The Nordic textile reuse and recycling commitment was initated by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2013 as part of the Nordic Prime Ministers’ overall green growth initiative, The Nordic Region – leading in green growth. It is also part of the Nordic action plan for textiles aiming to “lead the way when it comes to sustainable design, consumption, and production”. The aim of the voluntary commitment is to engage stakeholders in commiting to common goals of reducing the environmental impact from textile consumption and increasing the competitiveness of the Nordic region.

The specific goals of the commitment are to:

  • Enable legitimate actors to collect, sort, reuse and recycle textiles in cooperation with producers, importers and authorities.
  • Eliminate illegal collection, export and trading of post-consumer textiles.
  • Increase transparency on the fate of collected textiles and the purpose of the collection and increase public confidence in collecting organisations.
  • Within then years double the share of post-consumer textiles that are collected separately across the Nordic region compared to 2012.
  • Strive towards a ten year goal of at least 50% of collected textiles are reused (in either Nordic countries or abroad) and that 90% of the collected textiles is reused or, where reuse is not possible, recycled.
  • Aim towards closed loop recycling rather than downcycling.
  • Ensure that all actors comply with third party verified code of conduct.

The volunary commitment comes with a code of conduct including criteria for environmentally and socially sustainable management of used textiles, as well as criteria for transparency and reporting. The code of conduct is verified by a certification system to assure that the certified organisations comply with the criteria. The certification system is now in its trial phase, read more under Trial.  It is currently not possible for actors within collection and sorting of textiles to become certified.

The certification will be beneficial for a number of target groups. For actors within collection and sorting of textiles, the certification provides evidence that the textiles are managed in a sustainable and legitimate way.  The certification facilitates for consumers to know that the textiles are really going to reuse and recycling.  The certification makes it possible for local authorities to identify certified organisations to make sure that textiles collected in the municipality is handled  in a controlled, sustainable and transparent way.

The textile commitment was further developed in a project carried out by a consortium of Nordic research institutes and consultancies (read more under Organisation). The commitment is now in its trial phase, and not yet fully operational. Browse to Trial to find out more.

Read more about the Nordic green growth initiative in the web magazine Green Growth the Nordic Way at www.nordicway.org or at www.norden.org/greengrowth.