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IHKIB: Green Transformation Journey of the Turkish Apparel Industry (c) Istanbul Apparel Exporters' Association (IHKIB)
TIM and IHKIB President Mustafa Gültepe
05.02.2024

IHKIB: Green Transformation Journey of the Turkish Apparel Industry

The fashion industry, which has strategic importance for the Turkish economy with its value-added production, employment, and exports, came together with representatives of global brands and Laison offices at the 'Green transformation' summit. At the meeting hosted by the Istanbul Apparel Exporters' Association (IHKIB), the studies carried out in the process of adaptation to the Green Deal were put under the spotlight, and the expectations of the Turkish fashion industry from the stakeholders were also expressed.

The opening of the meeting, attended by representatives of relevant ministries and foreign representations, national and international fund providers, as well as brands and buying groups were brought together, was made by Türkiye Exporters Assembly (TIM) and IHKIB President Mustafa Gültepe. In his speech, Gültepe underlined Türkiye's importance in the global apparel industry, by realizing approximately 3.5 percent of world apparel exports. Gültepe continued as follows:

The fashion industry, which has strategic importance for the Turkish economy with its value-added production, employment, and exports, came together with representatives of global brands and Laison offices at the 'Green transformation' summit. At the meeting hosted by the Istanbul Apparel Exporters' Association (IHKIB), the studies carried out in the process of adaptation to the Green Deal were put under the spotlight, and the expectations of the Turkish fashion industry from the stakeholders were also expressed.

The opening of the meeting, attended by representatives of relevant ministries and foreign representations, national and international fund providers, as well as brands and buying groups were brought together, was made by Türkiye Exporters Assembly (TIM) and IHKIB President Mustafa Gültepe. In his speech, Gültepe underlined Türkiye's importance in the global apparel industry, by realizing approximately 3.5 percent of world apparel exports. Gültepe continued as follows:

"As IHKIB, we aim to increase our current annual exports, which are around $20 billion, to $40 billion. The road to the goal goes through Europe and America because the European Union is our largest market in apparel. We export 60 percent of our total apparel exports to EU countries. When we add other European countries and the USA, the ratio approaches 75 percent. While working on alternatives for the $40 billion in exports, we need to focus more on the European and U.S. markets because, as the data shows, the path to $40 billion in apparel exports goes through Europe and the U.S. We already have long-standing collaborations with brands centered in Europe and America. With our knowledge, speed, production quality, design power, and geographical proximity to Europe, we distinguish ourselves from competitors. We took a very important step in the transformation process exactly one year ago. We shared our action plan, which is a road map for our fashion industry's compliance with the Green Deal, with the public on January 30, 2023."

After Mustafa Gültepe's opening speech, Euratex Director General Dirk Vantyghem, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Trade Bahar Güçlü, and Deputy Secretary General of ITKIB Özlem Güneş made presentations regarding the ongoing efforts in the Green Deal process.

Dirk Vantyghem discussed the sustainability strategy of the textile and apparel industry and the expectations from the EU administration, while Bahar Güçlü provided information about the reflections of legal regulations related to the Green Deal on Türkiye.

Deputy Secretary General of ITKIB Özlem Güneş emphasized the significant opportunity that the Green Deal represents for the Turkish apparel industry, providing comprehensive insights into the efforts conducted by IHKIB regarding the Green Deal adaptation process.

Source:

Istanbul Apparel Exporters' Association (IHKIB)

19.12.2023

Euratex Manifesto: 15 requests for competitiveness and resilience

2024 is a turning point for the European textiles and clothing industry: From 6 to 9 June 2024, European citizens will vote for a new European Parliament and, based on the results, a new European Commission will be formed. In view of this important election, EURATEX publishes a Manifesto, presenting 15 requests which will help to ensure a competitive European textiles and clothing industry.

The textile and apparel industry is making a substantial contribution to European wealth, jobs and growth. Europe counts 192,000 companies employing 1.3 million workers with a turnover of €167 billion and over €67 billion of exports. Entrepreneurship should be recognised as the foundation for a competitive textile industry, offering high quality and sustainable products, based on innovation, creativity and design. European policy makers should recognise such role to textiles and apparel companies and have an open dialogue to create better framework conditions to operate in the internal and global markets.

2024 is a turning point for the European textiles and clothing industry: From 6 to 9 June 2024, European citizens will vote for a new European Parliament and, based on the results, a new European Commission will be formed. In view of this important election, EURATEX publishes a Manifesto, presenting 15 requests which will help to ensure a competitive European textiles and clothing industry.

The textile and apparel industry is making a substantial contribution to European wealth, jobs and growth. Europe counts 192,000 companies employing 1.3 million workers with a turnover of €167 billion and over €67 billion of exports. Entrepreneurship should be recognised as the foundation for a competitive textile industry, offering high quality and sustainable products, based on innovation, creativity and design. European policy makers should recognise such role to textiles and apparel companies and have an open dialogue to create better framework conditions to operate in the internal and global markets.

To realise that vision, the industry and policy makers need to work together on a mix of policy measures and initiatives, which are coherent and offer a transparent and predictable framework for our companies, and make them more resilient and competitive.

These policies should focus around four points:

Develop and implement a “smart” EU industrial policy
Europe should create policies which enhance competitiveness, instead of creating administrative burdens. To EURATEX, each new piece of legislation should undergo a “competitiveness test” to critically look at the impact of the new rules. Europe should also create a favourable environment to promote education and jobs in the industry. The EU textile industry currently employees 1,3 million people, 30% of which is above 50 years old. A critical bottleneck for the textile industry is to attract (young) people and make sure these people have the right set of skills, to operate in a changing textile ecosystem. EURATEX also asks the EU to invest in innovation and digitalisation as they are key to the European competitive advantage. Not only, as the last years have proved, Europe should provide companies with access to sustainable energy at lower prices.

No sustainability without competitiveness
The EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles is pushing our sector towards new business models with a lower environmental footprint. To realise that ambition, no less than 16 regulatory proposals are on the table, each of them with a different timetable, managed by different departments of the European Commission. EURATEX is committed to sustainability, but asks for economic realism. This set of new regulations needs to be coherent, enforceable, feasible and applicable for SMEs, and not push textile companies out of the market. Moreover, some member states are moving forward faster and some legislations will be decided at national level, creating fragmentation of the market. Such scenarios will hamper Europe and its possibilities to grow.

