The European Textile and Fashion industry (Euratex) held a meeting in Milan on 7 June to discuss the relationship between innovation, sustainability and people in the industry of tomorrow.

Hosted by Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), the Euratex meeting addressed the crucial issue of how to develop new competitive business models for the future, following the Industry 5.0 concept.

In 2021, the European Commission launched “Industry 5.0”, which puts the well-being of the worker at the centre of the production process and the use of new technologies to provide prosperity beyond jobs and growth, while respecting the production limits of the planet.

The keynote speakers, Francesco Pinto (chairman, Yamamay) and Claudio Cavacini (director of retail industry solutions and strategy, Salesforce), presented how digital transformation is affecting companies in the retail industry and how they should adapt to maintain their competitive edge.

In addition to this, a panel session of textile machinery manufacturers debated how their companies can help deliver this transformation through state-of-the-art machinery. They all agreed that it requires common efforts by all stakeholders along the textile value chain and public support to make the necessary investments.

Alberto Paccanelli, president of Euratex, explained: “Today’s discussions showed that we are ready to take up new challenges. Nevertheless, this transition towards textiles 5.0 can only happen with the support of all actors, from policymakers to retailers.”

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Paccanelli continued: “Today’s meeting was also the occasion to review the EU transition pathway for the textiles ecosystem, published yesterday (6 June) by the European Commission. The pathway is the perfect example of a co-creation process between European institutions and the stakeholders. We hope that other EU initiatives or legislative proposals will follow the same co-creative process.”

The European Textile and Fashion industry members welcomed the Textiles Transition Pathway as well, released on 6 June by the Commission, calling it a “valuable roadmap to ensure a successful green and digital transition.”

Euratex believes that this meeting in Milan is also the occasion to strengthen links with textile machine manufacturers gathering at ITMA 2023, the textile machinery fair being held from 8 to 14 June.

In its latest Spring Report, Euratex warns about the growing trade deficit in the EU textiles and apparel industry as the industry becomes more exposed to global pressures.