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General Assembly: Circular economy in European textile & apparel manufacturing


05 Jul 2017


Innovation & Enterprise


General Assembly: Circular economy in European textile & apparel manufacturing


On Thursday 8 June 2017, about 100 delegates attended the EURATEX General Assembly con-ference on Circular Economy in textile & apparel manufacturing. Four committed companies and Mr Grzegorz Radziejewski from the cabinet of the Commission Vice President Katainen discussed the opportunities, but also the challenges for the sector. Drawing the conclusions, EURATEX called for collaboration to prosper and showcase art in the circular economy.

Mr Klaus Huneke, president of EURATEX, opened the con-ference by stressing on the three main areas the textile & clothing sector should focus on:

•          The importance of free and fair trade between key global trading partners

•          Sustainability, as value for the society and the “new quality” for many companies, which place it at the core of the business’ strategy, investments and a key factor for competitiveness

•          The need to intensify market-driven applied research to defend Europe’s position as an innovation leader in the global marketplace and the help that the RegioTex Initiative should play at regional level


Regarding sustainability and notably circular economy, Mr Huneke said that “is one of the biggest change in our industrial society and, just like the digital revolution, it has the biggest potential to positively impact our society. [...] Moving from a linear to a circular model, may change the way in which people use things, industries produce, the society uses its limited resources and dispose of waste, if any of it is left.”

The EURATEX President swiftly opened the floor to the European Commission delegate keynote and invited all participants to look into successful business cases and to reflect upon industry needs and collaborations.

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The European Textile and Apparel industry

A key European manufacturing sector made up of 177.700 companies, 99% are SMEs, producing primarily in Europe and integrated in the global value chains.

This industry is transforming since 2004 when it starts to move away from mass market com-modity goods to focus on high value, innovative and sustainable products and production which deliver garments to people as well as key materials for personal protection, sport, auto-motive, aerospace, construction, medical, and many other applications.

Europe is the world’s second largest exporter of textile products generating €171 billion turno-ver and employing 1.7 million people.


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