Textile Industry searches for Transparency, Collaboration and Innovation to overcome Sustainability Challenges


At the 5th bluesign® conference, which took place on October 18-19 in Milan, experts discussed TraceAbility, NetworkAbility and TransformAbility. Speakers from inside and outside of the industry provided inspirational inputs and differing views.

All the participants of the 5th bluesign conference designed the future they want to see in our industry.
All the participants of the 5th bluesign conference designed the future they want to see in our industry.

This time, the bi-annual conference for bluesign® system partners and the broader sustainability community focused on the ability to trace, network and transform within the industry. About 150 participants exchanged ideas and discussed possible solutions to overcome today’s industry challenges. The conference offered plenty of opportunities for matchmaking with experts of the industry and sharing business prospects.

Consumer psychologist, Prof. Simonetta Carbonaro, started off the conference with fascinating insights into what the industry really needs to be transformative by bringing in examples from many different parts of society demonstrating the challenges faced in attempting to apply change in our industry. The Fashion Panel from Levi’s, Theory and Stella McCartney provided us with a unique view inside the world of fashion companies and some of the particular issues they deal with on a daily basis. During the Traceability Panel, we heard from 3 companies, IKEA, Lenzing and Eataly, about the challenges of implementing traceability back into supply chains as well as the commonalities in each of their three stories. The biggest question they all discussed was how immense the effort should be in order for traceability to still be effective. Cara Smyth, founder of the Fair Fashion Center, brought in the important and much needed conversation about money and finances. She presented many examples of how necessary it is that sustainability build a bridge to the financial community. Eva Karlsson provided insights on how a CEO tackles the big sustainability challenges that all companies face. When asked how she responds to negative comments about what could be perceived as idealism, she gave the greatest answer and said: “I guess I don’t really care what those people have to say.” Simone Cipriani closed the conference with an energizing and captivating call to the industry to above all act responsibly in all aspects of our lives.

“I am so pleased with the 5th bluesign® conference and what we were able to bring to the industry. There were many appreciative comments about taking the sustainability conversation to a deeper level given the challenges we are faced with today. bluesign® looks forward the continued solution-oriented work to really bring about transformative action and change to our industry,” said Jill Dumain, CEO, bluesign technologies ag.

Part of the conference was designed as round-table sessions, where participants and speakers worked on solutions and formed an industry commitment that targeted the direction the industry should move towards in order to ensure a successful blue way. The following statement was devised during the 5th bluesign® conference by all participants:

“We commit to integrating traceability into regular business practice, creating an aligned directory platform where information is shared and exposed to generate value for the industry and consumers. Furthermore, we will educate and listen to the younger generations, collaborate along a circular product life to align for a strong call to action. We are the designers of the innovation processes needed to make a continued positive impact leading to a better world, make sustainability a basic expectation and transform mindsets around manufacturing and consumption.”

The cooperation with the Textile Exchange Textile Sustainability Conference in Milan the following week (October 22-24, 2018) generated inspirational days for everyone who wanted to advance sustainability in the textiles value added chain.

The bluesign® conference takes place every two years. With this open conference for guests and bluesign® system partners, bluesign® provides a platform upon which all the companies along the supply chain have the opportunity to get to know each other, exchange information, be involved via special sessions, and learn new views about sustainable solutions and business models. Hot topics from within the industry and the outside world were discussed and answers given.