Dated: 15 November 2023
Executive Summary of Loi AGEC Decree 2022-748
The French Anti-Waste Law or Loi AGEC (the “AGEC Law”) is an ambitious and forward-looking French law encompassing a wide range of requirements and obligations, spanning from broad economy-wide waste-reduction targets to more narrowly tailored requirements applicable to individual products.
Decree 2022-748 sets forth the requirements for one core pillar of the AGEC Law — disclosing information to consumers about the environmental qualities and characteristics of waste-generating products placed on the French market. More specifically, Decree 2022-748 works as follows:
- Products — The law covers many product types, including textile products like clothes, shoes, and household linens, as well as toys, sporting goods and product packaging, among many others (described as “covered products” here).
- Disclosures — When these products are placed on the French market, companies must provide consumers with mandatory information at the time of sale on a range of different environmental qualities, like the incorporation of recycled content and the presence of hazardous substances.
- Application — Whether your company is required to comply depends on the value and volume of covered products placed on the French market. Importantly, this means non-French companies must also comply, to the extent they sell into France, including through online websites.
- Compliance — Starting 1 January 2024, applicability criteria are tightening further, meaning companies with more than EUR 20,000,000 in turnover from covered product sales and that have placed more than 10,000 covered products on the French market in the last year will need to comply.
- Penalties — Failure to comply risks fines of as much as EUR 15,000. Although enforcement discretion is expected, fines can be levied for every non-compliant product sold, meaning penalty authority and risk is expansive.
Learn more about the requirements of Decree 2022-748 and the specific requirements applicable to textiles below, along with how you can use Vaayu’s DIY DPP tool to help you prepare your disclosures today, for free.
What Products are Covered in Loi AGEC Decree 2022-748?
Decree 2022-748 applies to “waste generating” products placed on the French market. The goods specifically covered are set forth in article R. 541-221 and include many of the existing French extended producer responsibility (“EPR”) product categories such as textiles, electronics and electrical equipment, printed paper, batteries, contents and containers of chemical products, furnishing elements, toys, sport and leisure articles, DIY/garden articles, and many others.
If your company sells into France and you are curious about whether your products may be subject to the law, consult the full list available here.
What Companies Are Affected by Decree 2022-748?
Decree 2022-748 applies to companies based on the value and volume of the covered products they place on the French market each year.
Specifically, the law considers (i) annual turnover for covered products sold in France during the company’s most recent accounting year and (ii) the total number of products placed on the French market annually. Your company’s totals under each of these elements determine when compliance is required:
A subtle but very important accounting rule must also be kept in mind: Sales of goods under any covered product category count together cumulatively towards the total. This means a company that has EUR 15 million in turnover during its most recent accounting period from the sale of textiles, and EUR 7 million turnover from the sale of sport and leisure articles, would have EUR 22 million in turnover for the purposes of Decree 2022-748, thereby meeting the first element for compliance starting in 2024.
The same principles apply for calculation of the total number of products placed on the French market, meaning the sale of 9,000 clothing garments and 2,000 sport or leisure items would result in a total of 11,000 covered products. Once a company is required to comply, it must then do so for all such products, including those for which only a small number are placed on the market (e.g., a fashion company that also sells a small number of electronic watches or toys).
What is Required for Textiles by the Loi AGEC Decree 2022-748?
Disclosure requirements vary for each distinct product type, meaning companies must take care in ensuring they are compiling the right data and making the right disclosures on the environmental qualities and characteristics of their products.
For textiles (including clothing, shoes, and household linens), several unique disclosures are required in addition to more standard requirements that apply regardless of product class. These disclosure requirements, along with a brief description of each, is set forth below.
- Recycled Content — For each article, companies must determine the percentage of recycled content incorporated within the product by weight, and then disclose that amount to consumers as part of the consumer display.
- Recyclability — For all product types, companies must determine the degree to which the article is recyclable. However, this does not currently apply to textiles, as the relevant EPR organization in France for textiles determined that no recyclability information should be communicated to consumers.
- Traceability — Companies must identify the country where the key steps in the production process occurred for each product, including weaving, dyeing/printing, and product assembly.
- Hazardous Substances — Companies must disclose the presence of a listed substance as identified by EU and French law when a threshold concentration level is met.
- Microplastics — If the product is composed of more than 50 percent synthetic fibers by mass (weight), a specific statement is required.
What is Required for Packaging by the Decree 2022-748?
In addition to the disclosure requirements for the textile products themselves, companies must provide separate information regarding the primary packaging with which the product is sold. This information must be provided within the same product sheet, but must be calculated and displayed separately from the information displayed for the textile product. Requirements include disclosures on the recycled content of the packaging, the recyclability of the packaging, and the presence of hazardous substances.
How Should Loi AGEC Decree 2022-748 Disclosures be Displayed?
Once required data are collected, it is mandatory to make that information available to French consumers (in French). This information must be made accessible electronically to consumers at the time of purchase through a “dematerialized” digital product sheet that is easily reusable and hosted on a website. While no mandatory format is required, the page must include the label “product sheet related to environmental qualities or characteristics” (again, in French) and include the name and reference of the product model at issue.
While there are a variety of potential means to comply with the requirement that this information be made available to consumers at the time of purchase, one logical solution is to establish product-specific information webpages (i.e., a digital product passport) that can be linked directly from an online product display page or via a QR code provided with a physical product sold in stores.
How Much are Loi AGEC Decree 2022-748 Penalties?
Failure to comply with the requirements of Decree 2022-748 are punishable by an administrative fine which may not exceed EUR 15,000. While unlikely to be exercised in the following way, enforcement authority is potentially expansive, as separate breaches can be triggered for each non-compliant product sold.
Additionally, the existing enforcement scheme for unfair commercial practices in France applies for misleading communications, meaning that penalties of up to 10 percent of annual turnover may be levied under French law, specifically Article L. 132-2 of the Consumer Code.
Digital Product Passports: How Can Vaayu Help?
Our team of sustainability and legal experts has just developed the Vaayu Digital Product Passport (DPP) Solution, the first free solution for creating DIY DPPs for consumer products at scale.
DPPs will play a pivotal role in the EU’s shift towards a circular economy by 2029, and our solution empowers brands to provide consumers with essential environmental information about their products — including recycled material content, recyclability, release of microplastics, and traceability of manufacturing steps.
They are crucial for meeting impending legislation requirements across France and the rest of Europe, including for the French Loi AGEC Decree 2022-748 discussed above and also the EU ESPR.
Get ready to use Vaayu’s Digital Product Passport Solution to seamlessly provide mandatory environmental quality and circularity data to consumers and share additional useful information like after-care instructions, all at the scan of a QR code.
Disclaimer: This Insight is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be relied upon or used as specific legal advice.
To be the first to benefit from the free Vaayu Digital Product Passport Solution launching later this year, sign up for early access. If you still aren’t sure how Vaayu can help you, speak to a member of our team.