EDANA closed its 2019 International Nonwovens Symposium (INS) today, having further demonstrated the technical and strategic building blocks that will ensure the industry’s sustainable growth.

Over 160 participants gathered at the Vienna Marriot to hear sector experts assess trade trends, exciting new innovations and sustainability initiatives from across the nonwovens spectrum.

Opening with a review of the impact of trade wars on nonwoven markets from Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, the INS programme also covered sustainable product innovations including a well-received presentation of new nonwovens based on pineapple waste fibre, BASF’s search for ways to sustainably diversify its feedstock, Gherzi’s findings on brilliant opportunities for processing recycled carbon fibres into nonwovens,  and Glatfelter’s new approach to plastic-free wipe substrates. The whole Symposium programme featured an impressive range of presentations highlighting the rapid integration by the nonwovens supply chain of the priority to balance functionality and consumer convenience with reduced environmental footprints, while many promising research areas such as elastic meltblown nonwovens showed opportunities and even market introductions of new nonwoven end-uses such as in shape-wear or outdoor-wear.

The INS this year was also chosen to introduce the  EDANA Sustainability Vision, a sweeping new industry initiative which provides direction in ensuring that the relevant U.N. Sustainable Development Goals for the nonwovens industry are a core consideration in business strategies,  product design and impact assessment.

Gil Stevens, External Relations & Sustainability Director at EDANA: “To create this Sustainability Vision, we conducted a thorough materiality analysis in consultation with the value chain and external stakeholders, that enabled us to select the most prominent sustainability topics for our industry.”

The new vision is centered around four key sustainability areas:

  • Sustainable supply chain: to promote fair and safe working conditions and green procurement in the supply chain
  • Eco-efficiency:  to use resource efficiently for low carbon production and products
  • Building trust: to increase transparency and safeguarding quality to consumers
  • Responsible end-of-life:  to engage with all stakeholders in developing optimal waste and circular economy solutions

The presentation of the Vision was accompanied by the launch of the 5th EDANA Sustainability Report, a comprehensive overview of the performance and ambitions in sustainable development across EDANA’s membership.

In closing the conference, Pierre Wiertz, EDANA’s General Manager, said “it is reassuring to witness a response to our call in the report for urgent industry action. The energy, innovation and commitment I’ve seen here reaffirms my confidence in the industry continuing to play  a leading role in addressing one of society’s most imminent challenges” A sentiment echoed by the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Martin Rapp “the demonstration of our member’s relentless efforts in finding today’s solutions for tomorrow’s challenges is, quite simply, awe inspiring and, I hope, contagious.”