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Industry Talk

Laying the foundations in Porto

Preparing for a paradigm shift in European textile production.

25th October 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Porto, Portugal

Sustainable, Clothing/​Footwear

Organised by Euratex in partnership with the Portuguese Textile Association (ATP), the Porto Convention – Sustainability meets Competitiveness: How to Square the Circle? – took place on October 13-14 in Porto, Portugal, with nearly 250 entrepreneurs attending from all over Europe.

They discussed the current challenges of the European textile industry and established the keys to a bright future based on the foundations of innovation, creativity, quality and sustainability.

In his keynote speech, Pedro Siza Vieira, former Minister for the Economy and Digital Transition of Portugal, assessed geopolitical and macroeconomic changes and how they will impact, including nearshoring and friend-shoring, independence from foreign gas through the use of European sustainable energy, and circular and automated production lines.

A first CEO Panel addressing the theme of how to measure and communicate on sustainability focused on translating the concept to consumers. The panel explored the avoidance of greenwashing and the role of brands and looked at how the new European Commission regulations on eco-label, digital product passport (DPP) and product environmental footprint (PEF) will create a new framework.

The second CEO Panel examined the cost of sustainable projects and how these should be managed within the entire supply chain including the brands and retailers.

Four workshops with industry experts followed in the afternoon, addressing the themes of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), Digital Product Passports (DPPs), Recycling Textile Waste, and Product Environmental Footprint. As these initiatives will roll out in the coming years – as part of the EU Textile Strategy – participants need a better understanding of the future framework for the industry.

“To prepare for a brighter future requires a new regulatory framework, where quality and durability become the norm, where transparency and sustainability is rewarded and where free riders – who do not comply with rules and standards – are kept outside the market,” said Dirk Vantyghem, director general of Euratex. “The EU Textile Strategy aims at creating such a framework, which must be fair and balanced, and requires a close and constant dialogue between the regulators and the industry.”

During the second day of the convention, participants had the opportunity to visit the textile companies Têxteis J.F. Almeida, Riopele and TMG Automotive, as well as CITEVE, the Portuguese textile research centre.

“We need to attract creative people in our companies, we need to produce top class quality products, and we need to become more sustainable,” concluded Alberto Paccanelli, president of Euratex. “That is the recipe for our success in a globalised and highly competitive industry. While we face very tough times, I am optimistic about the future of our European textile industry. The rest of the world is watching us as we move forward with our strategy. We should become their benchmark and Europe should become a global leader in sustainable textiles.”

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