Ensure free and fair trade
With $224 billion in sold merchandise, Europe is the second major world exporters of textiles and clothes after China ($321 billion). It is therefore important that the global market should be open, free and fair for our industry to continue to thrive. Besides the support to FTAs in general, EURATEX wants to emphasise that all trade agreements should offer effective market access for EU companies and a level playing field in these markets. A free and open market should go hand in hand also with protection against free riders. The EU must always consider enforcement and enforceability when making new laws; it should also take action together with the member states for a better coordination with harmonised criteria for action among Customs Authorities.

Incentivise the Demand for sustainable textiles
Sustainable textile products typically come at a premium price, making it difficult for many consumers and buyers to purchase such products. Many surveys across Europe confirm that around 50% of interviewees do not purchase sustainable fashion products and the main reason is price. EURATEX believes that, to create a demand and help consumers to buy a (genuine) sustainable textile product, there should be standard requirements and fiscal incentives. Public authorities should also implement green public procurements, by increasing the importance of sustainability criteria in their evaluation grids.

Graphic: ReHubs
05.12.2023

ReHubs: First General Assembly

During its first General Assembly, 18 European companies and organisations have formally joined ReHubs. They represent different segments of the circular textile value chain and share a common commitment to invest in textile recycling capacity in Europe. Additional partners are expected in the near future.

Current ReHubs partners are BASF, Boer Group, Coleo, Concordia Textiles, Decathlon, EURATEX, Gherzi Textil Organisation, Inditex, Indorama Ventures, Mango, PEPPER-i2, Purfi, Ratti, Recover, Refashion, Resortecs, Rester, RETEX.GREEN and TEXAID.

All partners will support ReHubs Executive Director, Chris Deloof, to kick start activities in the coming months. ReHubs partners will elaborate together on further steps and activities for the forthcoming work plan and the development of the European Textile Recycling Roadmap.

Chris Deloof commented: “I am delighted to see such a strong group of organisations teaming up with ReHubs. They are a great example of how to establish a new circular textile value chain in Europe. We need to focus now on rolling out ReHubs investment projects and further expanding our partners and investors network.”

During its first General Assembly, 18 European companies and organisations have formally joined ReHubs. They represent different segments of the circular textile value chain and share a common commitment to invest in textile recycling capacity in Europe. Additional partners are expected in the near future.

Current ReHubs partners are BASF, Boer Group, Coleo, Concordia Textiles, Decathlon, EURATEX, Gherzi Textil Organisation, Inditex, Indorama Ventures, Mango, PEPPER-i2, Purfi, Ratti, Recover, Refashion, Resortecs, Rester, RETEX.GREEN and TEXAID.

All partners will support ReHubs Executive Director, Chris Deloof, to kick start activities in the coming months. ReHubs partners will elaborate together on further steps and activities for the forthcoming work plan and the development of the European Textile Recycling Roadmap.

Chris Deloof commented: “I am delighted to see such a strong group of organisations teaming up with ReHubs. They are a great example of how to establish a new circular textile value chain in Europe. We need to focus now on rolling out ReHubs investment projects and further expanding our partners and investors network.”

More information:
ReHubs
Source:

ReHubs

10.10.2023

Textile & Fashion Forum Helsinki 2023

The Textile & Fashion Forum Helsinki 2023, organized by Finnish Textile & Fashion and EURATEX, highlights the discourse on sustainable practices within the textile and fashion industry. This two-day event, scheduled for 26-27 October at the Little Finlandia event center in Helsinki, will include a day of curated company visits.

Finland’s leading textile and fashion forum will showcase the industry's pioneering companies and their pursuit of a sustainable and resilient future. With insightful discussions, inspiring speakers, and thrilling business cases, the event drives transformation and sets new benchmarks for the textile and fashion sector.

The Textile & Fashion Forum Helsinki 2023, organized by Finnish Textile & Fashion and EURATEX, highlights the discourse on sustainable practices within the textile and fashion industry. This two-day event, scheduled for 26-27 October at the Little Finlandia event center in Helsinki, will include a day of curated company visits.

Finland’s leading textile and fashion forum will showcase the industry's pioneering companies and their pursuit of a sustainable and resilient future. With insightful discussions, inspiring speakers, and thrilling business cases, the event drives transformation and sets new benchmarks for the textile and fashion sector.

The Textile & Fashion Forum Helsinki 2023 will focus on critical industry themes. The transformation of the textile and fashion industry relies on three key pillars: the creation of different circular business models matching growth with sustainability, a green and digital transition where information technology is necessary to deliver sustainability, and scaling the business, as how start-ups can make a leap and big companies can evolve their growth strategies. These three themes will be discussed in depth during the event.

The speaker lineup, drawn from Finland, Europe and beyond, demonstrates the expertise connecting on this platform. Noteworthy figures include Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko, President & CEO of Marimekko; Kai Mykkänen, Minister of Climate and the Environment of Finland; Marcus Hartmann, Head of Public Affairs & Sustainability at H&M; Liljana K. Forssten, Range Strategist at IKEA; and Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner (on video).

Source:

Euratex & Finnish Textile & Fashion

04.10.2023

Official launch of ReHubs Europe

At a kick off meeting hosted by Mango, EURATEX and 20 incoming members presented ReHubs Europe, a new international non-profit organisation poised to give a boost to the textile recycling. The launch follows three years of intense preparation, and the publication of a Techno-Economic Study, which analysed the business case, cost and environmental benefits for upscaling textile waste recycling in Europe.

ReHubs Europe will gather key players from the textile value chain - textile manufacturers, fashion brands, collectors and recyclers, chemical industry, technology providers - who welcome the ReHubs joint ambition to recycle 2.5 million tons of textile waste by 2030. This requires up to 250 industrial projects across Europe, covering different types of fibre-to-fibre recycling.

ReHubs Europe is the industry’s response to the upcoming EU legislation, which sets compulsory collection and sorting of textile waste, by 2025. To manage this, an upscale of recycling capacity is needed as well as a collaboration of different players from the value chain.

At a kick off meeting hosted by Mango, EURATEX and 20 incoming members presented ReHubs Europe, a new international non-profit organisation poised to give a boost to the textile recycling. The launch follows three years of intense preparation, and the publication of a Techno-Economic Study, which analysed the business case, cost and environmental benefits for upscaling textile waste recycling in Europe.

