In difficult times when Earth is launching an SOS through the pandemic, global warming signs and other natural disasters, Finland believes in the importance of lowering its emissions by following eco-friendly practices at the national level while offering solutions and know-how to the international textile market to face current challenges.
Marika Ollaranta, head of the Bio and Circular Finland program from Business Finland, Finland’s trade, investment and travel promotion and innovation funding organization, explained how Finland can aid the textile industry.
What can Finland offer the textile market?
The production and consumption of textiles causes significant environmental, climate and social impacts due to the vast amounts of water, land, pesticides and chemicals used as well as the emission of greenhouse gases and pollutants caused by the industry. The currently available raw materials cannot meet the constantly growing demand for fibers and textiles. At the same time, on a global scale, an estimated 92 million tons of textile waste is produced every year of which 75-85% is either burned or ends up in landfills.
Finland offers groundbreaking solutions and know-how at every level of the sustainable textile ecosystem from textile waste handling, treatment, B2B & B2C sales and usage, collection and recycling to identification and back to waste handling.
What goals has Finland set to achieve carbon neutrality and carbon negativity? By when does it aim to achieve them?
Finland aims to be carbon-neutral by 2035 and there is an extensive strategy led by the government to achieve that. The plan includes activities in energy transition, transition to circular economy, innovation funding, mobility, taxation and education among others.
There have been significant investments in cellulose-based textile fiber development and it is now in commercial phase. Additionally, there has been funding of the textile recycling innovation ecosystems. All the textiles will be recycled in Finland from 2023 onwards with a regulation already in place, two years ahead of the EU regulation (which is coming into force in 2025). Business Finland, which is a government-owned company, is also working to promote export for the Finnish companies and leverage the information on this important topic. We are also influencing the textile strategy in the EU-level and Circular Economy transition.
Could you mention some key Finnish textile and textile-related companies that are behaving in a virtuous way?
Among them there are Rester, Pure Waste, Infinited Fiber Company, Nordshield, Emmy, Coveross, Spinnova, IonCell and Lounais –Suomen Jätehuolto Oy.
Rester collaborates closely with Southwest Finland’s municipal waste management company LSJH in a project that brings together the private and public sectors in textile waste handling. NordShield’s patented technology enables natural antimicrobial treatment of textiles, free of heavy metals. Spinnova and Infinited Fiber Company (also see here) have come up with innovative ways of making fiber out of wood pulp and discarded textiles. Emmy Clothing Company, instead, has created a transparent resale-as-a-service for clothes, which makes it possible for all actors in the ecosystem to participate in prolonging a textile’s life cycle.
Business Finland organizes roundtables in many countries to get influencers such as manufacturing companies, journalists, designers and brand owners, together with the Finnish sustainable and circular companies. We also do business matching for manufacturers and brand owners, work together with the brands and are open for many kinds of cooperations. We also continue to fund new innovation development to keep the competitiveness at an extremely high level.