120 participants from 15 countries joined the very first edition of Textile Printing & Sustainability (TPS) – a new platform to learn and network about the most critical questions for today’s business and research. Key market players and leading academic institutes travelled on 8-9 September 2022 to Düsseldorf-Neuss to partake in vivid exchanges about the way towards a responsible textile industry and the contribution of printing technologies.
The event’s organisers – European Specialist Printing Manufacturers Association (ESMA) and Thomas Poetz from 3T Inkjet Textile Consulting – set the scene with the latest numbers from the textile sector. “Today, this industry feeds 250 million people worldwide but it consumes 80 billion of water, produces 1.7 billion CO2 emissions and is responsible for 20% of global water pollution on yearly basis,” said Thomas Poetz in the opening speech. “Sustainable solutions must advance in three main areas: circular economy meaning increased reusability, creation of bio-based fibres, dyes or pigments, and a systemic switch to digital workflow.”
TPS was the first ESMA conference streamlined for the textile industry and one of the first in this format after the announcement of the European Union’s Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles in March 2022. “We have been following closely the latest developments of EU’s Green Deal, as well as the global guidelines resulting from UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion,” explained Peter Buttiens, CEO of ESMA. “Their deadlines are approaching quickly and there is no time to waste, also for the printing industry. At TPS the focus laid on reduced water consumption and carbon footprint achieved with e.g. natural fibres or innovative inks which do not require pre-treatment and allow for energy savings in the post-treatment process, too. In general, we emphasise the optimisation of every production and handling step.”
Inspirational keynotes opened each conference day and included Karin Ekberg (“Step up to sustainable leadership”), Bianca Seidel (“Courage! A plea for a good future”) and Juliane Ziegler (“Global Organic Textile Standard: For the people and the planet”). Debbie McKeegan from FESPA/Texintel gave an overview of the latest textile market trends and Alexandra De Raeve from HoGent highlighted the relevance of collaboration between the fashion business and educational centres.
Altogether 25 presentations, from innovative substrate handling, through to sustainable ink formulation and architecture of print systems, provided TPS audience with a variety of topics, facts and ideas. They stimulated long discussions in the accompanying exhibition area where technology suppliers met with technology users, including print service providers and brands, such as e.g. Ikea, B&C Collection or Stanley/Stella.
Participants were genuinely enthusiastic about the networking opportunity in a community of experts with different backgrounds and from different stages of the supply chain. “The enthusiasm to rethink established processes and material solutions to make the textile industry more sustainable was palpable. TPS was an event with diverse minds, but yet one common goal,” said Dr Inga Bargende from Covestro. “I was positively surprised by the content of the speeches. There were some valuable ideas and a good update about the developments for inks and fabric preparation,” added Kamil Ras from Stanley/Stella. Prof. Mathias Muth from the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences admitted that “it was high time for an event which deals not only with technological advances but also puts focus on sustainability and circularity.”