ReHubs Europe will gather key players from the textile value chain - textile manufacturers, fashion brands, collectors and recyclers, chemical industry, technology providers - who welcome the ReHubs joint ambition to recycle 2.5 million tons of textile waste by 2030. This requires up to 250 industrial projects across Europe, covering different types of fibre-to-fibre recycling.

ReHubs Europe is the industry’s response to the upcoming EU legislation, which sets compulsory collection and sorting of textile waste, by 2025. To manage this, an upscale of recycling capacity is needed as well as a collaboration of different players from the value chain.

Chris Deloof will lead ReHubs Europe as Executive Director. Chris has a long-standing experience in the textile sector and is a passionate advocate for cross-industry collaboration. Moreover, Chris is deeply committed to driving the transition towards a circular economy, which aligns seamlessly with ReHubs Europe's mission.

ReHubs Europe will operate from Brussels, in close partnership with EURATEX. Membership is open to any companies who wish to invest in textile waste recycling in Europe.

Source:

Euratex

13.07.2023

EURATEX comments ecodesign legislation

July 12, the European Parliament adopted its position on the Ecodesign Regulation, which aims to improve the environmental sustainability and circularity of products placed on the EU market, including textiles.

While EURATEX recognises the importance of accelerating the green transition and welcomes the progress on the legislation, it regrets the EP’s approach to target the textile industry in a Regulation designed to be a framework legislation for all sectors.  

Representing 160 000 European textile companies, EURATEX has been highlighting that a successful legal framework is based on an inclusive and feasible approach, ensures sufficient capacity and sets a timeline for businesses to adjust. Therefore, EURATEX welcomes MEPs’ call for tailored support and smooth transition for SMEs. Strongly advocated by EURATEX, the European Parliament also strengthens the provisions on market surveillance, which is a key element for ensuring level playing field for EU companies in the Single Market.

July 12, the European Parliament adopted its position on the Ecodesign Regulation, which aims to improve the environmental sustainability and circularity of products placed on the EU market, including textiles.

While EURATEX recognises the importance of accelerating the green transition and welcomes the progress on the legislation, it regrets the EP’s approach to target the textile industry in a Regulation designed to be a framework legislation for all sectors.  

Representing 160 000 European textile companies, EURATEX has been highlighting that a successful legal framework is based on an inclusive and feasible approach, ensures sufficient capacity and sets a timeline for businesses to adjust. Therefore, EURATEX welcomes MEPs’ call for tailored support and smooth transition for SMEs. Strongly advocated by EURATEX, the European Parliament also strengthens the provisions on market surveillance, which is a key element for ensuring level playing field for EU companies in the Single Market.

As businesses already face difficulties to navigate through all ongoing policy and legislative initiatives, EURATEX appreciates the efforts of the EP to ensure legislative consistency, the lack of which may only create additional costs and administrative burdens for companies. The inclusivity and transparency of the future Ecodesign Forum have indeed received a positive boost.

EURATEX regrets that the European Parliament has overlooked the plea for legislative coherence on substances of concern and for keeping the ESPR aligned with existing chemical legislation to avoid overlapping or conflicting regulation. EURATEX advises that social sustainability aspects should be addressed within the due diligence legislative framework.

Regarding the future Ecodesign requirements for textiles, these will have to be based on reliable data, and supported by thorough analysis and impact assessments. The requirements should be set out in the textile-specific Delegated Act and should be developed with relevant stakeholders.

As the ESPR trialogue negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission unfold in autumn, EURATEX continues to stress the guiding principle of “fit-for-purpose” rules and the balance between high environmental objectives and competitiveness of companies.

Moreover, on Tuesday 11 July, the European Parliament's position on Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) was adopted by MEPs with 396 votes in favour, 102 against and 131 abstentions. EURATEX expresses concerns on this text because of the inclusion of standalone finishing plants in the scope of the new IED. This creates inconsistencies with the recently finalised Textile BREF document (adopted in Sevilla by all parties), which regulates industrial emissions for both pretreatments and finishing plants. Standalone finishing companies, typically SMEs, now face challenges to comply with specifications which were originally designed for different and bigger companies.

More information:
Ecodesign Regulation Euratex
Source:

Euratex

01.06.2023

Euratex criticizes European Parliament: No balance between sustainability and competitiveness

June 1, the European Parliament has adopted its Report on an EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. The Report wants to step up the EU’s ambition towards sustainability and circularity even further, but it has failed to recognise the strategic role of the European textile industry to scale up sustainability, nor to appreciate the global competitive threat which our companies are facing.

Director General Dirk Vantyghem commented on the MEP Report: “We welcome the strong interest of the European Parliament in the textile and fashion industry, but encourage MEPs to develop a balanced vision which reconciles sustainability and competitiveness. Developing a new business model for our industry requires carefully crafted legislation at global level, and an open dialogue between the industry, the brands and the consumer.”

June 1, the European Parliament has adopted its Report on an EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. The Report wants to step up the EU’s ambition towards sustainability and circularity even further, but it has failed to recognise the strategic role of the European textile industry to scale up sustainability, nor to appreciate the global competitive threat which our companies are facing.

Director General Dirk Vantyghem commented on the MEP Report: “We welcome the strong interest of the European Parliament in the textile and fashion industry, but encourage MEPs to develop a balanced vision which reconciles sustainability and competitiveness. Developing a new business model for our industry requires carefully crafted legislation at global level, and an open dialogue between the industry, the brands and the consumer.”

EURATEX supports the EU Textile Strategy, as it was presented over a year ago by the European Commission. The 160.000 European textile companies are committed to invest in sustainability, develop new circular business models and produce high quality textile products – not just in fashion, but also in home and medical textiles, construction, agriculture or cars. To do so, indeed a new regulatory framework is needed, with clear definitions, coherent rules and effective controls. But also, the companies should be able to comply with these rules and remain globally competitive.

The EP Report has failed to respect that balance between sustainability and competitiveness. Instead, it suggests even more rules and restrictions, totally disregarding the current economic challenges caused by high energy prices, loss in consumer confidence and assertive trade partners. Putting the bar even higher will simply mean that the European textile industry will be pushed out of the market, resulting in a bigger environmental footprint and increased dependency on foreign supplies. Quite the opposite of what the EU wants to achieve with its open strategic autonomy plans.

