Held on February 8, at the headquarters of the Technology Center Inscope Inside Elda (Alicante) “Circular Economy: A More Humane and Sustainable Way for Companies” Conference. Organized by Inescope, the confederation of Spanish footwear industries (FICE) and consultant GrapeThe meeting attracted more than a hundred companies and waste managers from the footwear and accessories sector to learn from renowned experts what challenges the sector faces in terms of sustainability and what success stories they have managed to strengthen their business competitiveness. Implementation of circular economy.
Common legal challenges
European regulations on fashion consumer products impose recovery and remanufacturing rates on companies that are very complex for the footwear industry, as a single shoe can be made from up to forty different materials. In an expert panel consisting of Zonal Secretary Industry, Trade and Consumption, Felipe Carrasco; Raphael RhyoliteDirector Jerezkal (Collective system of extended liability of footwear manufacturer); Frederick LopezSenior Sustainability and Energy Consultant GrapeY Ana Belen MunozHead of Sustainability at Inescop.
The Regional Secretary advocated the importance of incorporating “sustainability as a competitive factor” that allows differentiation such as internationalization or innovation to act as a competitive advantage. However, the importance of the footwear sector appearing as its own sector was highlighted in the work order, because “a shoe has nothing to do with a t-shirt or pants, they are generally one product,” said Kereskal director.
For his part, Inescop's head of sustainability highlighted that many ways are open to companies to face the challenge of sustainability by betting on innovation, however, “an ecological design that thinks about the carbon footprint and recycling, is the first step.
Finally, Frederic López from Kreab explained that “the legislative tsunami will be an opportunity and important to know how to differentiate ourselves from outsiders”. Along these lines, the López legislator asked for “equal powers in terms of quality and consistency.”
Common legal challenges
References to National Footwear Industry and its Subsidiaries etc attack, Hispanics, Poveda textil, Sinthalest Y What do you think?, shared positive solutions implemented in their organizations to improve sustainability in the industry. One aspect shared by all participants is eco-design, which seeks to ensure that any product is designed by taking into account its carbon footprint and the recovery and recycling possibilities it offers after its useful life.
Consumer awareness from industry sectors is set as a key aspect; The ultimate public should be aware of the environmental development work behind the institutions and processes that protect the planet. Raising awareness among the political class creates an outstanding link, so that the whole society travels in the same direction and products imported from third countries comply with the same social and environmental regulations that European producers require.
“There is no one solution to moving towards sustainability, but many solutions; and innovation plays a fundamental role in all of them”, with these words, Inescop's R&D Coordinator Dr. Francisca AranIt urged companies to be part of the solution and bet on innovation with the help of the Footwear Technology Center.
There is no doubt that the footwear industry is immersed in a deep transition towards circular and emission-neutral business models, but there is still a long way to go. “Knowing the challenges will allow us to move forward and turn them into new opportunities for our companies,” Aron said.
Another message introduced by Francisca Arán, which makes a lot of sense with Inescop's full R&D reevaluation and recycling capacity, “we have to stop talking about waste because what we create are resources.” For them, Inescop has two shoe recycling demonstrators, one for mechanical recycling and one for chemical recycling, which will open soon.
The event that brought together the entire footwear value chain towards the end of its useful life was closed Elena Argyles, Deputy Director of Advanced Materials and Technologies at Inescop, sent a message of hope: «Today is not the time to talk about pessimism and recession; The footwear industry has always been resilient and bold, betting heavily on internationalization. We have significant challenges ahead, and sustainability represents a great opportunity for our sector to continue to be an economic engine.