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The “A Caminho de Portugal 2020 – Resultados e Oportunidades de Financiamento” [On the Way to Portugal 2020 – Funding Results and Opportunities] event, organized by the Agency for Development and Cohesion and the Portugal 2020 Operational Programmes began early in the afternoon on 8 May 2017, in the Convent of São Francisco, in Coimbra. Riopele was represented by Domingos Barbosa and Rita Sousa, a working team from the Research & Development department.
The event began with a Plenary Session chaired by the Secretary of State for Development and Cohesion, Nelson de Souza, which was also attended by the President of the Coimbra City Council, Manuel Machado, and the Minister for Planning and Infrastructures, Pedro Marques. Then there were several parallel sessions in which Riopele had the opportunity to present R4Textiles, a project in the field of Circular Economy.
The session was opened by Domingos Barbosa, who began by presenting Riopele’s business background and corporate culture, based on creativity and continuous innovation.
He then highlighted that Circular Economy is a topic that was naturally integrated into Riopele’s business, as the company has been investing in that transition over the last three decades, focusing on the development of both new products and new processes. Its objective is to implement a circular model, for example, through the reuse of water that, in 2016, reached 52%.
Finally, he noted that R4Textiles is a project aimed at adding value to Riopele’s textile waste, which seeks to have an impact on niche markets via the introduction of new products. Therefore, it promotes a new perspective within the scope of circular economy that allows using processed waste from agro-food industries in fabric finishing processes and fostering the company’s sustainability strategy.
Then it was time for Rita Sousa to begin her speech by presenting the R4Textiles project, describing it as an ambitious and promising project aimed at developing sustainable textiles, based on the transformation of textile and agro-food waste into new resources.
Highlighting that the R4Textiles project follows the principles of Circular Economy, focused on closing the manufacturing cycle, she added that Riopele sees innovation as a driving force of competitive advantages. In this case, R4Textiles has allowed giving a “new life” to fabrics, offering Riopele the major advantage of being able to generate its own recycled raw materials.
Finally, she highlighted the importance of network communication and of the creation of synergies with research centres, universities and other organizations of the National Scientific and Technological System (SCTN) when it comes to ensuring a sustainable textile chain.