The Report also fails to differentiate between textile products. There is a mix up between fashion and technical textiles, between products made in Europe and outside, between high quality and durable products and low-quality items. It is regretful that the European Parliament did not make that distinction and simply refers to “textiles” as a general cause of concern, without acknowledging e.g. the high quality products, made by European textile and fashion companies.

The Report puts a strong responsibility on the supply side – the industry and the brands – and does not sufficiently address the role of the consumer. Initiatives therefore are essential to create a stronger demand for sustainable textiles, which includes better communication and transparency (avoid greenwashing), fiscal measures, green public procurement and better control of online marketplaces.

On a positive note, the EP Report does recognise the importance to invest in research and innovation, to support reskilling and upskilling, the need of scaling up circular economy and pay attention to the needs of SMEs. EURATEX has always insisted that such massive transition can only be successful if accompanied by significant and dedicated support programmes. The EU Textiles Transition Pathway should offer a clear perspective in this regard.

Source:

Euratex

31.03.2023

EURATEX at 1 year EU Textile Strategy – Yes, but …

On 30 March 2022, the European Commission presented its vision for the future of the textile industry. The strategy mainly focuses on reducing the environmental footprint and promote sustainability and transparency in the value chain.

EURATEX has welcomed the publication of the strategy, as it recognises the strategic importance of the European textile industry, and its core competitive values of quality and creativity. At the same time, the association has warned that translating that vision into reality is a delicate process, as the industry needs to reconcile sustainability with competitiveness. Making the green (and digital) transition should make companies stronger; the benefits should outweigh the costs.

On 30 March 2022, the European Commission presented its vision for the future of the textile industry. The strategy mainly focuses on reducing the environmental footprint and promote sustainability and transparency in the value chain.

EURATEX has welcomed the publication of the strategy, as it recognises the strategic importance of the European textile industry, and its core competitive values of quality and creativity. At the same time, the association has warned that translating that vision into reality is a delicate process, as the industry needs to reconcile sustainability with competitiveness. Making the green (and digital) transition should make companies stronger; the benefits should outweigh the costs.

This premise had a serious blow by the Russian war in Ukraine, which erupted at almost the same time when the strategy was launched, and has dramatically changed the economic context. Energy prices increased by a factor of 10 (!), putting the European industry at a significant disadvantage with its global competitors, leading to company shutdowns or relocations. Extended lock downs in China and defensive trade policies in the US and elsewhere have further generated uncertainty on the market and disrupted supply chains.

Today, one year after its publication, EURATEX remains carefully optimistic about the implementation of the strategy, but needs to warn against some important pitfalls on the road ahead.

  1. Despite these turbulent times, the Commission is moving ahead “swiftly” in translating their EU Textile Strategy into (draft) legislation. At present, at least 16 pieces of legislation are on the table, which will turn the textile industry into a strictly regulated sector. The quality of this new regulatory framework is critical to the success of the strategy: upcoming rules need to be coherent, technically feasible and enforceable, and have a minimal cost for SMEs. EURATEX calls for a realistic timetable and “competitiveness test” for each piece of legislation before it is adopted.
  2. Textile companies need to be informed and supported to comply with this new framework. This requires substantial funding which should be earmarked exclusively to the sector, covering areas of innovation and digitalisation, skills development, support to start ups and internationalisation, as well as access to affordable energy. In this regard, EURATEX calls on the Commission to translate the current “good intentions” into concrete decisions.
  3. The EU strategy will not work if there is no demand for sustainable textiles, both from individual consumers and public authorities (procurement). Concrete measures need to be taken to offer a competitive advantage to sustainable and high quality textile products, e.g. through a different VAT rate, strict procurement rules, closer cooperation between the brands/retailers, producers and consumers.
  4. The EU strategy could also fail, if the global dimension of the textile industry is ignored. Up to 80% of clothing products are produced outside the EU; these products need to comply with the new framework, but it remains unclear how to ensure that level playing field. Market surveillance needs to be stepped up massively – also targeting on line sales – but this would require significant efforts from member states, which are not available as of today.

Despite these important challenges, EURATEX remains committed to the successful implementation of the EU Textile Strategy. Director General Dirk Vantyghem commented: “We want to be a global leader in sustainable textiles, building on the entrepreneurship, quality and creativity of nearly 150,000 European textile companies. Creating this new framework is an incredible challenge, requiring a close dialogue between the industry and the regulator. But if well designed and carefully implemented, it can set a new era for the European textile industry”.

Source:

Euratex

(c) Euratex
RegioGreenTex - Kickoff meeting
21.02.2023

New European initiative for SMEs: Transform textile waste into value

43 partners of the RegioGreenTex project met in Brussels to kick start a three-year project that should change the way we manage textile recycling.

Regions for Green Textiles – known as RegioGreenTex – is a quadruple-helix partnership initiative aiming at mapping and reducing the difficulties, which currently exist in the implementation of a circular economy model within the textile ecosystem across the EU.

RegioGreenTex will  support tangible solutions at SME level, where textile waste becomes a value. The project will contribute to maintain and develop jobs in the EU textile sector, reshoring the production in Europe and making the EU textile value chain more competitive and resilient. It will contribute to the EU Green Deal objectives of reducing carbon footprint, energy and water consumption.

More information:
Euratex SMEs textile waste EISMEA
Source:

Euratex

Graphic Euratex
16.12.2022

European textiles industry extremely concerned about the fast loss of competitiveness

  • Potential loss of competitiveness, caused by the EU’s inaction of the energy crisis, and Chinese and US subsidies to domestic industry

Following yesterday’s European Council summit and its conclusions on the measures to tackle the energy crisis, the European textiles industry is extremely concerned about the fast loss of competitiveness of Europe and demands urgent action to save the industry.

The chain of factors determining this sharp decline in competitiveness is twofold. First, the energy cost in Europe is more than 6 times higher than in the US, China, and neighbouring countries. This factor alone has almost erased the business case for producing in the EU. At present, many textiles and clothing companies are producing at net loss or have shut down production. The industrial conditions have worsened in such a way that there is no business case to invest in Europe or buy products produced or processed in the EU. It is only the sense of responsibility of the entrepreneurs towards the European society that is keeping the plants and production running.

