliament and the Council of the EU are co-legislators meaning that they typically need to agree on a proposal for it to become legislation.

Often the best chance of influence is before the Commission has come with a legislative proposal. After a proposal has been published by the European Commission it is important to influence the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. In the parliament one or several committee(s) will be responsible for the file and be leading the work to find a compromise that the parliament can agree on.

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Policy Advocacy for Entrepreneurs 5 Economic and Social Committee European Parliament Committee of the Regions European
EU Interest EU Citizens Advice Decision European
Central Bank European Court of Auditors European Court of Justice European Council The Council of the
Member States

What is happening in the EU at the moment?

In March 2022 the European Commission published the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. The strategy is not a legislation in itself but shows the ambition of the European Commission in making the textile sector more sustainable and circular. It includes references to some legislative proposals and also highlight key non legislative files. The main legislation highlighted in the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles is the Eco-design regulation, that will set productspecific eco-design requirements on among other things durability, reusability and reparability. It also includes provision on the disclosure relating to the destruction of unsold textiles, extended producer responsibility and intends to tackle microplastics pollution. It additionally introduces a Digital Product Passport.

The other main legislation referred to in the textile strategy is the proposed Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) which was launched before the textile strategy in February. It builds on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines and sets requirements for big companies to do due diligence on Human Rights and the environment. For the directive to have substantial impact for the human rights in textile supply chains the narrow scope of excluding SMEs is a big challenge.

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Case study

The Garment Worker Protection Act

Los Angeles is the largest fashion manufacturing hub in the United States, and the COVID-19 lockdowns put thousands of L.A. garment workers in economic and health crises. Outbreaks spread through factories with insufficient distancing measures in place, while many workers lost their jobs or were denied pay when brands cancelled their orders. Garment workers came together under the leadership of the Garment Worker Center while Remake created a business coalition and led social media campaigns around S.B. 62. Remake gathered signatures from 158

brands—including Reformation, Eileen Fisher, Mara Hoffman, Dôen, Another Tomorrow, and the denim mill Saitex—to illustrate the business case. After two years, thousands of phone calls, and a precarious recall election, California finally passed Senate Bill 62 known as the Garment Worker Protection Act. The Garment Worker Protection Act (SB62) will ensure minimum wage for garment workers both by ending the piecerate system of pay and by holding brands accountable for garment makers. The bill is powerful precisely because it mandates joint liability for brands.

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Goals and potential shift

How can you practically get involved?

Public campaigns

Supporting or creating a public campaign using mechanisms like the UK government’s petition website or a European Citizens’ Initiative, where EU citizens can call for EU legislation by submitting a legal proposal to the European commission and collecting 1 million signatures from EU citizens. Examples include brands supporting the Garment Worker Protection Act (SB62).

Legal action

Taking governments to court based on the lack of legal action.

Governmental advocacy

Joining coalitions and working groups on sustainability issues. Examples include the pathway to green transition, the EU textile strategy coalitions. To engage in advocacy, you can submit during the consultation phase/ support demands from coalitions and add your company logo to open letters to the European Commission. You can also reach out directly to Members of the European Parliament or Members of Parliament in your own country to influence their stance on specific issues

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Reflection exercise

There is a great potential for SMEs that are passionate for fair, sustainable, and circular textiles to be engaged in advocacy. The actors in the EU tend to listen more when the private sector asks for change.

To see how you want to get engage:

Write up 5 things that you find the biggest structural problems in the textile sector (connected to fairness sustainability or circularity)

Choose the biggest problem

Think about what possibilities there are to change this with political action and who are the central actors

Choose the best advocacy or campaigning strategies to influence the actors you have identified as central

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1. 2. 3. 4.

Further resources & references

The textile strategy html?uri=cellar:9d2e47d1-b0f311ec-83e1-01aa75ed71a1.0001.02/


Consultations for the EU consultations_en you can search for keywords and subscribe to get notifications when there are new consultations

Shadow strategy on fair and sustainable textiles uploads/2020/04/Civil-SocietyEuropean-Strategy-for-SustainableTextiles.pdf

Signatories asking for a living wage and income in the corporate sustainability due diligence directive: uploads/2022/05/Letter-InclusionLiving-Wage-Income-in-EU-CSDDD.pdf

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