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Director-General International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF)
What kind of bottlenecks do textile manufacturers encounter in the times of blockchain, circularity, and sustainability?
For companies the bottlenecks are very often affordable access to capital, availability of technical and environmental expertise/knowhow or a combination of both. The new technologies are more complex and hence solutions more difficult and more expensive. The adoption of new technologies requires a good understanding of their potential and hence the respective benefits. It also requires more collaboration between partners along the textile value chain but also between textile companies and their fibre, machinery or chemical suppliers and/or service providers.
Which textile product categories is growing rapidly in Europe and in the world?
In general, the segment of technical textiles is growing faster than those of home textiles or apparel. This will continue to be the case in the future. In most cases, the value addition in the production of technical textiles is much higher than in the other two segments, thus justifying higher labour costs and the production in Europe. Looking at the global level, apparel and home textiles are growing strongly in Asia where a rising middle class will be consuming ever more textile products for many years to come. Per capita fibre consumption is rising strongly in countries like China, India, Indonesia, etc. The fast-growing retail markets are in Asia.
In a world rapidly moving towards circularity, what steps is the ITMF taking to create that umbrella wherein industry associations can move in a concerted manner to reduce the pollutant tag?
ITMF has become a signatory of the "Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Actions" which is an industry initiative under the United Nations Climate Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is a platform for brands/retailers, manufacturers, etc, to identify areas of actions and best practises to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, which can be shared among the industry around the world. At the ITMF Annual Conference 2019 we will have a session where the mission and objectives of the charter are presented and shared with the delegates from around the world.
The economy is in recession the world over and the worst hit-are the SMEs. Any thoughts on how to help these small yet critical players to tide over the tough times?
Difficult economic times are a challenge for each type of company irrespective of the size. SMEs might be more flexible and might react faster than larger companies due to leaner management structures, while larger companies might be more diversified and might have more options to react. To weather such challenging times, it is important to have the necessary financial strength/flexibility and to have a good understanding of the underlying trends in the textile industry. Understanding your customers and your customers' customers is crucial when it comes to product and service development. Likewise, it is important to work together with your own suppliers in order to be able to develop the best products in an efficient manner. The ITMF Annual Conferences offer a platform that provides that sort of information and of networks on an international level.
Where will the next ITMF annual conference be held?
This will be announced at the end of the 2019 conference. (HO)
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