Lightening the darkness: Swedish TSA’s illuminating Autumn meeting

6 December 2023

“Surely there is something special about an Autumn meeting?” writes Swedish TSA’s (Sveriges Tvätteriförbund) Daniel Kärrholt, “The darkness and haze at this time of year feels like an eternity if it wasn't for a long-awaited break in the company of good friends and colleagues at Northern Europe's biggest event - our Autumn meeting - reinforced this year by the Danish Textile Services Association (BVT). We had returned to Halland and the city of the three hearts, Halmstad. It was also particularly rough on this day, 16 November, when the clouds opened with rain mixed with snow.”

BRIGHT FUTURE: Pictured from left to right, chairman Michael Sandin, Daniel Kärrholt and Urszula Hänsson municipal councillor

In the warmth of Halmstad Plaza - a new large conference hotel - just a stone's throw from Halmstad City centre, the conference area itself was inaugurated as late as the autumn. There, Chairman Michael Sandin could confidently say that with 200 participants, 45 exhibitors and 140 at dinner, this was a record attendance for a meeting. Among the participants were representatives from about 10 EU countries reinforced by friends from Norway, the UK and the USA,  Sandin noted before handing over to the opening speaker Urszula Hansson, municipal councillor who warmly welcomed the organisers and delegates to the City.

First to take to the stage was Cecilia Tall, program manager RE:SOURCE who told us about the state of the planned producer responsibility and how we are moving forward. It was a suitable transition to report on our Erasmus+ project the new Scandinavian Quality Control model.

The project consists of six activities:

  • Developing a Scandinavian Quality Control model
  • Production of educational material
  • Physical project meetings
  • Reference group meetings
  • Project management
  • Dissemination of information

The project group gave an account of the research that is done for input to the upcoming authorisation checks with the focus areas:

• EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles

• PFAS - The proposal for a ban and current situation

• Development of the authorization process and training materials

Finally, the project's website,  available in three languages –  English, Danish and Swedish – was presented.

Next up in front of delegates was Claus Nissen from NissenManagement and Beirholms Vaeverier with a presentation entitled ‘From a laundry advisor perspective: Exploit immediate potentials in the textile service industry’. It was immediately noticeable that it was a sought-after hands-on lecture. Nissen has a long professional career behind him, including at Berendsen, and he ended by giving concrete tips on what he would do if he were to start his own business. The starting point was that after all, 85% of the cost of textiles is from handling while 15% comes from purchasing – it's about digging in the right place.

The last session before lunch went to Kenneth Sjökvist and Martin Andersson from EnRival. Kenneth immediately felt at home as a former employee from the then Tvättman, Ekotvätt Bergmanngruppen and Milliken. EnRival is a local employment agency that helps match employers and job seekers.

After an hour of networking and visiting all the exhibitors in connection with the lunch, we got to meet Enjay and one of the founders Nils Lekeberg (En for N as in Nils and jay for J as in Jesper), the other founder. Enjay is behind Lepido, a Swedish-developed, extra durable ‘heavy-duty’ heat exchanger. It makes it not only possible, but also profitable to recover energy from polluted exhaust air thereby turning waste into watts, the Swedish way to recover excess heat. Rarely has a Swedish start-up been written about and appreciated as much as Enjay. If it's not in ‘Forbes’ or ‘Dagens Industri’, it's in ‘Sydsvenskan’ and other local media.

The day on the stage concluded by Daniel Brämhagen, EY, and the headline presentation,  ‘Neurodiversity: What happens when great minds don't think alike?’.

Brämhagen emphasised the value of being able to be yourself and that we must take advantage of everyone's skills and talents. In the end, it's about growth and profit in addition to giving everyone an opportunity.

That was the end of the official program. The chairman thanked all speakers, participants and our event sponsors Beirholms Vaeverier, KrimProd and Kalle-Ville Lampi from Maxi-Press.

“Dinner was in the Angelini restaurant and Blue Sky Bar, where the roof terrace offered a unique view of the city and the sea. Gone was darkness and haze. Here was the joy and warmth,” concluded Kärrholt.


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