Finland is well positioned to become a world leader in the responsible textile and fashion industry
On 3 October, the School of Business will begin its new Better Business – Better Society seminar series, whose first seminar (in Finnish) will be held by Minna Halme, Professor of Sustainability Management. Her presentation, which will be followed by a discussion with the panellists, examines the question of whether Finland can become a world leader in the responsible textile and fashion industry, and how this could potentially be accomplished.
‘Finland does not have a fast fashion textile industry that would need to defend its interests, hindering the emergence of new approaches. Instead, there are many interesting small companies whose business adheres to the principles of sustainable development in some way. We also have spearhead technology in the field of circular economy. ‘
‘The current system for producing clothing has come to its limits. Growing cotton takes up land from food production and other crucial activities, while consuming a lot of water. Use of pesticides fertilisers pollute the soil, and synthetic oil-based materials and microplastic, i.e. plastic ground into small crumbs and fibre, pollute the water’, says Minna Halme.
According to Halme, we should therefore try to foster a more circular economy and promote the longevity of clothing.
‘Textile production and consumption as well as the related business models must develop toward circular and long-term use of garments and material. The time has come for long-lasting clothes, clothes made from reused fibres, and clothing rental services based on shared use.’
Towards sustainable textile systems
Led by Professor Halme, the Sustainable textile systems: Co-creating resource-wise business for Finland in global textile networks (FINIX) project recently received a significant funding grant for the 2019–2025 period from the Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland. The multidisciplinary FINIX project seeks to catalyse and co-create a textile production and consumption system in Finland that promotes sustainable development worldwide. The project brings together both large companies and SMEs, as well as start-ups, both in the textile and forest industries and in waste treatment.
‘We want to develop a globally-linked sustainable textile system based on multidisciplinary research in Finland, with companies, NGOs and decision-makers. We have material researchers, textile designers, sustainability science skills, legislative professionals and digital technology experts in our research group, to mention only a few top experts.’
‘In addition to the School of Business, the members of the consortium from Aalto University represent the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and the School of Chemical Engineering. Other members of the consortium are SYKE, LUT University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Heureka, Turku University of Applied Sciences and Rhea Solutions Ltd’, Minna Halme explains. She strongly believes in the power of joint development on the way towards sustainable textile systems.
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A live recording of the event can be viewed on the School of Business’ Facebook page. Link to the recording: https://www.aalto.fi/fi/kauppakorkeakoulu/better-business-better-society-seminaarisarja
The aim of the Better Business – Better Society seminar series is to provide the School of Business’ partners, supporters and alumni with an opportunity to hear and discuss topical issues that are important to our society. The seminars will be held on the first Thursday of the month from 5.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m., excluding holiday seasons during summer and Christmas. The seminars will be held either in Finnish or in English, the first one in Finnish.
Professor Minna Halme was interviewed by Terhi Ollikainen.
FINIX – Sustainable textile systems, https://finix.aalto.fi/