Circular Economy – the new norm in Europe

Circular Economy – the new norm in Europe

Sympathy Lab discusses the sustainable textiles strategy unveiled by the European Commission.

30th of March 2022 – an unforgettable date for the entire textile industry. The European Commission unveiled its future binding, sustainable textiles strategy. The textile sector will be the very first industry fully shifted from a linear to a circular economy where products are designed to be more durable, reusable, repairable, recyclable and energy-efficient.

„By 2030 textile products placed on the EU market are long-lived and recyclable, to a great extent made of recycled fibres, free of hazardous substances and produced in respect of social rights and the environment.“, published the European Commission.

Todays episode of Sympathy-Lab was dedicated to discuss the topic with all its relevance and implications for the textile industry. The expert-talk between Rannveig van Iterson, Senior Consultant at Ohana Public Affairs and Dr. Rüdiger Fox, CEO Sympatex, has been recorded and is available on the respective Website. Specifically, this episode provides answers to the following questions: What is the proposal of the EU Commission? What are the relevance and consequences for the textile and clothing industry? Will textiles be sustainable in the future?  Why should consumers be interested in EU regulations?

„There is a big push on how brands and companies will have to be more transparent about where products come from, how they are produced, what environmental impact they have and to be able to communicate this in a clear and consistent way for consumers to avoid any greenwashing.“, says Rannveig von Iterson. „As a brand you have to underpin this with data and varify that as well, so that consumers can trust that the product is truly greener or more sustainable“, she adds.

„What is the most fascinating part in this legislative process is that the European Commision regulates both parts in one: you can call one sustainability that incorporates everything you do while creating the product and the other one circularity, which means when the product leaves the shop it needs to be prepared to go back where the raw material is coming from when it ends its life.”, Dr. Rüdiger Fox, CEO Sympatex.

Certainly, no company can sustainably implement the circular economy model on its own. Rather, an industry-wide, common pursuit of circularity is indispensable. This is precisely why the goal of the ingredient brand Sympatex is called Re>Closing the loop. Together. From now on, with a lot of tailwind from the EU Commission.

„It’s an update to design innovation. Until now we have created products pretty much by ignoring our impact upstream and downstream. What comes now is actually the eco-design process. The creation process of the product will already need to consider certain constraints which comes out of that responsiblity. But the beauty is, that constraints will not limit but accelerate innovation. The moment you realize that only certain materials are recycable, people can focus on developing new solutions with those materials“ Dr. Rüdiger Fox, CEO Sympatex. „What is fundamental, that we need to start now at the design process. Completely transforming the industry leaves us with three to four years which is super tight. In 2016 we had decided for ourselves to go circular without leaving traces by 2030. So we were planning for 15 years, there are now eight left. From the experience we saw it takes time.“ he added.

Accordingly, the company is pleased to contribute more than ever and with full commitment, courage, creativity and collaborations to the success of the circular economy and to shape a future worth living together. More information about re>closing can be found at:

For Sympatex, circularity begins with cooperation as well as joint communication and continues through to material selection and design. This impulse will be transferred to Functional Fabric Fair in Oregon Convention Center, Portland, April 4th – 5th 2022. Sympatex will be available for its guests on booth 709.

Portland is the hub of international sportswear. In 2021 Functional Fabric Fair was the first trade show since Covid-19 pandemic and a clear sign that such an in-person get-together is indispensable for initiating and accelerating change. Accordingly, Functional Fabric Fair 2022 is once again attracting the global market of functional fabrics, an opportunity no one wants to miss.

“Finally we are able to discuss with each other again” says Alexa Dehmel, Owner Active Sports Design & Consulting. “The effect of Functional Fabric Fair Portland  in 2021 will be potentiated this year. The exhibitor group has increased and the message to the market, incorporating a clear roadmap regarding the reduction in CO2 emissions, is also a clear statement. There will be a mixture of exhibitors, which is sensational and will give a lot of new impulses in an open and direct dialogue”, Alexa Dehmel adds.

“What is so special about the Functional Fabric Fair by Performance Days is that we managed to bring our established concept of the Performance Days in Munich to the heart of the American outdoor industry in Portland. Special for both fairs is the high demand for sustainable quality according to our minimum requirements, curated materials, selected exhibitors and the timing perfectly adapted to the industry”, says Marco Weichert, CEO & Founder Performance Days.

Expert-led talks will enrich the trade fair. On April 5th 2022, 12am PDT, the Sympathy-Lab panel talk will take place, hosted by Kim Scholze, Chief Sustainable Community Manager and Head of Storytelling Sympatex. The topic is called “Not enough focus, too much marketing” and is discussed with Alexa Dehmel, Owner Active Sports Design & Consulting, Charles Ross, Performance Sportswear Design Lecturer, Royal College of Art and Dr. Rüdiger Fox, CEO Sympatex. This panel aims to address the big questions that the Outdoor & Sports industries needs to tackle: over consumption, over production, environmental impact. It is supposed to be an open discussions between thought leaders to focus conversations on areas where this industry can both inspire and initiate change. The discussion will be recorded and streamed on the corresponding YouTube channel.

“The foundation of the Sympathy Lab is the result of my search for a platform that stands for collaboration. Taking Sympathy Lab to Funcional Fabric Fair in Portland is the next fantastic step to ensure that all information that initiates real change finds its place to get published – on a global level.  Thus, the right people, with the right expertise, find their way together to eventually inspire people.“ Kim Scholze.

Functional Fabric Fair Portland powered by Performance Days is dedicated to outdoor and active apparel. The Spring Portland edition will feature innovative textiles for the Spring 2023/2024 season alongside expert-led talks focusing on the sustainable future of the textile industry. The fair is open – free of charge – to verified designers, product, purchasing or material managers looking to source fabrics and accessories for outdoor, sportive performance and lifestyle apparel. Don’t miss this chance to reconnect with the apparel community.

About Sympatex

Re>Closing the loop. Together. By incorporating a climate-neutral and recyclable Sympatex membrane.

100 billion garments and 23 billion pairs of shoes produced p.a. represent Sympatex‘s future source of new raw material, once they‘ve reached their end of life. The intelligent Sympatex membrane has been used in clothing, shoes, accessories and technical applications since 1986 and guarantees being 100% waterproof, windproof and breathable – in accordance with the performance standard. Intelligent? The membrane develops proportionally increasing breathability at higher activity. New and far above standard is that Sympatex produces functional textiles from recycled and recyclable monomaterials. Sympatex will no longer use new materials from the oil industry in the future. Instead, used textiles are transformed into new, high-quality membranes, laminates and functional textiles. Sympatex is working with selected brand partners worldwide to close the textile cycle together.

Learn more about how the ingredient brand Sympatex uses its own collaborative attitude and brand power to turn new ideas into reality: