The European and global textile and clothing industry is undergoing its most profound transformation since the mass production of man-made synthetic fibres and industrial-scale manufacturing and distribution of textile-based consumer products in the 1950-60’s. The industrial age concept of efficient provision of a growing consumer class with affordable and fashionable textiles and clothing, taken to an unsustainable level by the cheap, fast, and disposable fashion push of the last decades, will have to be replaced by a more sustainable, value-based operational model that favours quality, durability, resource efficiency, and resilience. The European textile sector and its research, technology and education provider community is a large organically grown and internationally interconnected ecosystem that cannot be transformed in a few years. The sustainable textile transformation is a truly systemic challenge that requires resolve to change and massive investments over a long period of time by all involved stakeholders.
The members of the European Textile Technology Platform from the textile and clothing industry and related sectors applied research and higher education have collectively worked through surveys, interactive workshops, and collaborative document drafting for several months to produce a 2022 Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, designed to underpin the industry transformation targeted by the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles.
Four strategic Innovation Themes have been singled out as particularly impactful for the successful and rapid transformation of the European textile ecosystem.
- Smart, high-performance materials for new growth markets
- Digitised textile materials, products, manufacturing, supply chains and business models
- Durable, circular and biobased materials and processes
- Safe, low footprint products, processes and responsible supply chains
For each theme several research and innovation topics and subtopics are defined followed by a listing of concrete research and innovation targets, promising technology approaches to be applied or problems to be solved.
The task of the systemic sustainable transformation of the textile sector is daunting, but Europe has all the ingredients to make it happen. We can demonstrate to the rest of the world that a different operating model is not only imaginable, but also practically achievable with multiple benefits for people, plant and the economy.
As Think Thank and Advocate, the Textile ETP develops collectively with its members strategic roadmaps or thematic opinion and position papers. Together with our full members EURATEX, TEXTRANET, NETFAS, and EU-TEXTILE2030, we engage with European research, innovation, and higher education policymakers to inform them about textile innovation potential and research needs to have them reflected in EU policies and funding programmes targeting the textile sector. Archives of previous Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas are available here.
A PDF version of this Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda is available here.