ETSA National Associations meet in Bern

The ETSA National Associations held its annual in-person meeting from 26th to 28th April in Bern, Switzerland. The event was hosted by the Swiss National Association, VTS/ASET, and chaired by Melanie Saner, who also played an instrumental role in organizing and leading the meeting. The event was a great success and saw a large turnout of the ETSA national associations, all of whom were eager to discuss and exchange ideas on various topics relevant to the past, present and future of the textile service industry.

The first day of the meeting was focused on the importance of supporting innovation and research in the industry and thereby generating new and scientifically valid research to showcase the achievements of the industry to the outside world. The group discussed ways in which innovation and research could help in this regard. The National Associations emphasized the need to identify research institutes operating in the textile services across Europe, and to map available funding opportunities at the national and EU level, which is something ETSA will do.

On the second day of the meeting, the National Associations provided updates on their current undertakings at the national level and expressed their thoughts, concerns and implications for opportunity with respect to incoming EU legislation. The associations then also had several in-depth discussions, which included presentations from various associations on topics of specific concern. The topics covered included communications, sustainability, and circularity, as well as skills, diversity, and providing opportunities to traditionally marginalized and underrepresented groups.

The National Associations were also joined by Katie Laird and Johannes Schmid-Wiedersheim, who presented guest presentations on behalf of DeMontfort University and TexCare Messe sfdsFrankfurt, respectively. The external presentations were well received, with both the  National Associations and ETSA Secretariat recognizing  the added real value for current and future initiatives in the sector.

The group also discussed the need to create a CO2 calculator for the sector, which was highlighted by TRSA, TSA and DTV in particular. The associations recognized the importance of this initiative and were urged to give it due attention. The skills and diversity session highlighted some of the great work FBT and TSA were doing on the subject which complimented the presentations given by DTV and VTS/ASET on communication earlier.  These were especially valuable and  could be of great help in times of difficult recruitment in the industry. The group discussed the initiative and agreed to hold further discussions on the matter.

The National Associations also agreed to set up a new ETSA steering group on research and innovation. This group would be responsible for creating a Working Group Plan and working on a mapping exercise to identify the research institutes operating in the textile services across Europe. The group would also map available funding opportunities at the national and EU level and potentially evaluate the possibility of running an event in Brussels to foster more synergy with research institutes.

The meeting was highly productive and saw the National Associations come together in the spirit of cooperation and internationalism. Despite some members not being able to attend, the ETSA Secretariat has ensured those who could not make it, would still have access to the presentations and key material from the days.

The ETSA Secretariat commended the associations present for their contributions and thanked the host, VTS/ASET, for organizing such a productive meeting. ETSA looks forward to the next in-person meeting of the National Associations, which is scheduled to take place in Berlin in 2024.

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