  • Potential loss of competitiveness, caused by the EU’s inaction of the energy crisis, and Chinese and US subsidies to domestic industry

Following yesterday’s European Council summit and its conclusions on the measures to tackle the energy crisis, the European textiles industry is extremely concerned about the fast loss of competitiveness of Europe and demands urgent action to save the industry.

The chain of factors determining this sharp decline in competitiveness is twofold. First, the energy cost in Europe is more than 6 times higher than in the US, China, and neighbouring countries. This factor alone has almost erased the business case for producing in the EU. At present, many textiles and clothing companies are producing at net loss or have shut down production. The industrial conditions have worsened in such a way that there is no business case to invest in Europe or buy products produced or processed in the EU. It is only the sense of responsibility of the entrepreneurs towards the European society that is keeping the plants and production running.

Secondly, while the EU is passive and extremely slow in articulating a credible and effective response to the energy crisis, the main international competitors and trade partners (China, India and the US respectively) have developed comprehensive state-aid frameworks for their domestic industry despite not being affected by this crisis at all. The latest example is the 369-billion-dollar scheme of the Inflation Reduction Act rolled out by the Biden administration.

Recent trade data  already indicate a loss of global competitiveness: imports to the EU have grown tremendously in 2022 (+35% year-to-date). It is also evident that the surge in imports goes in parallel with the surge of natural gas price. It is expected that energy prices will remain high and volatile, opening the door for imports to gain substantial market shares in the EU.

The chart indicates the development of the Title Transfer Facility (TTF) until September 2022 since Eurostat data for Q4 2022 has not been published yet. Euratex is aware that the market situation has eased somewhat since in the past months, but the crisis remains because gas prices are still extremely high in comparison to last year. This suggests that the current loss of competitiveness of the EU manufacturing will not be recovered even with lower energy prices, unless measures are taken to correct the unlevel playing field on which the EU industry has to operate in the international markets. Only with an ambitious and comprehensive relaunch plan at EU level, Europe will be able to restore its credibility as a global manufacturing powerhouse and investments.

If the status quo is maintained, not only the EU will not be able to recover its competitive position on the global business stage, but it will also fail its plans to reach zero-net emissions and achieve circularity. It is evident that these ambitions - that the industry is passionately supporting - need massive capital investments. However, in the current scenario an investments diversion can only be expected to markets where governments are actively supporting those investments and energy costs are much lower – regardless of their fossil- or non-fossil origin.

The European textiles industry – the whole value chain, from fibres, nonwoven, to fabrics, clothing manufacturers - are facing unprecedented pressure deriving from the current geopolitical situation, the new macroeconomic conditions and unfair competition from third states. The situation is going to worsen if no emergency action is taken, especially because a recession is expected in the coming months.

The main structural component of the EU manufacturing are SMEs: these are economic actors that are particularly exposed to the current crisis as they do not have the financial leverage to absorb the impact of energy prices for much longer. Urgent EU action is needed to ensure their survival.

EURATEX calls on the EU political leaders in the Commission, in the European Council and in the national capitals to:

  1. Raise the ambition and adopt a comprehensive approach at EU level: energy, state-aid and trade policy must be brought together in a single strategy with concrete emergency solutions and with a clear SME dimension;
     
  2. Let all hesitations aside and adopt a meaningful price cap on natural gas wholesales, that should be ideally no higher than 80 euro/MWh. In parallel, it should also be ensured that electricity prices are brought to a sustainable price level;
     
  3. Change the European posture on state-aid, even temporarily. An ambitious plan of investments and state-aid in green technologies to support the industrial transition should be rolled out.

Such a plan, however, should not be conceived as a retaliation against our most necessary and like-minded trade partners. Access to finance and markets must be safeguarded for all those actors who are capable and willing to invest in Europe, on the basis of reciprocity. In   these challenging times for geopolitical stability, ensuring strong trade ties with our traditional allies and partners is of utmost importance. The roll-out of an investment and state aid plan should not interfere, but rather support, the dialogue with the US (and other partners) and the deepening of our trade and investment partnership. Such a dialogue should be accelerated in the context of the TTC as well as at WTO level.

Source:

Euratex

16.12.2022

IndustriAll Europe and Euratex: Joint SSDC Textiles & Clothing Statement

The European textiles and clothing sector is set for a major transformation which will affect both industry and workers. The EU’s strategy for sustainable and circular textiles aims to ensure that by 2030, textile products placed on the EU market are long-lived and recyclable with the industry moving from a linear to a circular business model. This strategy is accompanied with the EU’s transition pathway for a more resilient, sustainable, and digital textiles ecosystem linking the green transition with the digital transition while stressing the need for the sector to remain competitive.

IndustriAll European Trade Union (industriAll Europe) and Euratex, representing the workers and employers in the textiles and clothing sectors respectfully, jointly highlight both the challenges and opportunities of the giant forthcoming transformation of the sector and call for action to ensure that European industrial policy is fit for purpose and enables the sector to transform without negatively impacting workers or European industry.

Specifically, the European social partners jointly call for:

The European textiles and clothing sector is set for a major transformation which will affect both industry and workers. The EU’s strategy for sustainable and circular textiles aims to ensure that by 2030, textile products placed on the EU market are long-lived and recyclable with the industry moving from a linear to a circular business model. This strategy is accompanied with the EU’s transition pathway for a more resilient, sustainable, and digital textiles ecosystem linking the green transition with the digital transition while stressing the need for the sector to remain competitive.

IndustriAll European Trade Union (industriAll Europe) and Euratex, representing the workers and employers in the textiles and clothing sectors respectfully, jointly highlight both the challenges and opportunities of the giant forthcoming transformation of the sector and call for action to ensure that European industrial policy is fit for purpose and enables the sector to transform without negatively impacting workers or European industry.

