ETC/CE Report 2023/5 The role of bio-based textile fibres in a circular and sustainable textiles system

27 Feb 2023

Jana Deckers, Saskia Manshoven, Lars Fogh Mortensen

The European textiles’ consumption ranks fifth in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and raw material use. Spurred by the aspiration to reduce these emissions and limit the use of fossil resources, the search for alternative, bio-based textile fibres is gaining momentum. While bio-based fibres offer great potential to steer away from synthetic textile fibres, the development of a fashion and textile industry relying more heavily on bio-based fibres does not automatically imply that it would necessarily be more sustainable. Up to now, many questions remain unanswered concerning the circularity of these bio-based fibres and their environmental impacts. This report provides an overview of important aspects and environmental impacts that need to be considered within the context of bio-based textile fibres.