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EU Launches Innovation Observatory for Shared Ideas on Textile Sustainability

The European Union (EU) is tackling industrial pollution with a new initiative designed to yield a more sustainable textile sector.

According to the EU, industrial pollution accounts for a large share of Europe’s overall pollution problem, thanks to the emission of air pollutants, discharges of wastewater and waste generation. To help address the issue, The European Commission, the legislative body of the EU, in collaboration with partners including Ricardo Energy & Environment, sustainable solutions provider Vito and Umweltbundesamt, an Austrian environmental agency, are introducing an innovation observatory project aimed at improving this process and reducing industrial pollution in Europe.

The innovation observatory, which will operate through 2020, requests that stakeholders submit better information on emerging techniques—methods that ensure an equivalent or higher level of environmental protection than existing Best Available Techniques. Emerging techniques can be included in a revision process that works to set permanent environmental regulations across the EU. With the observatory, the EU and related stakeholders can identify novel emerging ideas and assess their progress to improve overall sustainability in Europe’s textile sector.

The observatory has four concrete goals to achieve improved documentation and tracking of emerging techniques in the revision process.

The first goal will be to document complete information on emerging techniques and track the latest innovation cycles that could help the EU’s environmental goals. From there, the focus will be on engaging with a more comprehensive set of stakeholders involved in the review process to improve the level of information captured, which should ultimately lead to the adoption of new, better techniques.

The observatory will then provide the European IPPC Bureau (EIPPCB), a division of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), with an improved inventory of emerging techniques for the textiles and animal byproducts sectors.

To stimulate innovation, the observatory will provide a platform for technique developers to recognized by the EU, EIPPCB and other relevant stakeholders for their ideas around better environmental practices.

The project also aims to yield two databases, a stakeholder database and a novel technique database. The stakeholder database will involve a set of industrial technologies experts, while the novel technique database will highlight a set of emerging techniques on industrial activities supported by IED.