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4th Euratex Convention focuses on sustainable innovation

An outstanding part of the event was the round table discussion among the managers of well-known European textile and clothing companies.

24th November 2015

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Brussels

Sustainable, Clothing/​Footwear

Euratex, the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, held its 4th Convention dedicated to sustainable innovation of the European textile and fashion sector on 18 November in Milan in conjunction with ITMA textile technology fair.

An outstanding part of the event was the round table discussion among the managers of well-known European textile and clothing companies. The CEOs of the enterprises established many decades ago shared their solutions for maintaining competitive manufacturing business in the EU.

The event included representatives of business, research centres, industry associations and media from more than 20 countries. In his welcome word, Euratex President Serge Piolat said: “To remain competitive, the European companies have to be highly innovative in their products and processes. Nowadays, sustainable production becomes an integral part of the companies’ business strategy.”

Current developments

The morning panel of the Convention was devoted to broad overview of the current developments in the textile and clothing industry. Gregorio De Felice, chief economist of the major Italian bank Intesa SanPaolo, provided a detailed analysis and latest forecast of the consumption trends in the global markets until 2020. Mr De Felice concluded that the main growth drivers for our sector will be domestic demand in advanced countries, favourable monetary policies globally and steadily low commodity prices.

Vladan Koncar (Ensait) and Guiseppe Gherzi (Gherzi Textile Organisation) spoke about new application fields and innovative production processes in textiles production. Both speakers demonstrated impressive examples of disruptive technologies of the future like 3D printing, merge between textiles and electronics and other wearable devices made of smart textiles.

Euratex President Serge Piolat opening the Convention. © Euratex

Rapid transfer of innovative technologies from research centres to the market is increasingly significant, underlined in his speech the President of the European Textile Technology Platform Paolo Canonico. He highlighted the importance of networking between innovation partners and the need of regional support structure. To tackle this challenges, the Italian Textile Technology Platform was created this year. Its President Alberto Paccanelli stated that the platform will establish an effective network involving industry, research organisations, public authorities and financial institutions to join forces and coordinate efforts in the field of research, development and innovation.

Successful sustainable initiatives

During the afternoon panel, three examples of successful sustainable initiatives were discussed. Christian Wieth spoke about Novozymes’s enzyme solutions, which support making better quality textiles in a more sustainable and cost effective manner. Enzymes allow producing clothes that look new for longer reducing water and energy usage and replacing harsh chemicals.

Jan Laperre from Centexbel technology centre proved by several examples that the textile sector is transforming into a sustainable industry – companies are applying biopolymers, natural fibres and new solutions for recycling. Resource efficiency is another major topic for the textiles and fashion producers. Stefan Schmidt from IVGT informed the Convention participants about the results of the SET project aimed to help textile SMEs all over Europe to improve their energy efficiency and cut production costs.

Round table discussion

During the round table discussion, managers of the well-known European companies from various steps of textile and clothing value chain (Thuasne, Sympatex Technologies, Lakidain Group, Varteks and Fil Man Made Group) shared their solutions to maintain competitive manufacturing business in the EU.

All the speakers agreed that buyers of clothes and other textile-based goods should become more responsible in their choices. Alejandro Laquidain, CEO of the Spanish fabric manufacturing company Lakidain, pointed out that consumers praise green products, but are often not willing to pay a higher cost.

European companies are eager to improve and invest in sustainability added the CEO of Italian Fil Man Made Group Andrea Parodi. Fil Man Made Group is experimenting with new yarns and applications and to check the quality of new products, all company’s plants are equipped with experimental laboratories. Mr Parodi stressed that the goods imported to the EU should also comply with the demands and mindset of Europe.

www.euratex.eu

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