Sustainability in the textile industry – “simply explained” in three minutes

It’s time to demystify sustainability so that every child, customer and CEO can understand it.

Bild: SympaTex
Sympatex zur Nachhaltigkeit für Funktionstextilien

As a result, many in the sustainability community became accustomed to having to repeatedly justify their resources and struggle to implement every single improvement in the company. Even this year, you could count the number of CEOs in attendance at events such as the SAC Annual Conference on one hand.

All the more reason to respect the fact that, despite this niche existence, extremely comprehensive knowledge databases and complex tools were created in an attempt to deal with the manifold ecological challenges facing the multistage, ramified textile supply chain. Apart from a wide range of certification approaches, databases were also created in an effort to track every single impact that our production process has on the environment so as not to overlook any opportunity for improvement.

Practically overnight, sustainability has now become so important in the textile industry that it has to be at the center of every long-term brand and product strategy. But it won’t be enough to just develop a detailed catalog of measures in specialized technical areas that then flow step-by-step into the portfolio through a bottom-up approach. Instead, we have to integrate the issue into every corporate decision in order to be able to satisfy society’s rapidly increasing pressure and expectations to implement concrete measures.

Before we can have this discussion, it will be necessary to put the complexity of the details aside for a moment and once again learn how to explain the key issues of a holistic sustainability strategy in three minutes. This is the typical attention span that determines whether an issue genuinely piques management’s interest.

At the same time, we also have to learn how to explain this issue to our increasingly critical customers – and thoroughly enough to keep from further fueling their justifiable skepticism regarding our years of inactivity. In the spirit of transparency, the internal and external explanations should ideally be consistent.

In 2018, Sympatex began to explain the key issues of sustainability to our future consumers in a series of children’s books involving our hero Sam.

And now, in order to support an overall dialogue across all disciplinary borders, we have launched an initiative aimed at creating a universally understandable basis for discussing a holistic ecological sustainability strategy in the textile industry: sustainability for functional textiles “simply explained” in three minutes:


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It would please us to know that our efforts could help initiate a constructive dialogue with all industry participants regarding the key issues of sustainability. Let us work together and pave the way for an even faster and clearer reduction of our industry’s ecological footprints in the future.

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