The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) has outlined five flagship initiatives as part of its strategy for the future of the bloc’s textile and clothing industry post-Covid.
The group says the European textile and clothing industry is ready to transform the crisis into an opportunity, and become more digital, sustainable and agile.
“European textiles and clothing companies proved to be essential to managing the pandemic, as a great number converted to or increased the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). But this strategic role goes beyond the past events, as, without textile materials, no cars, clothes, machines or buildings can be built. The last months highlighted then the necessity for the whole sector and its value chain to undergo a renewal process and enter the future more competitive and greener. The textile industry is ready for this challenge and developed a recovery strategy.”
Euratex acknowledges its plan requires considerable resources and a coherent set of measures, both short-term and structurally.
It wants the European Commission to endorse the strategic importance of the European textiles and apparel sector, promote the development of an integrated ecosystem with the EU and its neighbouring countries, invest in innovation and skills, and turn circularity into a source of competitiveness.
To assist, Euratex has developed five flagship initiatives it says will make the strategy “tangible and concrete”:
- The impact of this type of crisis can be avoided by organising guaranteed supplies and building resilient value chains in Europe for critical PPE and other textile products.
- The textile and clothing workforce is growing older, as 35% of it is over 50 years old. SMEs should upskill their existing workforce to meet a rapidly transforming industry and attract well-qualified young workers and professionals.
- We should invest in innovative and sustainable textiles through dedicated Public Private Partnership (PPP) at EU level. These PPP will pool and accelerate research, innovation, pilot testing and demonstration in critical areas, like digital manufacturing and supply chains.
- Euratex wants to establish five recycling hubs in Europe near textile and apparel districts and therefore make raw materials by collecting, sorting, processing and recycling post-production and post-consumption textile waste.
- It also says it is fundamental “to ensure free and fair trade for our companies.” A first step should be to promote the Pan Euro-Med as an integrated ecosystem, and exploit market opportunities resulting from other EU free trade agreements.
Alberto Paccanelli, who was recently re-elected as Eurtatex president, says: “This crisis showed the importance of our industry and now, more than ever, it’s essential to develop the competitiveness of the European ecosystem. The “EU Next Generation” package can play an important role and support the textile and clothing industry in its renaissance.”
Euratex in April urged the European Commission to come up with measures to help the sector get through the Covid-19 pandemic after a survey suggested one in four companies was considering closing down.