August 3, 2021

‘Europe is behind with rules of transparency’

4 min read

Sympatex Technologies, a specialized German manufacturer that develops, produces and distributes membranes, laminates, functional textiles and finished products worldwide, recently appointed Kim Scholze as chief sustainable community manager and head of storytelling. She previously served as community manager and developer of Ispo Munich’s sustainability strategy.

Scholze brings more than 20 years of industry experience in strategy, marketing, development and sales to her new role. She is closely connected to the sports and outdoor industry as before joining Messe München, she was responsible for product development, marketing and sales for Bench’s sports collection and also founded her own agency for sustainable development called Brands for Good.

Here, she explained how she plans to support Sympatex.

How will you contribute to Sympatex’s growth and mission?
Currently, my task is a mix between business development, spokesperson and head of sustainability by activating and being more transparent with all the brands I used to work with in the last years with Ispo and before.

In the last one and a half year Sympatex has gone through a significant transformation as most decisions are team-based and no longer hierarchy-based.

Similarly, also many sports and outdoor companies are now facing a big change as this is a turning point year, especially for those operating in sustainability contexts. In fact, in the US there has been an important change of government, in November there will be the UN Global Climate Change conference and in the EU they will soon approve some rules connected to impact lowering.

In sustainability a more shared vision is becoming an important aspect, too. For Rüdiger Fox, CEO of Sympatex, for instance, all of the outdoor and sporting goods players and insiders will have to become or start becoming more collaborative. Our vision is to really start interacting more in order to provide a more sustainable Sympatex membrane and how can we join forces with other insiders for a bigger agenda.

Sympatex jacket

Sympatex jacket

It’s clear that it’s important to share data and collaborate more, though upon which common basis can this be founded as no rules or standards for apparel companies exist?
While I worked for Ispo I curated a conference program that required three months of preparation. It focused on B2B and B2C content and was about topics like innovation, digitalization and sustainability. During these conferences it was clear how Europe is behind with rules of transparency and will have to work hard for the next years. What I mostly learned is that the bigger frame for everyone is more visions than products if it comes to sustainability managers. Of course they need to take care for the supply chain, but the bigger frame starts to change for each other in terms of common initiatives.

That’s why Sympatex aims to create a common platform and be one of the initiators to actively make sure that we come working collectively together.

What do you see for the future?
From a personal point of view I think we cannot step back from the present situation. There’s no more time to wait as we are near to collapse. We need to act fast and all work on the same agenda to stop this crisis. I expect Sympatex to be a parameter of change as an ingredient has so many partner brands, it can increase their number and increase its inside level of education to deliver the right solutions. For instance, Sympatex is delivering a recycled version of a technology membrane.

Tell us more about this new recycled membrane…
Sympatex provides environmentally friendly, breathable, 100% wind- and waterproof membrane systems and layer laminates with climate control, thermal insulation, protection from cooling, and humidity management properties. Its PTFE-free and PFC-free membrane is 100% recyclable using existing recycling technologies. It is also Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, Annex 6, product class I certified and Bluesign approved.

The Sympatex production method uses a material made of polyether and polyester. This compound is 100% recyclable and poses no threat to health.

Already several years ago, Sympatex has proven that Sympatex membrane recycling works on an industrial scale. A 100% recycled membrane has been introduced based on production waste that has been collected during Sympatex membrane productions–waste that hasn’t been used before. The highly functional qualities of Sympatex membrane can be guaranteed without a noticeable loss of quality and obtaining a new 100% recycled membrane created from pre-consumer Sympatex membrane waste streams.

What other projects and products are in the pipeline?
Also part of Sympatex sustainability strategy are recycled outer materials and linings made from recycled polyester. One possible source as nominated material basis for these fabrics is a yarn that is made from recycled PET bottles obtained from a cooperation with the Italian yarn specialist Sinterama SpA, whose trademark “Newlife” is certified according to the internationally renowned “Global Recycle Standard.” The “Newlife” yarns are produced by using recycled PET bottles that are collected and processed in Northern Italy through a mechanical process without the addition of polluting chemicals. If you compare the production of one kilo of recycled “Newlife” fibers with one kilo of oil- based polyester fibers, the ecological balance is excellent as we register a reduction of 32% CO2, 60% less energy and 94% less water consumption–instead of 60 liters we use only around three liters of water. For producing a standard Sympatex men’s jacket, for instance, about 27 PET bottles are recycled and thus reused.

Sympatex has recently started some new sustainability steps in the industry with the conversion of its membrane’s raw materials to over 25% bio-based sources.

As a brand in the field of sustainability, Sympatex has a special pioneering position in the market. By closing ranks with the other decision-makers in the textile industry, we can really bring about change. And that’s the least we have to do for future generations.

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