— Yes, interesting event today, a packed room. We talked about the transformation that is currently happening in the global textile value chain and particularly how this is driven by EU legislation at this point in time. We are now seeing an unprecedented amount of legislation. I mentioned 16 pieces of legally binding actions now being designed and how this is impacting the business, the front runners, and the other companies.
And what are your key takeaways from the keynote?
— The transformation is happening. That’s clear. And there is a push and pull effect here. We see legislation forcing the value chain to change, because of the environmental pressure in textiles. We see a lot of innovative solutions coming forward. What I think is quite crucial is the need to scale this up, to go beyond the small scale in, for instance, a capsule collection from the fashion brands. And, as we also say in Brussels, to make it possible to become the new norm. For that to happen, it is crucial that different parts of the value chain collaborate more with each other. And we do see fashion brands collaborating more even with spinners or fibre producers, which is something that perhaps 10 years ago was way less common. This integration in the value chain, the stronger collaboration, is seen as one of the key enablers to go higher up in scale.
Yes, what needs to be done in order to achieve this scaling? New consumer demands from end consumers? Legislation?
— There is a role to play for everybody. The policymakers need to do quality legislation and consider all aspects — not just very ambitious goals, but also real implementability. This impact also on the competitiveness of the companies. They need to make products in a different way and be more sustainable. And we need to help those who are lagging behind or are now initiating this journey and also learn what best practices can be used to inspire. And, it’s clear that we need to inform consumers better. There has to be a demand for more sustainable products. Nowadays, we still see price is still the major driver — price and comfort, price and aesthetic — for consumers to choose sustainable products. Sustainability is not yet on top of the agenda; when people buy things, they don’t check the sustainability — at least not the large majority. Finally, the state also has a role to play, because authorities and organisations do purchase a lot of textile products and services. They can also, for public procurement, increase the demand for more sustainable products. There is a role for everyone.
What are the next steps that ventures and entrepreneurs and the industry should focus on? And, it’s also different for bigger corporations and SMEs.
— As mentioned earlier, there are some really ground-breaking rules which are now being designed. As an industry association, we need to advise the policymakers to do that. So, we need to have inputs and ideas from the companies. Both the large ones, which of course have a very strong leverage power and can take initiative, but also the smaller companies, the SMEs. Be mindful that over the next year, a lot of the legislation is now being designed on eco-design, on systems to cover the cost of the textile waste disposals, and most probably will be completed. So, it is now the time to look at this legislation and provide inputs, to make it happen.