What Is the Industry for New Generations?

Photo: Pedro Ferreira
Bag: Marta Ponti

It is estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for between 2 and 8 per cent of global carbon emissions, with a major impact on the climate. The search for new solutions is therefore “essential to establish and implement strategies to prevent global warming, namely to curb unsustainable production and consumption patterns and implement actions to reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact.” This is the belief of Maria José Ferreira, director of the Portuguese Footwear Technology Centre and coordinator of the BioShoes4all project.

In practical terms, Portugal has brought together 70 partners, including companies, universities, and organisations from the national scientific system, and it will invest 80 million euros in a new generation of products. Around 50 new products “with a better ecological footprint” will be developed, as well as “25 industrial pilot lines implemented, more than 50 leaflets and books published and a large number of dissemination, promotion and industry training activities carried out,” over the next three years, states Maria José Ferreira.

The coordinator of the BioShoes4all project believes that “it is possible to develop plant biofibres and bioburdens for the creation of new materials and components, chemical bioproducts for leathers, new materials, biofibres for footwear and leather goods, preferably up to 100% organic.”

At the same time, Portugal is investing in new “biopolymers and biological materials, ecological footwear with a smaller environmental footprint, as well as in tools for sustainability, traceability and circularity, in advanced and eco-efficient production technologies and in the recycling of post-consumption footwear.”

According to Maria José Ferreira, “the fashion industry’s great ability to communicate and influence consumers can transform the current business model.”

In addition, “it is necessary to optimise resources, assess and control greenhouse gas emissions, use renewable sources of materials and energy, as well as materials, products, technologies, and processes with a smaller environmental footprint, in order to comply with the limits set by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”

According to her, BioShoes4All should contribute to “the cluster’s ambition to remain at the forefront of research and innovation in new market segments for value-added products that are valued by the increasingly informed and demanding population, which is looking for greener, recycled products, bio-based products, as an alternative to fossil-based materials, products with fashionable, technical, functional, customised and traceable content, which respond to the needs and desires of customers and consumers. Such products contribute to decarbonisation and the dual climate and digital transition, resolving identified constraints and taking advantage of emerging opportunities.”

In general terms, the BioShoes4All project is co-funded by the RRP under the “C12 sustainable bioeconomy” component, and ”aims to develop the industry of the future.”

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