Textiles as a key player in the
strategic sustainable programme

El textil como actor clave en el programa estratégico sostenible

Technical Manager of the Innovation team at Euro-Funding. Esther is a Chemical Engineer with more than 12 years of experience in the management of R+D+i project financing. She is also part of the project #ProgresaMujer.

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Textiles as a key player in the strategic sustainable agenda

The first draft of the call for grants for the textile, clothing and footwear sector in the framework of the Circular Economy EERP was published on 13 April. The total amount allocated to this call is 75 million euros.

The textile sector was eagerly awaiting the arrival of European funds. In 2021, the sector mobilised and created the Textile, Fashion and Footwear Observatory with the aim of obtaining its own PERTE and accessing funding of approximately 12 billion euros from the NextGenerationEU funds. However, the Government finally decided to include textiles within the PERTE for the Circular Economy, placing it as one of the key sectors along with plastics and capital goods for renewables. This PERTE, approved in March 2022, will mobilise 492 million euros and aims to create 280,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.

Within the textile sector, three key objectives have been established: to incorporate low-impact raw materials, to invest in infrastructures and technologies for reuse and recycling, and to improve the traceability of products and materials. In this call, projects and actions that contribute significantly to improving the sustainability and circularity of industrial and business processes in the textile sector will be subsidised.

Revaluation of the Spanish textile industry?

Does this represent an opportunity for the recovery of the Spanish textile industry? If we look back, Spain was a country with a very important textile industry. Regions such as Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha and Galicia were home to large concentrations of companies, making Spain one of the main producers of fashion and footwear at international level. However, at the end of the 1990s, many companies were forced to close due to the impossibility of competing with production costs in other countries. This trend continued during the first decade of the 2000s.

However, the current context has made many companies want to bring production back to Spain. Sustainability and the new regulations surrounding the industry play a fundamental role in this regard. This objective is present in all sectors, but in the case of textiles, even more so, as it is still one of the most polluting industries. Local production means a considerable reduction in the carbon footprint of transporting goods. In addition, it allows for greater control over the management of waste generated in the manufacture of garments, as well as guaranteeing better working conditions for the people who work in the garment industry.

In terms of fashion consumption, there have been significant changes compared to previous years. Consumers are gradually moving away from mass production and are looking for more distinctive products. In addition, the demand for immediacy also plays an important role. Brands can no longer risk an entire season on a single collection, so they need to adapt quickly. The proximity of suppliers facilitates these adjustments. This trend has been reinforced by the experience during the pandemic, when border closures forced many companies to find new suppliers in record time to maintain their collections and adapt to the new circumstances. In addition to the Circular Economy PERTE, there are three other PERTEs that are of great interest to the sector: renewable energies, decarbonisation and digitalisation of the water cycle.

In short, the arrival of European funding may be the opportunity that the sector needs to recover a significant part of its business fabric and adapt current production models to the current context.

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