Swedish TSA conference presents a sustainable agenda

9 June 2023

The annual meeting of the Sveriges Tvätteriförbund (Swedish Textile Services Association) took place in StockHolm in May at the Scandic Anglais Hotel, reports the Association’s Daniel Kärrholt, where outgoing chairman Jan Kluge welcomed everyone and introduced the opening speaker Robert Johansson, personnel regional councillor Region Stockholm.

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS: Riksdag member Per-Arne Håkansson (right) with guest speaker former speaker of the Riksdag, member of the Riksdag and state secretary Nestor Thage G Peterson (centre). Per-Arne commented that he had just turned 60 and Thage, who is 90 in September, quickly responded: "Sixty – those were the days." Daniel Kärrholt looks on

Johannson gave an inspiring talk about people who moved to Stockholm to contribute their talents to the city. In conclusion, he had the honour of presenting the Swedish Textile Service Association's sustainability award to Anders Thorgaard, entrepreneur, visionary and owner of the laundry and textile service group DFD/Textilia, who received the Association’s Sustainability Award.

Thorgaard has taken the initiative to upcycle textiles into new products on an industrial scale instead of burning or throwing away discarded textiles. The concept, which goes by the name ‘upcy’, means that discarded textiles become raw material in newly designed products. For example, old duvets become trendy new jackets and worn-out tablecloths from the gourmet restaurant become great chef's coats. Customers can order and take the upcycled textiles into their businesses and contribute to a circular economy, as demonstrated in the film that concluded Thorgaard’ acceptance speech as he received the Sustainability Award..

Jan Kluge then took the gavel for the last time to announce that, after a unanimous decision across the board, that the association has elected a new chairman – Michael Sandin, from the city of Staffanstorp. Sandin has, among other titles, that of chairman of the municipal board and a regional council position on the merit list.

The morning featured three speakers – Martin Stenfors, COO Renewcell, Martin Löfgren, Director Group Procurement Scandic Hotels and Mikael Jansson, Managing Director ManpowerGroup.

Waste not
Martin Stenfors has more than 25 years of experience within sourcing and supply chain both as a management consultant and in operational positions. He is now making sure that Renewcell is scaling up feedstock sourcing to match the increased production capacity in the company. By 2025 Renewcell will annually produce 250,000 metric tonnes of dissolving pulp from post-consumer and post-industrial textile waste and will be sourcing equally large amounts of textile waste feedstock.

Attractive proposal
Martin Löfgren presented a paper on how the Scandic hotels chain aims to be attractive for hotel guests but also as a customer for textile service companies and explained how, as a customer, it can influence how the service is improving, for example, by increased sustainability requirements and so on. He stressed that Scandic, by virtue of its 280 hotels with 58000 rooms in six countries, is an important part in making a sustainability mark in the hospitality industry. With the new ‘Med Scandic Go’ concept, Scandic's growth rate is estimated to be able to increase by 1000-1500 rooms annually.

Mikael Jansson with seven years at the then Tvättman Textil Service highlighted the importance of being an attractive employer both today and tomorrow. A clear trend is the difficulty in finding the right skills – three out of four Swedish employers cannot find the right person for the job. At the top of the list are IT, data and software reliability.

A political giant
From 13.30 and for 45 minutes the stage was Thage G Peterson's. He was for many years one of the giants of Swedish politics with six cabinet portfolios, speaker of the Riksdag, member of the Riksdag and state secretary. The audience listened devoutly to Thage's clear positions on current issues as well as all the memories from meetings with world leaders over the years. Above all, the meetings with Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama,  minister of finance Gunnar Sträng and Nelson Mandela. Thage, who turns 90 this autumn, regularly declines all requests for speeches but made an exception especially for us.

Comprehensive programme
The rest of the afternoon we got to listen to Anne-Charlotte Hanning, Senior project leader and researcher Materials and Production, RISE.

Anne-Charlotte presented the project "Upstream cleaning at industrial laundry with the intention of minimising the release of microplastics and effects at the water and sewage  plant", a project, , in cooperation among others  with Textilia, Christeyns and Sveriges Tvätteriförbund

Ulrike Ryll, project manager, Swedish Institute for Standards (SIS) for the committee for Medical Textiles (SIS/ TK [technical committee] 332) and Agneta Gunillasson, project manager SIS/TK, for Surgical Textiles (SIS/TK 333) also spoke.

Ulrike and Agneta gave a welcome insight into the work around standardisation and revision Textilhandboken Textile Handbook). A very interesting discussion followed and led to a deepened cooperation with us and in our international channels.

Caroline von Post, founder of Stormie Poodle and Beskow von Post, TexChain3 talked about the theme "From waste and end-of-life work clothes to new products". Caroline presented the work - Texchain3 with, among others, Region Skåne, Rikstvätt Bengtsfors Karlskoga, Blåkläder, the Västra Götaland region, Martinsons, Samhall and  Sveriges Tvätteriförbund as participants. Among other things, eight pilot projects have been developed.

Finally, Daniel Zhang took the floor, CXO (acquisition general and multitasker) at Teqnion and board member at Textilia.

Newly elected chairman Michael Sandin ended the meeting and a few hours later the participants reconvened for the annual dinner.

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