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World ideas in sustainable textile solutions

The clothing and textile industry is responsible for 10 % of the global CO2 emissions. As issues arise at every stage of the textile lifecycle, there is an urgent demand, yet a great opportunity, for new sustainable business solutions and ecosystems. Finland is the pioneering country in sustainable textiles. Our world leading knowledge in circular economy, bioeconomy, and digitalization benefits innovation development and new value chain thinking. 

Groundbreaking solutions at every level of the sustainable textile ecosystem  

Finnish solutions for the textile industry’s green transition are not only limited to textile manufacturing and disposal but expand to the entire life cycle of textile industry, coveting textile disposal, sustainable materials, treatment, B2B & B2C sales and usage, collection, and recycling to identification and back to disposal.  

Wood-based fibers are considered THE innovation that Finland is most known of globally in the textile industry. The production of wood-based biomass requires less water, chemicals, and land compared to cotton. Numerous ongoing research projects for developing wood-based fibers in the textile industry have already yielded solutions with commercial potential.

The textile & fashion industry is a major consumer of packaging. Bio-based packaging is an ecological solution since it replaces other commonly used heavily polluting materials, such as plastic. Bio-based packages have all the benefits from traditional packages but none of the negative impacts on the environment. One of the Finnish innovations that can revolutionize the textile packaging is providing package as a service- business model as it can minimize environmental harm, provide huge emission savings, and cause a positive climate impact.

There are approximately 92 million tons of textile waste globally every year. Treating used textiles as raw materials instead of waste holds a major business potential. Extended life cycle of textiles can be achieved by repairing clothes, providing clothes as a service for consumers or as workwear or by selling used clothes with similar user experience to the new ones.

Finland aspires to be one of the five recycling hubs in Europe, where new solutions in waste management and material reuse are discovered. Moreover, when it comes to end-of-life solutions, the innovations can be scaled to other value chains, such as car and shipbuilding industries.

Finland is piloting separate textile collection recycling and it will be done country wide in 2023, two years ahead of EU regulations. Ideally, Finland could recycle even fifth of the EU’s textile waste.

Call for cooperation for innovation ecosystem 

As no one can do the green transition in textile industry alone, cooperation is needed. The collaboration needs to be cross national and cross the value chains since international partnerships are built not only across countries, but also across industries.

Finland aims to be a driver for the international sustainable and knowledge-based textile industry. Global partnerships are essential, as the volume of Finnish brands, especially consumer brands, is not large enough for Finnish raw material and fiber producers. In international partnerships, interdisciplinarity and sustainability are expected to be mainstream in 2035.

World ideas in sustainable textiles

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HEAD OF PROGRAM

MARIKA OLLARANTA

marika.ollaranta (at) businessfinland.fi