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Industry Talk

T-REX Project releases first white paper

Report offers a series of recommended actions to help foster the collective progress of the industry.

27th November 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Brussels

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

The EU funded T-REX (Textile Recycling Excellence) Project, launched in June 2022 with the aim of creating a harmonised EU blueprint for the closed loop sorting and recycling of household textile waste, has released its first white paper, Connecting Threads.

The project, which brings 12 major players from across the entire value chain, including adidas, BASF and Fashion for Good, is working to demonstrate sustainable and economically feasible business models for each step along the value chain, to transform  end-of-use textiles from waste into a desired feedstock, and new business models that can be adopted at scale.

An urgent need for effective solutions in end-of-use management strategies exists and the textile industry requires a digital transformation to enable this, ensuring enhanced data integrity and management, efficiency, scalability and system improvement.

Adopting digital systems in the textile industry can encourage collaboration and offer a wide array of benefits such as streamlined processes, enhanced transparency, data-driven decision making and the promotion of sustainability. Numerous challenges exist, however in transparency and standardisation of data structures and platforms, which must be addressed for the effective implementation of sustainable tools.

 In order to address these challenges, the T-REX Project has conducted an extensive analysis of primary and secondary data to explore the gaps and opportunities for digital solutions to enable circular textile value chains. The analysis focused on three key categories within the digital solutions landscape – Waste Mapping, Supply Chain Traceability, and Digital Product Passports.

Nine overarching themes have been identified;

1.Industry Alignment. There is a  strong need for the industry to move towards data equivalency through collaboration and the decentralisation of data systems.

2. Transparency. Industry players must  ensure that product and impact data is reported in accessible and transparent formats.

3. Trust Across the Value Chain. Each stakeholder must take responsibility for gathering trustworthy product data, building robust verification protocols and protecting any confidential information.

4. Oversaturation of the Market. The industry is awash with certifications/standards and data systems that, without alignment, can lead to a potentially counterproductive competitiveness among digital solutions.

5. Cultural Differences. Data collection and communication needs to take into account the global and complex value chain of the industry and subsequent cultural practices and norms.

6. Consumer Storytelling. Consumer confusion must be reduced through reliable product sustainability information in accessible and engaging formats.

7. Physical and Digital Infrastructure. A robust infrastructure that is based on physical and digital aspects is required, that can efficiently enable a reverse supply chain and product lifecycle through the use of product passports and other data carriers.

8. Building Capacity and Capabilities for Data and Digitisation. In order to make the much needed move from manual to digital practices, the upskilling of workers, through education, guidance and other resources, is key.

9. Communication across Industry. The industry needs to develop ways to navigate the regional differences in communication throughout the global supply chain and a lack of interoperability among data systems, which could be solved through a decentralised approach.

The white paper emphasises that all nine themes are enabled by factors such as legislation and compliance, certifications and standards, uptake of technology and financial investment, along with human resources. It also reinforces the importance of collaboration and alignment among all parties in order to foster the collective progress of the industry.

A series of recommendations for each of the key stakeholder groups including waste aggregators and recyclers, policy makers, brands and digital solution providers are made.

The white paper can be read in full on the project’s website:

www.trexproject.eu

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