Tonight’s event grew from a short scoping study by the re:centre into the business opportunity within the Bradford textile sector for closed loop innovation. The term closed loop refers to an ‘economy’ where creating and using products wastes nothing1. Closed loop innovation can operate at the level of individual products, individual businesses, supply chains or cross sectorally.
The choice of the textile sector was based on three considerations:
1.Bradford has had a strong recent growth in textiles manufacturing: 46% increase in jobs from 2008 to 2011 (~2,500 employed in Bradford in textiles manufacturing in 250 companies, in 2011) some of this as a result of repatriation of aspects of manufacturing processes
2. Bradford has a rich heritage and current industry focussed especially on initial supply chain activities for wool. The UK wool clip is auctioned by the British Wool Marketing Board based in Bradford: 20,000 tonnes of wool pass through Bradford each year .Two thirds of the UK wool clip is processed in Bradford at the Haworth Scouring Company, Leeds Road. Bradford is home to the International Society of Dyers and Colourists.
3. There is a fast growing and significant number of businesses involved with synthetic fibres, non-woven fabrics and post consumer waste recovery.
Our study identified a number of companies operating closed loop practices or with ambitions to do more. Others reported a need for support, advice and specific business support including new business models. Further conversations and activities within the District and wider region highlighted companies operating in various stages of the textiles value chain who were keen to meet and discuss opportunities arising from changes in the global textiles macro economy and ways to generate and capture value from manufacturing and technological innovations. The recent Foresight report on The Future of UK Manufacturing (see below) highlights similar concerns and recognition of opportunities
The event tonight therefore is an open event bringing together a wide range of expert voices on the topic of re-thinking the Bradford (and wider region) textile economy. Future events will focus on specific themes and topics generated from tonight’s discussions.
A NEW VISION FOR UK MANUFACTURING
Extract from Executive Summary
Foresight (2013). The Future of Manufacturing:
A new era of opportunity and challenge for the UK
The Government Office for Science, London
Manufacturing in 2050 will look very different from today, and will be virtually unrecognisable from that of 30 years ago. Successful firms will be capable of rapidly adapting their physical and intellectual infrastructures to exploit changes in technology as manufacturing becomes faster, more responsive to changing global markets and closer to customers. Successful firms will also harness a wider skills base, with highly qualified leaders and managers whose expertise combines both commercial and technical acumen, typically in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
Constant adaptability will pervade all aspects