How can civil society in South Eastern Europe participate more actively in the decision-making processes?

How can civil society in South Eastern Europe participate more actively in the decision-making processes?

This was the central topic of discussion at the Prospex institute on 22 June with guest speaker and new Board Member Dr. Fedor Černe, Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure of Slovenia.

Dr. Černe shared his views on the historical challenges and the future opportunities for active stakeholder engagement on the political and economic issues of the region. In his presentation, Dr. Černe drew comparisons between the historical developments of the countries in the region and the different roles civil society organisations played in shaping them. He emphasised the ongoing democratisation process in South Eastern Europe and the efforts made by governments to build fruitful cooperation with NGOs. Dr. Černe also explored the challenges caused by a decline in the motivation of citizens to participate in decision-making largely due to a reduced trust in public institutions and the low priority given to regular public consultations.

Looking to the future, Dr. Černe envisaged two main drivers that could bolster participatory mechanisms in the region. The process of building the European Union for both the current Member States and Candidate Countries encourages stakeholder engagement as does the growing awareness in the region that sustainable and long-lasting agreements require the engagement and commitment of a wide variety of different actors and opinions.

Dr. Černe and the participants then discussed the possible role of the Prospex Institute as a facilitator of increased stakeholder engagement in the policy-making, business and civil society discussions in Eastern European countries.

 

 

 

Talking Textiles: Engaging with young consumers on the life-cycle of our clothes

 

The global fashion and textiles industry is taking steps towards a circular economy system. In the process, it becomes increasingly clear that we need to understand the behaviour and perceptions of consumer groups, and engage closely with them in creating a more circular model of production, consumption and disposal.

Within the European-funded project Resyntex, which develops new recycling technologies for textile fibres, Prospex Institute organised a series of interactive “Citizen Labs” in four European countries. We met young consumers at their schools, universities and hobby centres in the UK, France, Italy and Slovenia. We ran an interactive workshop over their lunch breaks, with a blend of interactive activities (such as the sorting of a pile of textile waste) and online surveys covering behavioural patterns. The work was developed in close cooperation with researcher Sara Li-Chou Han from the Manchester Fashion Institute.

In our Citizen Labs, we found out more about the use phase of participants’ garments and the sort of services they use when they want to get rid of clothes (and why they throw them away in the first place). We also addressed the factors that affect shopping and purchasing behaviour, ranging from trends and peer pressure to sustainability as well as “made in…”-labels.

The results, which are currently being analysed in further depth by the Manchester Fashion Institute, show surprising consistency across the four locations. We found that price and quality are the most crucial factors driving purchases, outweighing aspects of sustainability, ethics and origin (fibre content, fair trade, local produce). Interestingly, quality considerations were found to be more important than pricing in three out of four case study results.

The most used disposal options are the bin, the charity and/or second-hand shop, and the textile bank. Consumers who have never or rarely brought their clothes to dedicated banks or used clothing shops, claim it is simply not convenient enough (due to the absence of close-by collection points in the neighbourhood), while others point to a lack of information and transparency on what subsequently happens to their clothes. Rather than giving away, young consumers also tend to sell items of clothing online, or exchange them through social media platforms.

Of crucial importance if we want to move to a regenerative system in which materials keep cascading in a loop, is that the assessment of potential reuse and recyclability is primarily done through the lens of the product in itself – consumers do not consider the material contained within it, and have limited awareness of the potential of material recycling, rather than product reuse.

 

The Value Chain Workshop, Second Edition

On 22nd and 23rd of March Prospex Institute organised the second Value-Chain Workshop in Lyon. Regrouping stakeholders from across the value-chain, the aim of this second edition was to look into the viability of industrial symbiosis approach. With a focus on PET and Polyamide fibres the participants shared their views and insights of the market with the Resyntex team.
Taking place in the beautiful apartment of MaPièce, the two-day event brought together people from different background with different focus and allowed for fruitful discussions and helpful observations to be taken on by the Resyntex team. The results of the workshop will be compiled in a comprehensive report and sent to the project team as well as to the participants.

STORY 7th General Meeting

On the 17th of April 2018, the STORY consortium got together in Finland for the 7th General Meeting of the project. These General Meetings are a very important part of every research projects, they offer the opportunity for all projects partners who are based all over Europe to get in the same room and discuss the progress of the project.

The three days meeting allowed partners to get a head start on designing business models as well as getting updates on the progress of the demonstration sites. Partners also got the opportunity of visiting VTT’s battery testing facility and taste some Finish salmon.

A stakeholder guide to textile circularity: Prospex Institute presents at the Fibre Recycling Symposium

On 7 and 8 June 2017, the Manchester Fashion Institute of the Manchester Metropolitan University hosted the International Fibre Recycling Symposium, with delegates from research, industry and retail. Prospex Institute, together with Sara Li-Chou Han from the Manchester Metropolitan University, took the floor to present the findings of our stakeholder consultations held in the context of Resyntex.

