Workshop advances textile circular economy and legislative reforms

25 January 2024
ITC News

Textile and apparel enterprises from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia converged in Casablanca for a workshop on textile circularity. They looked at upcoming legislative reforms in the global textile and apparel trade, as they work towards fostering sustainable business opportunities.

The workshop, organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC) under its GTEX/MENATEX programme, brought together experts, academics, and others in the industry to deliberate on crucial sustainability and circularity issues.

The event featured distinguished speakers, including: Matthias Knappe, Head of ITC's Fibres, Textiles, and Clothing Unit; Rudrajeet Pal from the University of Boras/Swedish School of Textile; Daniela Zimmermann from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences; and Tobias Meier from Sustainable Textiles Switzerland 2030.

Matthias Knappe emphasized how academia can support export-oriented businesses.

‘As part of the institutional framework fostering job creation through exports, academic institutions play a crucial role in actively contributing to the dual transition,’ he said. ‘Mapping the skills required for a greener and more circular textile and apparel sector is essential.’

Participants explored international regulations, current research and development scenarios, and the technical intricacies of textile circularity. The workshop aimed to raise awareness among academic institutions regarding their role in the textile and apparel ecosystem.

The workshop discussed circular economic models, exploration of the latest technologies, and issues related to carbon reduction and life cycle assessments in circular textile practices.

Tobias Meier spoke about upcoming regulations in the European Union and other countries. He highlighted the risk of brands and retailers passing on responsibilities to other businesses along the value chain. That could lead to increased production costs, which consumers may not want to pay.

‘Circular economy means also regionally logistically small circles close to the consumer. MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region would be well positioned to develop existing and additional business, especially considering Europe's significant market presence with new legislation,’ Meier said.

Rym Jelassi, General Coordinator of FTTH, described the event as incredibly engaging.

‘In our discussions, I highlighted the priorities of the Tunisian textile industry, emphasizing the importance of research and development, eco-design, and skill enhancement to address market demands,’ she said. ‘Our active efforts include waste management, environmental training modules, and creating new green jobs.’

The workshop was part of the run-up to the launch of the second phase of the GTEX/MENATEX programme in 2024. GTEX/MENATEX II aims to enhance the textile and apparel industry in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Sri Lanka, with a focus on improving export competitiveness through sustainability and circularity.

The phase II of GTEX/MENATEX is committed to catalyzing this change, collaborating with businesses and the institutional ecosystem of partner countries.

The programme aligns with the broader mission of advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), contributing significantly to sustainable and inclusive practices in the textile and apparel value chain.


The Global Textiles and Clothing Programmeme (GTEX) and its activities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENATEX) support small and medium enterprises and business support organizations working in the textile and apparel industry in developing countries to increase their export competitiveness. The programme is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Swiss Confederation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), with a focus on six priority countries (Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Tunisia).