COTTONING ON TO AUSTRALIA'S INNOVATIVE FABRIC
Written on the 9 May 2011
AUSTRALIA'S $4.5 billion textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industries are preparing for a low-carbon world, according to Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr.
TCF industries are diverse, vibrant and looking to the future. Almost one-in-two TCF firms already invest in innovation – well above the 40 per cent of businesses in all sectors.
Carr says climate change is remaking the environment and presenting challenges for the economy.
“We can plant a few trees, but they won’t shelter our manufacturers from that reality. Good businesses face the facts and find the opportunities,” he says.
“Like most manufacturing industries, TCF faces the challenge of creating sustainable products and business practices in a changing global environment. But the rewards are there for the firms which can adapt first. TCF is well-placed to make that transition.”
The Australian Government has invested to build on research strengths in technical textiles and fibre innovation, including $37 million for new textile labs at the CSIRO–Deakin University Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre in Waurn Ponds.
Carr says initiatives such as the five-year $35 million TCF Strategic Capability Program, can only strengthen supply chain management and capture opportunities in green innovation.
“So far, 10 projects have received over $20 million in funding,” he says.
“The projects show the sort of transformation that is possible. Godfrey Hirst, for example, has received over $1.8 million to develop a synthetic carpet that can be produced using less water and energy. Sharcave has received $825,000 to develop a production process for a recyclable synthetic grass product, designed to reduce the volume of synthetic turf being dumped into landfill.
“Continuing to develop our capacity for innovation will enable manufacturing to meet the challenges of the future.”