Specifically, the European social partners jointly call for:

  1. EU action to guarantee that the European textiles ecosystem remains competitive, including ensuring a level global playing field.
  2. Measures to increase the demand of sustainable products including awareness raising campaigns, incentives such as lower VAT rates, and sustainability criteria in public procurement.
  3. Measures to ensure access to green and affordable energy.
  4. Policy gaps to be addressed, such as promoting a harmonised Extended Producer Responsibility approach across the EU and ensuring that SMEs can use Product Environmental Footprints.
  5. Action to ensure that the Sustainable Products Regulation and the forthcoming Digital Product Passport will offer a transparent, predictable and SME-friendly framework.
  6. Investment in attracting, training and reskilling workers including via concrete support for the EU Pact for Skills.
  7. Appropriate funding, sound metrics and legal incentives at regional, national, and European level to support the green and digital transitions of the textile and clothing sectors.
  8. Regional and national authorities to coordinate with sectoral social partners to ensure that the green and digital transitions are fair and just and do not leave the industry, regions or workers behind.
Source:

Euratex

20.10.2022

Lenzing: Ambitions in textile recycling

  • Lenzing becomes partner company of CISUTAC
  • New project CISUTAC, co-funded by the EU, shall remove barriers to circularity in the textile industry
  • Lenzing will make a contribution in cellulose recycling

The Lenzing Group, a leading provider of specialty fibers for the textile and nonwoven industries, is reinforcing its commitment to circularity by becoming a partner in the CISUTAC (Circular and Sustainable Textile and Clothing) project that is co-funded by the EU. The new consortium was established to support the transition to a circular and sustainable textile sector and, as well as Lenzing, the 27 consortium members include the industry association Euratex, textile company Inditex, PVH, Decathlon and non-governmental organization Oxfam. For its part, Lenzing is focusing on the development of recycling processes for cellulose.
 
CISUTAC aims to remove current bottlenecks in order to enhance textile circularity in Europe. Its goal is to minimize the sector’s total environmental impact by developing sustainable, novel and inclusive large-scale European value chains.

 

  • Lenzing becomes partner company of CISUTAC
  • New project CISUTAC, co-funded by the EU, shall remove barriers to circularity in the textile industry
  • Lenzing will make a contribution in cellulose recycling

The Lenzing Group, a leading provider of specialty fibers for the textile and nonwoven industries, is reinforcing its commitment to circularity by becoming a partner in the CISUTAC (Circular and Sustainable Textile and Clothing) project that is co-funded by the EU. The new consortium was established to support the transition to a circular and sustainable textile sector and, as well as Lenzing, the 27 consortium members include the industry association Euratex, textile company Inditex, PVH, Decathlon and non-governmental organization Oxfam. For its part, Lenzing is focusing on the development of recycling processes for cellulose.
 
CISUTAC aims to remove current bottlenecks in order to enhance textile circularity in Europe. Its goal is to minimize the sector’s total environmental impact by developing sustainable, novel and inclusive large-scale European value chains.

 

(c) EURATEX
11.10.2022

EURATEX and ATP: 10th European Textile & Apparel Convention in Porto

On 13-14 October, EURATEX in partnership with ATP is organising the 10th European Textile & Apparel Convention in Porto, Portugal; the convention marks also the 24th Textile Industry Forum for Portugal.

The Porto Convention – titled Sustainability meets Competitiveness: How to Square the Circle? – will look at how companies can anticipate the new European regulatory framework, embrace innovation, and develop a business model where sustainability becomes a source of competitiveness and growth. In the current economic, social and political environment, Europe is facing many challenges: increased energy prices, unforeseen inflation and climate change, which add to the day-to-day challenges of running a business. Embracing the European Union’s commitment to a green and digital transformation, the textile industry needs to also move towards a new circular economy where recycling is at the core of the design process supported by digitalisation, innovation and new skills, and creativity. The conference will address explore solutions to turn quality and sustainability into a source of competitiveness.

On 13-14 October, EURATEX in partnership with ATP is organising the 10th European Textile & Apparel Convention in Porto, Portugal; the convention marks also the 24th Textile Industry Forum for Portugal.

The Porto Convention – titled Sustainability meets Competitiveness: How to Square the Circle? – will look at how companies can anticipate the new European regulatory framework, embrace innovation, and develop a business model where sustainability becomes a source of competitiveness and growth. In the current economic, social and political environment, Europe is facing many challenges: increased energy prices, unforeseen inflation and climate change, which add to the day-to-day challenges of running a business. Embracing the European Union’s commitment to a green and digital transformation, the textile industry needs to also move towards a new circular economy where recycling is at the core of the design process supported by digitalisation, innovation and new skills, and creativity. The conference will address explore solutions to turn quality and sustainability into a source of competitiveness.

The Porto Convention will see representatives of national and European institutions, experts from the industry and like-minded entrepreneurs come together to discuss ideas, share experiences and find solutions to face common challenges.

Source:

EURATEX

Euratex
24.06.2022

EURATEX’s ReHubs initiative: Fiber-to-fiber recycling

The ReHubs initiative brings together key European and world players to solve the European textile waste problem by transforming “waste” into a resource, and to boost textile circular business model at large scale.

This collaboration is set to turn the societal textile waste issue into a business opportunity and to fulfil the EU ambitions of the Green Deal, of the mandatory texile waste collection by end 2024 and the transition into Circular Economy.

In 2020 EURATEX launched the ReHubs initiative to promote collaboration across the extended textile value chain and considering all perspectives on chemicals, fibers making, textiles making, garments production, retail and distribution, textiles waste collection, sorting and recycling.

In June 2022 ReHubs completes a Techno Economic master Study (TES) which researches critical information on the feedstock (textile waste) data, on technology, organizational and financial needs to recycle 2.5 million tons of textile waste by 2030 and to effectively launch the ReHubs.

The ReHubs initiative brings together key European and world players to solve the European textile waste problem by transforming “waste” into a resource, and to boost textile circular business model at large scale.

This collaboration is set to turn the societal textile waste issue into a business opportunity and to fulfil the EU ambitions of the Green Deal, of the mandatory texile waste collection by end 2024 and the transition into Circular Economy.

In 2020 EURATEX launched the ReHubs initiative to promote collaboration across the extended textile value chain and considering all perspectives on chemicals, fibers making, textiles making, garments production, retail and distribution, textiles waste collection, sorting and recycling.

In June 2022 ReHubs completes a Techno Economic master Study (TES) which researches critical information on the feedstock (textile waste) data, on technology, organizational and financial needs to recycle 2.5 million tons of textile waste by 2030 and to effectively launch the ReHubs.

