18/03/2020 – Green Deal Textiles — auf Deutsch lesen

Studying the future – Perspectives 2035

Textiles are the stuff the future is made of. This, at least, is the conclusion drawn by a recent study entitled “Perspectives 2035”.


Ingeborg Neumann, President of the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry (textil+mode): “Our study of the future is a guideline for a Green Deal for textiles.” © imo


In a ten-month process, textile research network Forschungskuratorium Textil collaborated with partners from research and industry to analyse how Germany’s textile industry is likely to develop from now until 2035.

Promising solutions for the future

To paint a detailed picture, the study combined several analysis methods for the first time. These included workshops, datamining and surveys of experts and students. The findings of this project, which is the first of its kind in the textile industry, have been summarised in a brochure.

The world today is facing huge challenges. The limitations of growth, the destruction of the environment and climate change are becoming ever more visible. At the same time, the global economy is seeing a return to outmoded protectionist tendencies and regionalism. Tackling these issues will require a whole host of new solutions. The younger generations are demanding sustainability more emphatically than any generation before them. Indeed, it is the dictate of the moment – also for the textile industry which is finding itself under growing pressure to switch to environmentally sound methods.

Fortunately, investment is increasingly being channelled into sustainable projects and business models. Moreover, the next five years will be shaped by a series of new environmental guidelines, including regulations for the recycling of textiles. At the same time, today’s customers expect companies to be aware of their social responsibilities and to guarantee that fair trade and socially acceptable working conditions are put in place.

Sustainability is an opportunity

For many years, sustainability, environmental protection and renewable energies were considered a stumbling block to business. Now, they are increasingly seen as an opportunity. Companies offering sustainable products will clearly have the competitive edge in years to come. Manufacturers using renewable energy to manufacture their products will be able to offset the financial burden of high CO2 prices. There is no doubt, therefore, that the global economy is dynamically evolving into a green economy. Companies who adapt early will gain the competitive advantage.

How should Germany’s textile and mechanical engineering companies position themselves for the future in an internationally competitive market? What measures make sense? What needs to be done? To answer these questions, the FKT – in collaboration with the Berlin Institute for Innovation and Technology (iit) – conducted the Perspectives 2035 study on the future of Germany’s textile research activities. This project follows on from the findings of the Perspectives 2025 study, which was carried out in 2012. This time round, a variety of different methods were combined from the field of futurology, paving the way for an in-depth analysis of the opportunities and risks facing the textile industry. This project has also given rise to a data and knowledge base, the first of its kind in the textile industry, that allows profound conclusions to be drawn about the future development of the textile market.

Ingeborg Neumann, President of the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry (textil+mode):

“Our study of the future is a guideline for a Green Deal for textiles, which enables us to make a considerable contribution to a climate-neutral decade. The survey shows that the textile industry is indeed capable of offering resource-efficient and CO2-saving solutions in many fields, such as environmental protection, medical engineering, transport and cities of the future.”

The two most important methods used in the Perspectives 2035 study were the workshop model, involving a wide cross-section of industry representatives, and a detailed database analysis. During this process, more than 80 experts from industry and research drew up a road map, detailing how they expect the global textile industry to develop over the next 15 years. Factors taken into consideration include legal, economic and social parameters, possible technological developments, possible innovative applications and business models.

The findings of the database analysis were equally as interesting. This involved examining specialist publications and conference papers to establish which research topics are generating the most interest worldwide. At the same time, German and European funding databases were carefully analysed. This revealed, among others, that Italy and Germany are the biggest recipients of European funding. An analysis of the global start-up economy in the textiles industry made for rather more sobering reading. Whereas the USA and China are channelling hundreds of millions of dollars into budding textile companies, there is little interest in Germany or Europe to pour venture capital into textile innovations. In addition, the Perspectives 2035 study features not only a survey of experts shedding light on possible new textile products but also a competition that invited students to create business models for the year 2035 and attracted more than 100 proposals.