Press Release: ETSA Peer Parliament Reflection Report


On 28 January,  the European Textile Services Association (ETSA), in its function as European Commission Climate Ambassador organized its first "Peer Parliament" workshop. This workshop was a  panel discussion, which the Commission encourages to get people talking about climate change. These discussions are being held across the continent and aim to collect our ideas so to learn from each other, in order for Europe to reach its goal of becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050, thereby encouraging more sustainable practices and behaviours through these discussions.

As the year 2022 will be labelled as the "European Year of Youth", ETSA thought it imperative to include the voices of younger people from the textiles services industry. This event was also an incredible opportunity to gather a first wave of young professionals and ETSA will be hence hosting a similar event again with many of the same attendees in Spring of 2022.

Target Group:

The  panel was made up of young minds from ETSA's larger companies and national associations working for textile services and the textile manufacturers and machinery,  as well as its internal secretariat. These participants (all below the age of 35) comprised a panel of interesting and divergent perspectives. The participants included Jean-Carlo Alves de Silva, from Elis, Emma Anderson from TSA (UK), Frida Andersen and Jack Österberg who work for Hr Björkmans Entrémattor which is a member of the Swedish Textile Service Association, Nicholas Gostony from Jensen-Group, Tanguy Gernigon from DTV(Germany), as well as Nikolas Schulze-Makuch and Nadia Sleiman from the ETSA Secretariat. The webinar was moderated by ETSA Secretary General Elena Lai and ETSA EU Affairs Coordinator Nelly Le Dévic.


The event began with an introduction from each of the respective participants, where they detailed how they came to feel about the salient issue of climate change. An interesting observation was in how diverse the discussion group was, not only in terms of gender, but also in terms of origin. While all but one are citizens of the European Union and live in EU Member States, some had origins in the Caribbean, the United States of America and the Middle East with a more definite global approach. After the introduction,  moderators led the participants through a slideshow detailing not only the beauty of the Earth but also the consequences of the ongoing climate crisis and the destructive nature of unmitigated pollution showcased by some powerful pictures. The discussion was divided into two parts: one which dealt with the personal habits individuals can take to combat climate change and the recommendations they could provide to their peers and colleagues; whilst the second part dealt with the macro-societal picture, looking not only at the industry but what governments and educational institutions could do to be considered more effective.

The first part: handling individual responsibility

During the first segment, the participants identified how the climate narrative has changed over the course of their lives. It has been digested in a litany of new ways, though not only traditional news outlets, but also through the rise of social media platforms. On top of that, new films such as "Don't Look Up" have really changed the public perception on environmentalists and environmental issues. Whereas an environmentalist might have been seen as an overly-sanctimonious aged hippie in the past, now many younger people (including those on the panel) might see becoming one as a moral goal, something one should strive for.

Some of the most important topics of the panel discussion were:

  • what do you do personally to advance sustainability? And how do you start conversations with family and friends without coming across as "holier than thou" or presumptive?

The panel debated these questions quite extensively. It is clear the young professionals are very well aware that there are things we can all do to create a more sustainable society, some examples include, consuming less meat, conserving energy (especially in summer), re-using clothing, recycling, avoiding fast fashion and raise behavioral awareness. These actions which they undertake every day are not considered pointless but rather are seen as something crucial to be put in place and raise awareness of. At the end of the day, they are the ones who will still be alive in 40 years' time, younger people will live with the ramifications of our actions or inactions, thus, solutions have to be found now.

Nevertheless, the panel came to the general conclusion, that people cannot be held to the same standard of behavior. The other peers also highlighted how financial means can also play a crucial role in the way people can be truly engaged or not. The opportunity to engage to purchase more high-quality and sustainable goods can often appear to out of touch with people who are more lower-income and just struggle to survive. Tackling these obstacles in a way that the whole society can benefit as could go a long way in advancing "climate justice." Some of the young peers defined this as a "systemic approach", and all agreed that a more systematic sharing of knowledge and good practices across Europe could be of utmost importance: starting from a simple list of what do on a daily basis, to bringing your team at work up to date on climate,  as well as  engaging in real platforms and groups for knowledge sharing.

Of course, this opens the whole "cultural box" in some cultures, the diets (as one example) might be much more sustainable, but on the other side, mobility might be in a more primitive state. This all relates to raising awareness of both good behaviors and areas in which the public (both the government, firms, the educational system and individuals) can prioritize, the individual conversely must look at what is doable on their level, with the appropriate companies' policies as well as governmental directions and recommendations,.

The second part: from individual to the overall societyClimate Pact

It can be easy to look at climate change and feel overwhelmed, or that the situation is beyond our control, so it might well be an individual on his own feels frustrated. The panel came to the consensus that what we need is increased guidance from the part of European and non-European governments coupled with legislation to hold consumers, companies and states (but also simply local authorities) accountable  when soft recommendations and policies are not effective. Hypothetical legislation should not just be purely punitive, but one possible option would be to  encourage  "tax or funding" incentives as they can create real opportunities to be greener from the single individual to the company. This was recognized as already happening in some parts of Europe but powerful messages and certain incentives in the right conditions could bring to society potential  positive changes. The new bottles recycling activities that remunerate single individuals are becoming a normal practice across Europe for instance.

Moreover, clear information on to what defines a sustainable practice should be better assessed especially to tackle misinformation and false claims that can also be confusing and slow down the important goals of preserving our climate and environment. Having data and a list of sustainable practices at home, can have a huge multiplicative effect if individuals all commit to the fight against climate change and if we can bring this practice in our team at work, this is an even stronger effective action, even when our respective corporate policies would not necessarily set up  a green vademecum per each team. Innovation must play a role and should be encouraged, new out of the box-solutions must be utilized in harmony with environmentally conscious behavior. Encouraging people through education to research new solutions and creative ways to be more sustainable is also of great importance.

 Fundamentally education is not only something in school, it's also in the workplace, in the family home, amongst friends and amongst our communities, it takes all of us and so new communication tools should be experimented.


Next Peer Parliament- SPRING 2022


You can view the whole the recording of the event under ETSA videos or on ETSA's Youtube Channel

ETSA: Representing textile rental companies

Alsco Bardusch CWS textilia Elis Initial johnson Lindstrom Mewa Salesianer

To find out more about our members including suppliers, national associations and research institutes click here

ETSA: In partnership with suppliers of detergents, fabrics and machinery

 Carrington Chainge christeyns Ecolab HB Jensen kannegiesser Klopman Milliken 2021 Tencate Van Moer

To find out more about our members including textile rental companies, national associations and research institutes click here

ETSA: Coordinating national textile service associations and working with research institutes

Apac Assosistema BVT DTV FBT GEIST NRV Tekstiilihuoltoliitto-ry TRSA TSA Sveriges-Tvätteriförbund VTS WFK

To find out more about our members including textile rental companies and suppliers, click here