EURATEX’s ReHubs initiative plans to pursue fiber-to-fiber recycling for 2.5 million tons of textile waste by 2030
According ReHubs Techno Economic Master Study (TES), the textile recycling industry could generate in Europe around 15,000 direct new jobs by 2030, and increase need for nearshoring and reshoring of textile manufacturing.

The textile recycling industry in Europe could reach economic, social and environmental benefits for €3.5 billion to €4.5 billion by 2030
“Transform Waste into Feedstock” announced as first project supported by the ReHubs, and aiming at building up a first 50,000 tons capacity facility by 2024.

Europe has a 7-7.5 million tons textile waste problem, of which only 30-35% is collected today.  

Based on the ambitious European Waste law, all EU Member States must separately collect the textile waste in 2 years and half. While some countries are designing schemes to face the waste collection challenge, currently no large-scale plan exist to process the waste.

The largest source of textile waste (85%) comes from private households and approximately 99% of the textile waste was made using virgin fibers.

Euratex  assesses that to reach a fiber-to-fiber recycling rate of around 18 to 26 percent by 2030, a capital expenditure investment in the range of 6 billion € to 7 billion € will be needed, particularly to scale up sufficient sorting and processing infrastructure. The economic, social, and environmental value which could be realized, potentially total an annual impact of €3.5-4.5 billion by 2030.

Once matured and scaled, the textile recycling industry could become a profitable industry with a total market size of 6-8 billion € and around 15,000 direct new jobs by 2030.

Next steps of the ReHubs initiative

  • A European textile recycling roadmap proposing Objectives and Key Results to recycle fiber-to-fiber 2.5 million of textile waste by 2030
  • A leading collaboration hub with large players and SMEs from across an extended European textile recycling value chain
  • A first concrete portfolio of 4 launching projects:
    - Transform textile waste into feedstock
    - Increase the adoption of mechanically recycled fibers in the value chain
    - Expand capacity by solving technical challenges for thermo-mechanical textiles recycling
    - Create capsule collection with post-consumer recycled products

The 1st project addresses current sorting technologies which have limits to identify materials with sufficient accuracy for the subsequent circular recycling processes. The “Transform Waste into Feedstock” project will focus on further developing and scaling such sorting technologies. The project group led by Texaid AG aims on building up a first 50,000 tons facility by the end 2024.

Source:

Euratex

Photo: Pixabay
30.03.2022

EURATEX comments “Strategy for Sustainable Textile” calling for a realistic implementation

Today, March 30, the European Commission released its long-awaited Strategy for Sustainable Textile, with the ambition to move the sector towards the path of sustainability. EURATEX welcomes the EU ambitions to act on sustainable textiles and investments, in order to change how textiles are made, chosen and recovered, but calls for a smart and realistic implementation. Many European companies have already chosen this path, therefore the strategy should support them in this process, especially considering today’s energy crisis.

The strategy recognises the strategic importance of textiles, which are not only used as apparel or furniture, but applied in cars, medical equipment, agriculture, etc. It acknowledges the European Industry pro-active initiatives to tackle microplastics, to solve challenges of market surveillance and the skills needs. More cooperation is needed for re-use and recycling of textiles and to set up an EU market for secondary raw materials. On this last point, EURATEX ReHubs initiative is developing proposals to size EPR potential, to transform waste into value, and create a new capacity and jobs.

Today, March 30, the European Commission released its long-awaited Strategy for Sustainable Textile, with the ambition to move the sector towards the path of sustainability. EURATEX welcomes the EU ambitions to act on sustainable textiles and investments, in order to change how textiles are made, chosen and recovered, but calls for a smart and realistic implementation. Many European companies have already chosen this path, therefore the strategy should support them in this process, especially considering today’s energy crisis.

The strategy recognises the strategic importance of textiles, which are not only used as apparel or furniture, but applied in cars, medical equipment, agriculture, etc. It acknowledges the European Industry pro-active initiatives to tackle microplastics, to solve challenges of market surveillance and the skills needs. More cooperation is needed for re-use and recycling of textiles and to set up an EU market for secondary raw materials. On this last point, EURATEX ReHubs initiative is developing proposals to size EPR potential, to transform waste into value, and create a new capacity and jobs.

The proposed “transition pathways”, which will translate the strategy into action, will be critical in this respect: how will these sustainability targets be reached, what will the cost for SMEs be, how can companies be supported in that green transition, what about the impact on global competitiveness? These are essential questions to be addressed in the coming months.
The Textile strategy is part of much broader package, including as many as 16 new legislative actions and other policies which will directly impact on textile value chain. In particular the Sustainable Product Initiative Regulation released on March, 30 includes game-changing provisions on Digital Product Passport, Eco-Design, SMEs and Green Public Procurement.  The Regulation has an overwhelming ambition and, to be realistic, it would require a new way of joint working between institutions and business, and which builds on lessons learned on data flow across value chains, interoperability, conformity assessment and effective measures to support SMEs.

If wrongly implemented, such an unprecedented wave may cause a complete collapse of the European textile value chain under the burden of restrictions, requirements, costs and unlevel playing field. On the contrary, the changes ahead can boom the entire textile ecosystem and create a model of successful green and digital transition in manufacturing, which starts in Europe and expands globally.

Already in 2019, EURATEX asked policy makers to work together and remove barriers to circular economy, solve the market surveillance paradox in which laws are made but not checked, and to help create scale economies to make sustainable textiles affordable, hence the norm.

For example, there are 28 billion products circulating per year in EU, which is an impressive task for market surveillance authorities including customs. EURATEX has been stressing non-sufficient market surveillance and it is actively working on solutions for a fair and effective market surveillance of textile products through Reach4Textiles. EURATEX very much welcomes that the European Commission recognizes our work and the need for market surveillance by establishing more harmonised efforts in the EU.

EURATEX also welcomes the establishment of the Digital Product Passport. It has a high potential to improve every step in the textile value chain, from design and manufacturing to recycling and purchasing. At the same time, EURATEX calls the co-legislators to take into account the role of SME’s in this transition and to put forward pragmatic initiatives, supporting SME’s across the EU in a systematic approach.

Alberto Paccanelli, EURATEX President, concludes: EURATEX calls for true cooperation with all policy makers and other stakeholders across the value chains to advise, pressure-test and use this opportunity for a successful transition. Our ambition must be to reconcile sustainability, resilience and competitiveness; we know it can be done”.

