On 7 October, the United Nations commemorates World Cotton Day. The purpose of this day is to show the importance of this material and to raise awareness among the population about its global history in economic development. For projects such as CirCoAX by CircularInnoBooster, and on a day that opens debate on the cultivation of this resource, it is essential to raise awareness about the importance of a sustainable, green, and circular textile sector that has a positive impact on the planet and on people.
Cotton is a fabric that, at least in a small percentage, is found in most of the clothes in our wardrobes. According to the United Nations, the importance of this resource lies not only in its age, but also in the fact that it supports 32 million growers (almost half of them women) and benefits more than 100 million families in 80 countries.
This material is directly linked to the textile sector and its progress towards a more sustainable way of producing. Today, many brands have found the need to make their production chains and the materials used in their garments more sustainable, and this is where cotton plays a crucial role. Within the CirCoAX30, FONTVODDE is a clear example of sustainability, as they use the raw material of post-consumer recycled cotton to produce a new yarn that customers use to make new garments.
In the European Union, three countries stand out for their cotton production: Greece, Spain, and Bulgaria. In this respect, a common cotton policy has been written, the latest reform of which dates to 2006. It is an agreement that promotes a competitive, sustainable and market-oriented cotton sector, safeguarding commitments to support «cotton production in regions of the Community where it is important for the agricultural economy». A study published in 2014 evaluating this reform states that there are changes in cultivation practices and the replacement of this resource by alternatives in Spain and Greece; and in Bulgaria, the areas under its cultivation have decreased.
At CirCoAX by CircularInnoBooster, we know that fashion is on the way to reinventing itself, and part of this involves using recycled textiles or textiles of natural and non-polluting origin. Therefore, we accelerate projects such as BRE FASHION – Hilaturas Arnau, which works with natural and synthetic fibres and recycles and reuses textile waste. In this way, it closes the circle and promotes «eco-manufacturing» from recycled yarns, helping to change consumer behaviour and managing waste to give it a new life. Others such as Hemper and Pyratex, which use fibres obtained from regenerative agriculture, are also being promoted.
COSME is the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises programme of the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).
Through this programme, assistance is provided to SMEs to help them develop their business models, access finance, and internationalise. It also provides support to public administrations so that they can improve the business environment and facilitate economic growth in the European Union. During the 2014-2020 funding period, this programme earmarked €2.3 billion to support SMEs.
The Istituto Europeo di Design is an academic institution operating in the field of education, training, and research in the disciplines of design, fashion, visual communication, and management. IED has branches in Spain (Madrid and Barcelona), Italy (Milan, Rome and 5 other cities) and Brazil (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro). It operates in several EU and COSME countries through partnerships and agreements with institutions, business support organisations, teachers, experts, and mentors. IED is based on a wide network of connections in the F&T (Fashion and Textile) sector.
Finnova is a foundation working for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship at EU level. Based in Brussels, it operates through collaborations and partnerships in all EU countries. Finnova’s expertise in leading European project communication and dissemination activities is combined with a strong proven track record in start-ups and business support programmes, such as accelerators, incubators and ceremonial event selection and awarding.
Texfor is the textile association of reference in Spain with 400 members. Founded in November 2010 and based in Catalonia, it brings together companies from the entire textile value chain, from yarns to fabrics through accessories, finishing processes, printing, and dyeing for the garment industry, home textiles and technical/industrial applications. Texfor has specialisation and experience, having worked in important expert committees at EU level: university and vocational training, financial capacity building, transversal collaboration, promotion of R&D&I, specialised services and leadership in sustainability focused on circular economy.
Circulab is a laboratory and business design studio specialising in the development of methodologies, tools, and transformation programmes to help companies develop circular and sustainable business models. Circulab has designed a set of tools to implement the circular economy model in companies. It operates in more than 23 countries, 9 of them in the European Union, supporting projects through more than 60 independent business consultants, applying the circular methodology and tools.
About The Circular Project co-designed with HumanNation
TCP (The Circular Project) is a project focused on favouring and promoting sustainable and circular fashion on different fronts, offering the sector a communication strategy with a transversal and systemic approach to the circular economy. At the same time, it integrates social, ethical, environmental, and economic aspects. It has a strong presence and connections with the world of sustainable fashion, being the promoter of the Circular Sustainable Fashion Week Madrid, the only catwalk of its kind, and as the headquarters of the Spanish Association for Sustainability, Innovation and Circularity in Fashion, ambassador of Sannas (Triple Bottom Line Business Association) and collaborator of a wide institutional and industrial network in Spain, Europe, and South America.
For this project The Circular Project is working with HumanNation for the co-design and development of the project. HumanNation is a consulting firm specialising in the development of transformative and disruptive innovation and enterprise ecosystems for the ‘New Economy’. It is based on Fourth Sector economics, systems thinking and co-creation. It promotes awareness in organisations and ecosystems to respect planetary boundaries and the social fabric, creating resilient economies at the local level, with a global perspective.