Examining textile waste routes and their corresponding mosaic of collectors, sorters and recyclers, we identified the key drivers and opportunities for textile waste collectors for a transition to more circular value chains. Through stakeholder engagement, our research proposes how conditions for collectors’ adoption of circular practices can be improved, while avoiding sectoral disruption and ensuring maximum effectiveness of the redesigned chain of secondary textiles.
Please find here the news article on the Symposium published in EcoTextile News.

STORY Second Advisory Board Meeting in Leuven

On the 27th and the 28th of April 2017, the STORY project hosted its second Advisory Board Meeting.

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20 participants from across Europe convened in Leuven to engage with the STORY team, to make sure that critical players can clearly articulate their interests and needs for storage and, at the same time, help guide STORY in addressing challenges and hurdles around adoption. The advisory board plays a strong role in integrating knowledge and innovation, picking up on the outcomes of the demonstrations and contributing to the market, policy and regulatory framework analysis.

The Advisory Board meeting gave the opportunity to all participants to get input and guidance on the ongoing work of STORY, especially about demonstration sites, business preconditions and how to better reach STORY’s target audiences with key messages.

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Furthermore, Mr. Ivan Pearson of DG Energy gave a keynote presentation on the Winter Package. This led to a facilitated, interactive and multifaceted discussion with the Advisory Board Members on customer issues.

The meeting was also combined with a field trip to the STORY industrial demo site in Olen.

Prato and Annecy Stakeholders Contribute to the EU Wide Picture of Textile Waste Opportunities and Possibilities

Key fashion, textile and waste management participants in Prato, Italy took part in the fourth and final RESYNTEX stakeholder workshop event on Thursday 6th April 2017, as part of the ‘stakeholder mapping’ stage of the research project. Attendees of the event at the Chamber of Commerce in Prato were hosted by RESYNTEX partners from Prospex Institute, Biochemtex, Dettin and Manchester Metropolitan University.


Participants ranged from wool recyclers, used textile collectors, manufacturers, retailers, waste management organisations, local authorities and sectoral platforms, as well as research and innovation specialists. RESYNTEX partners from Prospex Institute and Manchester Metropolitan University introduced the EU research project, before technical partners from Dettin and Biochemtex outlined the chemical and mechanical processes involved in the RESYNTEX processing model, and how the outputs from the process could be used to create systemic change to European manufacturing.


Local participants were then given the opportunity to identify where opportunities for the RESYNTEX model could fit into current opportunities in Prato, what issues would need to be addressed the realise the business model and who the potential customers and clients of the outputs would be. Workshop participants were able to contribute their local knowledge and insights into how regional activities could complete the RESYNTEX circular economy value chain, and what sort of benefits this could create for the region.

Participants were then encouraged to stay in touch with project to keep abreast of further developments involving the next stage of citizen research, and to attend the 6th International Fibre Recycling Symposium in Manchester to receive a fuller outline of all stakeholder outcomes and RESYNTEX partner research. Partners from Prospex Institute and Manchester Metropolitan University also visited local radio station Radio Italia Cina in order to reach out and connect with any international textile and garment stakeholders operating in the local Prato area.


This workshop event followed on from the third and penultimate stakeholder workshop event in Annecy, France on Tuesday 13th December 2017, hosted by local RESYNTEX partners About Goods Company and visiting partners from Prospex Institute, Quantis and Manchester Metropolitan University. At this workshop in Annecy, participants identified areas where waste textiles occurred locally, and how these were dealt with, by whom and in what form.
Attendees were also given an outline of the technical RESYNTEX process and participated in research and discussion on how local activities and business could fit in with the RESYNTEX process to create eco-friendly circular economy textile opportunities. RESYNTEX focus group workshops mapping stakeholder insights have now taken place in Manchester, UK; Maribor, Slovenia; Annecy, France and Prato, Italy.


The next stages of the research will analyse these insights to create optimised collection and processing strategies, lifecycle analysis and business modelling and will take in citizen and consumer perspectives on used textiles and recycled fashion and textile goods. To stay up to date with these developments please follow the RESYNTEX project on social media and at the 6th International Fibre Recycling Symposium in Manchester.

Step by step towards a Circular Economy

Prospex Institute together with Manchester Metropolitan University published an article in Textiles Magazine, presenting a circular economy concept for the textile and chemical industries, while at the same time giving an overview of the aims and challenges for the RESYNTEX Project.
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Prospex Institute and STORY Partners design and facilitate workshops on Microgrids

Prospex Institute and STORY Partners design and facilitate workshops on Microgrids

PI, together with STORY-partners Think-E and Vlerick Business School, designed and facilitated the brainstorm workshops on microgrids. Some 40 participants worked hard on identifying barriers and opportunities in separate breakout groups, where they envisioned the future roll-out of these grids. Exploring topics such as energy management, pricing and supply, participants voiced their ideas, concerns and suggestions as to what the energy future might keep in store.