• The event, which introduced sustainable and ethical solutions in the textile sector, was held on Black Friday within the framework of the European Week for Waste Reduction.
  • The key topics included the need for legislation, educating citizens for a sustainable consumption, and the shift in production patterns in the textile sector.
  • Projects such as CircularInnoBooster were presented as a reference alternative that opts for a responsible consumption and a circular transformation of the textile sector drawing on innovation.


Brussels, 29.11.2021 

The CircularInnoBoosting: Promoting Sustainable and Circular Fashion & Textile Industries event was held on Friday 26 November – Black Friday – within the framework of the European Week for Waste Reduction. The goal was to present the shortcomings, opportunities, and solutions vis-à-vis managing textile waste – which accounts for 8m annual tones in the EU alone and 92m tons globally.

The fast fashion model promotes mass consumption and production, which is further spurred by events like Black Friday. Up to 80% of clothes that are purchased on Black Friday are later on disposed of after being used just once – or not even that. The European circular fashion project CircularInnoBooster and its accelerator, CirCoAX, represent a reference alternative which opts for a responsible consumption as well as a sustainable and ethical transformation in companies to ultimately reduce the negative impact of that sector and to turn it into a circular economy-based one.

Finnova Foundation CEO Juan Manuel Revuelta provided the opening remarks, where he stressed the commitment of Finnova Foundation to help achieve a circular and sustainable fashion and textile industry. According to him, “We offer support and training in European funding. We also work to accelerate SMEs and start-ups as well as in using EU funds to develop innovative projects”. Mr Revuelta offered Finnova’s expertise to find funding sources under programmes such as LIFE, Horizon Europe, Interreg or Next Generation EU to accomplish such goal.

Sustainability and circularity in the textile value chain 

The opening remarks were also addressed by Bettina Heller, global expert on textiles at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Ms Heller explained the steps of the value chain, and she pointed out at the negative impact of every such step concerning the environment. “We use a holistic approach which takes into account the whole supply chain in cooperation with different actors”, said Ms Heller.

Mercedes Marín, project director at IED Innovation Lab, presented the highlights of the CircularInnoBooster COSME project and its accelerator, CirCoAX, which seeks to scale up SMEs having innovative and sustainable solutions in the fashion and textile industry.

The first panel was then followed by three roundtables with experts, who addressed the problems arising from textile waste from different perspectives.

Visible problems and rooted causes  

The first roundtable was moderated by Samy Kazemi (executive associate at HumaNation). This panel discussion featured Jordi Marlasca (managing director at Margasa), and Rafael Mas (public relations director at Humana Spain). Both panellists discussed the different challenges that the fashion and textile industry must face – an industry which is not able to address neither the millions of tons of textile material that cannot be recycled or sold nor the lack of technologies and infrastructures. These challenges are further coupled with the dearth of legislation regarding certain materials. Mr Marlasca and Mr Mas concluded that it is instrumental to rethink production models and supply chains by seeking support from external actors in order to prompt changes within this industry.

Overview of the textile industry 

Paloma García (director of The Circular Project) moderated the second panel discussion featuring Martin Böschen (vice-president of EuRIC Textiles); Ana Rodes (sustainability director at Recover™), and Rachel Raineri (textile engineer at North Carolina State University). Panellists stressed the need to put in place policies and urged public institutions to offer more support to ensure a successful circular transition as well as to invest in infrastructures to manage the tons of textile waste that cannot be recycled or reused. On top of that, the speakers pointed out that companies need to be more transparent to raise awareness amongst citizens on the negative impacts of the sector and to create more sustainable consumption habits.

Transformation towards an emerging future 

The last roundtable was moderated by David Allo, sustainability director at TEXFOR. It featured Mireia Canelles (head of the Department of Climate, Food, and Rural Agenda at Generalitat de Catalunya); Rosario Hevia (CEO of ECOCITEX); Loreto Binvignat (sustainability and innovation researcher); Ricard Artigas (CEO of TEXTIL OLIUS), and Omar Itani (CEO of FabriAID). Panellists presented different successful cases aiming to improve the textile industry and to make it circular and sustainable. Similarly, they discussed several challenges and put forward solutions such as creating eco-labels that may reward the products which respect the environment. Additionally, speakers talked about the importance of culture, education, and raising awareness on purchasing habits to make consumption more respectful and circular as well as the creation of legal frameworks which enable to turn this sector into a sustainable one.

Click here to watch the event.

About CircularInnoBooster and the CirCoAX accelerator

CircularInnoBooster Fashion and Textile (F&T) is a project funded under the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) by the European Union. It has a duration of 2 years and has a €1,128,000 budget, which is co-financed by the European Commission by 75%. The project is made up of an international consortium led by Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) together with Texfor, Circulab, Finnova, and The Circular Project with Human Nation. Its goal is to replace the linear model of the conventional fashion and textile industry with circular, regenerative, and sustainable companies. To do so, the project puts in place a unique plan to support enterprises thanks to its accelerator, CirCoAX.

CirCoAX will pick up 30 transnational associations led by an SME each to scale up innovative proposals which impact directly in the uptake of sustainable and circular approaches in the fashion and textile sector. It offers €12,000 to the selected candidates, as well as mentorships, visibility, networking, and the possibility to receive additional EU funding.

About Finnova 
Finnova is a foundation working to promote and to develop innovation and entrepreneurship across the EU. Headquartered in Brussels, it works and engages in partnerships in all EU countries. Finnova’s experience in leading communication activities and disseminating European projects is coupled with an extensive expertise in creating enterprises and entrepreneurial support programmes such as accelerators, incubators, and events.

For more information contact 
Juanma Revuelta
CEO, Finnova Foundation
Phone no.: +34 696 32 42 36

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