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The 51st edition of Filo: “Sustainability is a virtuous process”

The 51st edition of Filo: “Sustainability is a virtuous process”

The opening event of the 51st Filo – International Exhibition of Yarns and Fibres took place today at Palazzo delle Stelline in Milan. The exhibition ends tomorrow, 28 February 2019.

The opening round table, titled “Sustainability is a virtuous process”, saw the participation of:

– Carlo Piacenza, President of Unione Industriale Biellese (Biella Industrial Union)
– Bruna Santarelli, Textile and Apparel Department at ICE-Agenzia (Italian Trade Agency)
– Mauro Scalia, Director of Sustainable Businesses at Euratex
– Pier Francesco Corcione, Managing Director of AssoServizi Biella-Filo
– Laura Specchio, President of the Milan Municipality Committee for Labour, Economic Development, Production Activity, Commerce, HR, Fashion and Design Policies

Proceedings were opened by Paolo Monfermoso, General Manager of Filo, who, on the occasion, presented Filo’s “Sustainability Project”: “The great majority of our textile businesses are already implementing a variety of sustainable production processes, but this fact is not so commonly known. For this reason, we have decided to ask our exhibitors to get involved in a project that will lead to the creation of a “Sustainability Trend Area” within Filo, a space dedicated to products that are developed through sustainable production processes, with a voluntary and self-certified description of the various production stages that are carried out through sustainable practices, both from an environmental and a social perspective”.

For Carlo Piacenza, President of Unione Industriale Biellese “Sustainability means, first and foremost, traceability. As manufacturers, we carry a responsibility: that of ensuring traceability, from raw material to finished product. This is a task at which manufacturing countries, and textile districts in particular, which have total control over their production process, are able to excel. Our duty as textile manufacturers is to work towards a production system that has a nearly-zero environmental impact. If I can add a little thought-provoking contribution to the debate, I would like to invite you all to reflect on the circular economy concept. Surely, a very interesting notion, but here too traceability is key to avoid circulating products that are nowhere near sustainable”.

Bruna Santarelli brought the international vision of ICE-Agenzia into the debate, reminding all present that emerging countries – at once, suppliers and outlets for Italian businesses – are increasingly demanding sustainable textile products.

According to Mauro Scalia, Director of Sustainable Businesses Euratex, “Sustainability is a virtuous process, in that it is a real response to the needs of society and of the economy – needs that lawmakers are called to meet. We can say that “sustainability is the new quality”, another element, in addition to high product quality, that can enable companies to stand out on the global markets. Right now, the textile and apparel sector has a negative image and it is assumed to consume a lot of resources. Our task is that of bringing some clarity into the debate and providing some positive examples of a sustainable textile production. Our action for 2019 focus on key priority topics, including the circular economy, chemical products regulations, microplastic pollution, compliance with rules designed to ensure a level playing field, and opportunities for cooperation that are opening for textile companies in this framework. All the above to make sure that the response of companies meets with the demand of consumers and the requirements of lawmakers. Euratex – which operates in Italy through SMI – gathers together all these virtuous examples, of which an exhibition like Filo is certainly a part”.

“Filo’s Sustainability Project is structured over two levels – said Pier Francesco Corcione, Managing Director of AssoServizi Biella-Filo. On the one hand, it pursues process sustainability, championing a responsible use of chemical substances and a reduction in the consumption of water and energy; on the other hand, however, it pursues sustainability in social relationships, that is in relations with suppliers, employees and the local community. Businesses must strive to achieve a model of social sustainability, in which they look after and take care of the environment around them and of the people who live in it. There is no other way and we must be fully aware that this approach, which is perhaps not so easy for businesses, is what will enable us to take the lead on the markets, while a policy of small steps and short-term goals will only lead us to insignificance”.

Lastly, Laura Specchio, President of the Milan Municipality Committee for Labour, Economic Development, Production Activity, Commerce, HR, Fashion and Design Policies, brought the greetings of the Milan administration and pointed out that “Filo closes – virtually – the Milan Fashion Week. But, in truth, this sector represents the genesis of the entire industry and fashion shows are the product of an excellence that comes to life right here”.

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