New EU network to accelerate collaboration in textile sustainability

Published on March 1, 2023

ECOSYSTEX (European Community of Practice for a Sustainable Textile Ecosystem) is a joint sustainability initiative of the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency (REA), the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) and the Circular-Biobased Europe Joint Undertaking, and is facilitated by the Textile ETP.

It comprises 17 R&I EU-funded member projects focusing on textile sustainability, with a mission to accelerate collaboration in the textile sustainability and circularity field.

The community will focus its work on:

  • Interproject collaboration to share best practices and exchange new knowledge
  • Engagement with policymakers to provide support in designing and implementing effective policies and programmes
  • Dissemination to ensure the interested, public expert community can be informed about the latest developments and results of EU research and innovation projects addressing textile sustainability and circularity.

The important feature of ECOSYSTEX is the collaboration between academic and applied researchers, technology developers, textile industry experts and other stakeholders from across Europe.

“An enormous body of new knowledge and an arsenal of innovative technological solutions are resulting from collaborative research projects and programmes across Europe, but information about their results is fragmented which inhibits take-up and scale-up,” the project leaders said. “It also means that policy makers and other stakeholders may miss out on latest data and insights that could make their legislative or implementation initiatives more relevant, specific and impactful. ECOSYSTEX aims to become the central European knowledge hub and go-to resource for latest research work and technology state-of-the-art information on all matters related to textile sustainability and circularity.”

The initial idea for setting up the network came from the CISUTAC project, inspired by a similar initiative in the plastic industry: the Plastic Circularity Multiplier. After initial meetings in the autumn of 2022, ECOSYSTEX started to take shape, and 17 projects joined as founding members of the community. Membership of ECOSYSTEX is open to running European-funded projects focusing on textile sustainability and circularity, or concluded projects meeting the same criteria.

In recent years a growing number of research and innovation projects have been funded under the EU’s Research Framework Programmes in the field of textile sustainability and circularity, as a result of the European Union’s focus on the sustainable transition of the EU economy and society as part of the EU Green Deal (announced in 2019).

This was followed by the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles (published in March 2022), presenting a vision and related European policy objectives for a green and digital transition of the European textile ecosystem. The strategy focuses on key textile sustainability aspects, such as eco-design, waste and pollution prevention, safe and bio-based materials, circular material flows and responsible supply chains and new business models. Therefore, the ECOSYSTEX community was created to ensure that these EU-funded projects will be strongly complementary and benefit from synergies to maximise projects’ impact and optimise resources.

Source: Michelle Russell, Just Style