Norway has challenged the European Union's planned changes for fashion labels in what has already been hailed a major 'breakthrough' for the Australian wool industry.
The historic move calls into question the current environmental method for classifying textiles which threatened to downgrade wool and even cotton in favour of man-made polyester and acrylics.
Years of lobbying and millions of dollars have been spent trying to convince the EU not to snub natural fibres.
Australian Wool Innovation said the issue was so vital to Australian farmers it needed an experienced hand like former CEO Stuart McCullough to be sent to Europe to lead the fight.
The historic move calls into question the current environmental assessment method for textiles in Europe that use the Higg Materials Sustainability Index tool.
The Higg Index itself was born over a decade ago amid rising emphasis among consumers on sustainability, environmental and animal welfare concerns by some of the world's largest fashion brands.
It has been an influential rating system assessing the environmental impact of all sorts of fabrics and materials.
It strongly favours synthetic material made from fossil fuels over natural ones like cotton, wool or leather.
The fast fashion giant H&M for instance, displays what is calls the Higg-based sustainability profiles alongside some of its products.
But now those ratings are coming under fire from independent experts as well as representatives from natural fibre industries such as Australian Wool Innovation, who claim the index is being used to portray the increasing use of synthetics as environmentally desirable despite questions over synthetics environmental toll.
AWI CEO John Roberts said the move is a major breakthrough for the wool industry.
"This is the first time that I can recall that a government jurisdiction has called something out like this," Mr Roberts said.
"In this case it is the NCA that has actually gone to a brand and said, "stop making these claims".
The NCA took the Norwegian brand, Norrona, to task, ruling that the outwear brand can no longer use the data from the Higg Index to back up their environmental claims.
"They claim it is misleading, and constitutes greenwashing," Mr Roberts said.
"They have also now warned mega brand H&M on using the Higg index which is quite significant.
"The New York Times are running articles on this, various fashion publications are on to this.....and now government jurisdictions are calling it out."
He said the move had already got the attention of other jurisdictions.
"It is a small step, but Norway is very influential in terms of their eco-friendly brands," Mr Roberts said.
"They like to be considered that way. A lot of other brands look to them."
This current ruling also implicates the European Union's proposed Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) legislation for textiles, due to it being founded on Higg methodology.
AWI's Program Manager for Fibre Advocacy and Eco Credentials Angus Ireland has been working with The International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO), pushing for more accurate representation of the environmental footprint of textiles, based on proven science, in particular, wool.
Mr Roberts said the industry still has a long way to go when it comes to changing the outcome of proposed EU labelling laws, set to disadvantage wool and natural fibres.
"But Norway are part of the EU and the PEF is part of the 'green deal' under the EU, so it is showing that certain people are starting to question this," Mr Roberts said.
In a letter to various fashion brands, NCA CEO Trond Rnningen said the textile industry must be aware that marketing of environmental benefits, which is based on the industry tool Higg MSI, can easily be considered misleading and illegal marketing.
"When the clothing industry and others use environmental claims in marketing, it is important that the environmental claims are correct," Mr Rnningen said.
....when the clothing industry and others use environmental claims in marketing, it is important that the environmental claims are correct- NCA CEO Trond Rnningen
"It is a basic principle that marketing should be truthful and give the most balanced and precise impression of any environmental benefits. If not, consumers risk making purchasing choices on the wrong basis.
"A consequence of this is that businesses must be able to document to the NCA that the allegations they make are correct.
"If companies do not have such documentation, or not sufficiently accurate documentation, the marketing will easily be considered misleading and will be prohibited."
Various companies have been warned by NCA regarding advertising that has no documentation to underpin their marketing claims.
The Higg tool only measures the environmental impact of different types of textiles until the point of sale, not the entire environmental impact of a finished garment you buy in store.
This "measurement" is based on average figures for the environmental impact of the various types of textiles that have been sourced from different regions and countries in the world.
It measures all the energy, carbon emission and in wool's case, the methane.
Then measurement basically stops after production.
"A proper environmental footprint should talk about the full lifetime of a garment," Mr Roberts said.
"Once you start looking at the full lifetime of the garment, including what happens after you have dispensed with the garment, then it is a different story.
"When someone owns a wool garment, they will wash it a lot less, they don't use heat, they use a cold wash, using less energy.
"There are also no micro-plastics coming from natural fibres such as wool.
"When you buy a wool garment, it will last you a lot longer, therefore less energy to make another one and then probably the most important thing is they don't measure after the garment has been thrown out, and wool biodegrades."
Whilst the European Commission's Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) proposal aims to measure the environmental impacts of all clothing life stages, the accounting methodology is currently incomplete.
It downplays or excludes critical environmental impacts and does not reflect the EU's own sustainability and circularity goals.
The "Make the Label Count" campaign continues to educate the greater textile industry about the true and lasting benefits of wool as a natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre.
Dalena White, Secretary General of the International Wool Textile Organisation and Make the Label Count co-spokesperson said there has been major advancements in research and knowledge around the environmental impacts of the textile industry, but they aren't yet included in the current PEF methodology.
"If the Commission proceeds to use the PEF without updating it, the fashion and textile industry won't make the green transition we all want to see," Ms White said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.