02 Jul ATEVAL IS ENVOLVED IN ANOTHER CIRCULAR ECONOMY INITIATIVE, AS FOLLOW UP OF LIFE REWEART PROJECT
At early March 2021 the ECCP launched a new initiative to enable clusters registered at the ECCP to promote green transition skills amongst their members through technical advisory support by highly qualified advisors. The objective was that selected clusters shall be trained and advised on a range of green transition topics so they can support their cluster members (especially SMEs) to become more resource efficient.
The services shall be tailor-made and focused on the specific needs and challenges of each selected cluster.
The intended benefits of ‘Towards Green Transition’ include:
- Improved resource efficiency of European SMEs within ECCP clusters;
- Support for green entrepreneurship through hands-on technical advice and support;
- Best use of opportunities for greener and more efficient value (supply) chains; and
- Facilitated market access for green SMEs within clusters.
The types of technical support range from one-on-one teaching, guidance documents and direct consultancy to workshops and webinars. Resilient business models, sustainable investments, energy efficiency, waste management, circular economy and sustainable innovation are some of the fields beneficiaries will be advised on.
The winners were announced on the 3 May and yesterday, 26th May was held the 1st meeting with the 25 clusters that are going to participate in this initiative.
Most of these 25 clusters are industrials ones dealing with construction, energy, textile, green chemistry, advanced materials, transport, food, wood or sport. All of them with a common aim: support SMEs towards green transition. Ateval will participate in consortium with other textile European clusters in this initiative
The key ambition related to resource efficiency and sustainability is to prepare the cluster managers to be able to promote, advise and guide the cluster members, especially SME, in green transition practices and approaches, namely, increasing the awareness to green issues among top management and staff, incorporating sustainability in the center of the decision-making processes, optimizing the resources efficiency, incorporating circular and sustainable materials in textile products.
This cluster driven support to our members will facilitate that every company in our clusters can have a facilitated adoption of the principles of circular economy. In addition, this will boost the competitiveness of the European textile sector through high added value processes and reducing the resource-intensiveness. All stages of the textile manufacturing processes will be impacted thanks to the cluster approach.
The soar of circular economy will generate new business models that the clusters want to promote and embrace to increase the overall competitiveness.
The green transition is an unavoidable road to the Europe economy, considering the objectives of the EU Green Deal (COM(2019) 640 final) and the Industrial Strategy (COM(2020) 102 final). Clusters are an excellent tool to deploy the EU policy into SME support.
The joint key challenges from all participating textile clusters are the sustainable use of resources and the different business models to deploy circular economy.
Sustainable use of resources – Textile is one of the resource-intensive industries prioritized in the EU Green Deal. This is particularly challenging for clusters in supporting SMEs to:
- Considering the sustainability in their 3 dimensions (economic, environmental and social) as an integral factor on the decision-making processes
- Introducing the resources efficiency optimization in the design stage (eco design/ design for circularity)
- Selecting sustainability and circular materials duly attested (based in LCA, certification, etc,)
Fostering new business models based on Circular Economy:
- Promoting a circular flow of materials, allowing the use and end of life of textiles to be extended, while reducing the impact on the chain and the dependence on virgin raw materials and natural resources will require new business models to capitalize the investments, the circularity and the provision of new lifes to materials.
- Making circular economy-based solutions viable, choosing cost effective solutions integrating the whole life cycle.
- Enabling a circular flow that creates great opportunities to collect, reuse and recycle textile waste, generating value across the different stages of the circular model.
The textile manufacturing companies, in particular SMEs, need support to know, prepare and act to an effective transition to this new green economy.
There are several barriers that clusters need to overcome for the effective support but are mainly summarized in the predominantly small size of textile manufacturing companies and their limited resources, particularly in: headcount, budgetary, and technological. Those three limits their individual impact towards the green transition and require the support from clusters to act as aggregators and multiplier effects to generate critical mass across the value chain.
The first stage for that is focus on increasing the consciousness of top managers and technicians to the green business challenges and their motivation to act now, making available practical tools to start this road, namely in terms of selecting sustainable and circular materials, implement resources efficiency and make decisions based in sustainable performance.
Clusters need to support textile manufacturing SMEs in leveraging the different instruments that can support the green transition. This includes the support in the development of new business models to make the green transition viable and a vector of growth.
SMEs tend to have limited access to new technologies due to the heavy investment needed or the difficulties in reaching technology providers at an affordable cost, particularly for new developments in sorting and recycling process to close the loop in the textile manufacturing. Clusters can facilitate and overcome those challenges with tech transfer facilitation by connecting the different companies.