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Advanced Textiles Conference addresses textile industry’s future

Industry News | October 9, 2015 | By:

IFAI Expo 2015 events opened October 6 in Anaheim, Calif., with the Advanced Textiles Conference, offering a full slate of presentations, organized in three tracks, covering a range of topics including testing, business and market issues, “super fabrics,” wearables, stretchable electronics, 3D printing, antibacterials and antivirals and more.

Steve Jesseph, CEO, ICG Group, delivered the keynote address, “Can this Industry Survive in 2035?” on Tuesday to a full house, outlining concerns about population growth and providing for all on the planet with nonrenewable resources and fossil fuels running out and farmland growing corn for ethanol rather than food.

With a projected global population of 9 billion in 2050, demand for natural resources is rapidly increasing, specifically for coal, gas and oil—resources upon which the industrial textiles industry heavily depends for raw materials.

“Once they’re gone, they’re gone,” says Jesseph. “The world around us is changing in ways we can’t even fathom today. We need to make changes in the way we’re doing business and how we’re living. If you can do that, I do believe you will survive and you will thrive at the same time.”

Jesseph offers several recommendations:

  • Consolidate the number of your suppliers to the greatest degree possible.
  • Move as many supply chain inputs (raw materials and energy) to renewable as possible. Begin near-shoring and re-shoring.
  • Repurpose and retrofit as many buildings as possible versus new build to include Energy Star® appliances and renewable energy.
  • Do not use ethanol-based fuels or bottled water.
  • Encourage work-at-home opportunities for employees, teleconferencing, ride sharing, use of public transportation and flexible working hours.
  • Assign a senior executive to the role of sustainability council to identify as many energy and input savings as possible.
  • Develop sustainability criteria in selecting all suppliers.
  • Focus on improving product value versus product volume.

ICG (Integrated Consulting Group) is an international consulting organization specializing in the apparel manufacturing industry.

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