Firms urged to tap sustainability opportunities

Sustainability opens up opportunities for entrepreneurs as they go beyond the local market.

Michael Claparols, co-founder of Creative Definitions, said the demand for sustainable materials is growing, especially in Europe and the United States.

“We saw the opportunities in terms of the environment-friendly materials and also the practices. So it gave us the impetus for the idea, it’s an interesting roadmap to pursue because we feel this is the future of textiles,” he said in a webinar.

Claparols cited as examples handwoven fabrics made of blended yarns from cotton, pineapple, abaca, and banana.
“But we certainly have other fibers that we can convert to something wearables so that’s where the challenge is and I think that’s where the R&D (research and development) should emphasize,” he said.

Claparols also underscored the need to do more value-added processes in the country as it benefits the farmers, some artisans like the weavers, and other stakeholders in the textile industry.

“...We become self-sufficient so we don’t rely much on imported yarns, other materials. It’s making use of our naturally grown treasures for the benefit of Filipinos,” he added.

Claparols also urged those who want to get into the sustainability journey to understand the market, conduct product research, and implement product development.

“The next step would be to understand the production process and of course in a much bigger view. You have to have mastery really on the value chain so it’s not only one part where you have several issues but also supply of the different materials,” he said.

“The whole idea is really to get to know our capabilities and matching the capabilities with the market potential and of course incorporating new technologies not only new fibers that we have to tap but also other textile technologies. Good example would be nanotechnology that we want to look into on how to improve the characteristics of the
textile for example,” he added.

Claparols said there are local products that can be accepted globally with the assistance of government agencies or some private individuals.

He said securing certification is also imperative.

“Certifications will be needed in the future as more buyers abroad are looking at different SMEs (small and medium enterprises) here in the Philippines so we have to be ready, we have to face it,” Claparols said.

“...It’s more on how to certify our fabrics, to be sustainable because there are many angles in sustainability. It’s not only environmental friendly, can contribute to the green movement, but also the social compliance so we have to have certification for example that our workers are fairly compensated, whether we don’t use child labor or whether we also embrace gender equality and there are a lot of issues so we need to get certification on that,” he added.

Creative Definitions produces innovative textiles using local indigenous fibers.  It will also introduce sustainable handwoven fabrics with water repellence and anti-microbial properties using the SmarTex technology.

November 22, 2021