European Textile Industry Sees Sustainable Production as Key to Future

Monday, June 28, 2010

I had the great pleasure of attending the General Assembly of Euratex in Brussels earlier this month, along with 160 textile leaders from throughout Europe. 

The theme for this annual meeting was “Sustainability in the European Apparel and Textile Industry”. Not surprisingly, sustainable production was all the buzz at the meeting -- even more so than organic, which surprised me considering how “green” many European manufacturers are to begin with.

In turn, support for a new business initiatives in the European textile industry was championed not only by industry leaders, but key members of the European Commission (EC) as well.  

Said EC Vice President, Mr. Antonio Tajani, “I will support industry as without industry, without companies and without SMEs, at the end of this crisis, we will not have the jobs and the growth that the EU needs in future. Therefore I will work to improve the functioning of the Internal Market as an instrument to provide jobs.”

Tajani went on to outline his priorities for the future European Union (EU)  industrial policy in general and the textile and clothing industry in particular. He highlighted six distinct areas that he expects to tackle with concrete policy measures in the coming years in favor of the industry and of the textile and clothing sector. These include:

- Stimulate more innovation as important driving force for industrial competitiveness with suitable EU support policies and programs;
- Promote a more efficient use of natural resources especially raw materials, water and energy;
- Reinforce framework policies and programs to create an environment conducive to SMEs activities (transaction costs reduction, clustering, access to finance, etc.);
- Implement policies to accompany the necessary on-going industrial restructuring and modernization processes;
- Preserve and promote an EU qualified work force, key for the maintenance of a European industrial capabilities;
- Work toward global fair trade for EU companies to preserve EU competitiveness (regulatory convergence; reciprocity in FTAs, etc.)

Summarizing his thoughts, Tajani admitted that it will be a challenge to reconcile climate change policies and industrial policies but that he is optimistic that such traditionally conflicting polices can be reconciled successfully.

Euratex is the pan-European trade association representing most major country-specific cotton, textile and apparel trade associations in Europe, Turkey and North Africa. An extremely well-run organization, Euratex not only represents the interests of the various national associations at the European Commission but is also a key provider of market information, trade analysis and technical services. To learn more about Euratex, please go to their website:

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