28 Oct 2015
Arnedo, Spain
Sustainable Textiles & Clothing

To live a sustainable lifestyle, you cannot just talk the talk — you also have to walk the walk. This starts quite literally with the footwear you choose. With research showing that global footwear consumption doubles every two decades, there is no time like the present for companies to adopt more environmentally-sound practices. 

The Footwear Technology Center of La Rioja (CTCR) is a private, non-profit association that provides footwear companies with innovative solutions and consulting in order to make their rubber, textile, leather, and other material usages more sustainable. Based in the Spanish town of Arnedo, the association provides services to 97% of companies in the region.

CTCR’s footwear projects:

Much of the association’s work comes down to research and development projects in areas like the environment, nanotechnology, and smart materials. In addition, CTCR does research into the automation and mechanics that can improve the industry and its components.

Among other services, CTCR calculates the carbon footprint of footwear companies, and does eco-design and analysis on the life cycle of the footwear. CTCR has also worked to develop footwear materials that are both better on the environment and more comfortable for the wearer. This could include, for example, footwear made exclusively of recycled material.

CTCR considers the principles of sustainability in its daily activities. Paper, cardboard, and plastic packaging are reused. The company have developed water reduction practices for employees. Labor flexibility encourages employees who live in similar geographic areas to car share with one another. Hourly adjustments of the air conditioning system ensure comfort and energy efficiency.

Current environmental demands for footwear industry:

Footwear companies are already required to meet several varied environmental and industrial demands. This includes the control of hazardous substances, REACH regulations in the European Union, hazardous waste management, and emission control, just to name a few.

Competitiveness can be diminished as a result of these demands, especially when compared to footwear producers in countries with far less restrictive environmental legislations. To prevent European providers from falling behind competitively, CTCR has technical and human resources that offer direct advice to companies. By conducting research and development on challenges affecting the entire sector — and providing that information to companies — footwear businesses save time and money on doing their own analysis.

Environmental sustainability in the fashion industry should be seen as an opportunity, and not a threat. With an association like CTCR taking the lead on research and development, the sector can safeguard its future financially, protect the environment, and improve the lives of customers and workers around the world.


Website: www.ctcr.es/en

Photos: Courtesy of CTCR

CTCR Sustainable textiles and clothing
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