Source:

EURATEX

01.02.2022

EURATEX: High energy costs undermine crucial transformation of the textile and clothing industry

The current energy crisis is impacting on the competitiveness of the European textile and clothing industry. Because there are limited alternatives to the use of gas in different parts of the production process, production costs increase sharply. EURATEX asks the European Commission and Member States to urgently support the industry to avoid company closures. At the same time, we need a long term vision to move towards climate neutrality, while keeping the T&C industry internationally competitive.

EURATEX presented ten key requirements to Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, to develop such a vision:

The current energy crisis is impacting on the competitiveness of the European textile and clothing industry. Because there are limited alternatives to the use of gas in different parts of the production process, production costs increase sharply. EURATEX asks the European Commission and Member States to urgently support the industry to avoid company closures. At the same time, we need a long term vision to move towards climate neutrality, while keeping the T&C industry internationally competitive.

EURATEX presented ten key requirements to Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, to develop such a vision:

  1. The apparel and textile industry needs a safe supply with sufficient green energy (electricity and gas) at internationally competitive prices.
  2. The transformation of industry requires access to very significant amounts of renewable energy at competitive costs. Additional investments in infrastructure will also be needed to guarantee access to new renewable energy supplies.
  3. Until a global (or at least G 20 level) carbon price or other means for a global level playing field in climate protection are implemented, competitive prices for green energy must be granted at European or national levels (e.g. CCfDs, reduction on levies, targeted subsidies).
  4. As the European textile and clothing sector faces global competition mainly form countries/regions with less stringent climate ambitions, it is of utmost importance that the European textile and clothing companies are prevented form direct and indirect carbon leakage.
  5. EU-policy should support solutions, e.g. through targeted subsidies (for hydrogen, energy grids, R&D, technology roadmap studies etc.).
  6. A dedicated approach for SMEs might be appropriate as SMEs do not have the skills/know-how to further improve their energy efficiency and/or becoming carbon neutral.
  7. CAPEX and OPEX support will be necessary for breakthrough technologies, like hydrogen.
  8. The Fit-for-55-Package must support the European Textile and Clothing industry in decarbonization and carbon neutrality. The EU must therefore advocate a global level playing field more than before. The primary goal must be to establish an internationally uniform, binding CO2 pricing, preferably in the form of a standard at G-7 / G-20 level.
  9. EU-policy must not hinder solutions, e.g. we need reasonable state aid rules (compensating the gap between national energy or climate levies and a globally competitive energy price should not be seen as a subsidy).
  10. The European Textile and Clothing industry has made use of economically viable potentials to continuously improve energy efficiency over many years and decades. The obligation to implement further measures must be taken considering investment cycles that are in line with practice. Attention must be paid to the proportionality of costs without weakening the competitive position in the EU internal market or with competitors outside the EU.

Please see the attached position paper for more information.

Source:

EURATEX

15.09.2021

EURATEX Vision on the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles

EURATEX published their vision on the EU Strategy on Sustainable Textiles, reflecting the views of the European textiles and apparel industry. The goal is to promote a competitive and sustainable industry. to do so, wanting to be a global leader on sustainable textiles, the efficiency of the industry must be increase as well as the global market share.

The enclosed document presents 15 action points on how to achieve these targets.

EURATEX published their vision on the EU Strategy on Sustainable Textiles, reflecting the views of the European textiles and apparel industry. The goal is to promote a competitive and sustainable industry. to do so, wanting to be a global leader on sustainable textiles, the efficiency of the industry must be increase as well as the global market share.

The enclosed document presents 15 action points on how to achieve these targets.

More information:
Euratex Sustainability
Source:

Euratex

06.09.2021

Textile and apparel industry alliance closer to an international microfibre shedding standard

A sector alliance that was formed to tackle issues relating to microplastics has completed the next phase of its project to develop a harmonised industry standard for the supply chain. The Cross Industry Agreement (CIA) has revealed the results of a fibre fragmentation trial that has been carried out in advance of establishing a CEN Standard (from the European Committee for Standardization). Once confirmed, the standard will also become an ISO standard under the Vienna Agreement, providing apparel manufacturers and policy makers with a vital tool as part of wider work to reduce microfibre shedding into the environment.

A sector alliance that was formed to tackle issues relating to microplastics has completed the next phase of its project to develop a harmonised industry standard for the supply chain. The Cross Industry Agreement (CIA) has revealed the results of a fibre fragmentation trial that has been carried out in advance of establishing a CEN Standard (from the European Committee for Standardization). Once confirmed, the standard will also become an ISO standard under the Vienna Agreement, providing apparel manufacturers and policy makers with a vital tool as part of wider work to reduce microfibre shedding into the environment.

In 2018, five industry organisations agreed to join forces to proactively tackle the issue of microplastics, and signed the Cross Industry Agreement. The initial signatories were European industry associations that represent the European and global value chains of garments and their associated maintenance – the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E.), European Man-Made Fibres Association (CIRFS), European Outdoor Group (EOG), EURATEX the European apparel and textile industry confederation, and the Federation of the European Sporting goods Industry (FESI). Together, the five organisations understood that the very first step to enable global action around the topic, was to agree a harmonised test method which would allow the collection and comparison of globally generated data, to aid the identification of solutions.

The microfibre shedding test method was developed thanks to the joint efforts and cooperation of experts from 28 European, American and Asian organisations; the result was handed over to CEN in 2020. Since then, representatives from the CIA have been working with CEN to fine tune details in order to meet the requirements for a CEN Standard. To verify the reproducibility of the method, the partners have carried out a round robin trial (RRT) to determine if the method could be replicated in different laboratories and produce similar results. 10 organisations participated in the RRT, which was co-ordinated by the CIA, sending fabric samples to all of the laboratories involved and then collecting and analysing the data.

The results from the RRT show statistically significant consistency, both within and between participating laboratories, which demonstrates that the method is both repeatable in the same setting and reproducible in other laboratories.

The CIA has submitted the results of the RRT to CEN, with the intention that the CEN Standard is confirmed in the near future. Once that has happened, it will be promoted throughout the apparel industry and will become a key tool for researchers, businesses and governments as they accelerate efforts to reduce microfibre shedding associated with garment production.

Source:

Euratex