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The Law is Changing: Is Your Fashion Business Prepared?

The UK has long been leading the way in reducing plastic waste in domestic environments. Now, it is pioneering critical change in the commercial sector, too.

Over the past few years, a number of amendments to the UK packaging waste regulations have been proposed. And now, the first legislative changes are beginning to be rolled out.

On 1st April this year, we saw the launch of Plastic Packaging Tax, or PPT, requiring businesses to pay £200 per tonne for the use of plastic packaging consisting of less than 30% recycled materials.

We are just months away from the next momentous change – Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) reporting – due to be introduced on 1st January 2023. So, is your fashion business prepared?

Introducing Extended Producer Responsibility

From 1st January 2023, any fashion business that either handles packaging or supplies packaging will be required by law to report on the type of packaging used. The first reports for packaging used throughout 2023 will be required by the end of 2024.

The reason for the change is to ensure greater transparency across the fashion industry. It means that authorities, retailers, and consumers will be able to quickly and easily see what sort of packaging is being used to transport goods, helping Governments make strategic decisions for the future. It is also intended to support retailers and consumers as they strive to partner with and purchase from businesses that share their own values.

For any fashion and related business that manages packaging – in any way, shape, or form – this means a need to understand and comply with a new collection of reporting protocols. It means that, now more than ever, fashion businesses must have a strong and robust strategy in place for collecting, organising, storing, reporting, and sharing information.

Preparing for Change

Your PLM or product management system could be adjusted to gather the information required for government plastic tax reporting
Adjusting record keeping in your existing fashion product management system is an efficient way for your teams to collate the data at source. If you have not got a product management system (or PLM) yet we would be happy to introduce you and show the principles.

It is clear that reporting requirements are becoming increasingly complex. And the last thing that any fashion business should be doing right now is making things more difficult than they already are. That is why smart organisations are preparing for change in the simplest viable way: by using their existing systems to ensure compliance.

Perhaps the natural response to EPR reporting is to implement new systems that are specifically designed to collect, store, and share the necessary data. The risk of doing so, however, is that businesses are then dealing with separate systems and siloed data; exactly the sort of thing the industry has been trying to shift away from.

That’s why utilising already established and comprehensive product management systems – like WFX – could be key to preparing for change in the most efficient and effective way. These cloud-based systems allow for all fashion product, packaging, and sourcing information to be stored, accessed, and shared through a single system, keeping all your product related data in one place. That way your teams can gather and store the required data in the same place they would run the rest of the product development processes.

The risk of non-compliance could be devastating to fashion businesses, especially at a time when the world is only just starting to recover from the chain of catastrophic and disruptive events over the past few years. Failing to comply with either the PPT or EPR regulations can result in hefty fines and even criminal penalties, so organisations must be ready to adapt and prepare, with confidence, prior to the new legislation.

At its.fashion, we are pleased to be able to support businesses during this time of change, highlighting how leading product systems can be utilised to extend reporting capabilities and maintain compliance without disruption to all important day-to-day operations.

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