Industry invests 140 million euros over the next three years
The Portuguese footwear industry will invest 140 million euros over the next three years, through the Footwear and Fashion Cluster, led by APICCAPS and the Centro Tecnológico do Calçado de Portugal (CTCP), with the aim of being “the international reference in the development of sustainable solutions”. The sector also aims to “strengthen Portuguese exports based on a highly competitive national production base, based on knowledge and innovation”.
In two different but complementary projects, framed in the PRR (Recovery and Resilience Program), APICCAPS and CTCP brought together more than 100 companies, including universities, companies and entities of the scientific and technological system and prepare a new decade of growth in foreign markets.
“The achievements of the past are not guarantees of the future”, assumes Luís Onofre. For the President of APICCAPS, “although in the last decade Portuguese footwear has had a remarkable performance – excluding the pandemic period – in foreign markets to which it exports more than 95% of its production, we feel that business has changed and it is up to us invest in a new industry, to remain at the forefront”. This process of affirmation of Portuguese footwear in foreign markets “must be based on the sophistication and creativity of the Portuguese offer, in terms of biomaterials, eco-products, digital and agile processes, and new business models, allowing to bet on market segments in that choice is based more on fashion than price.”
Bioeconomy of Hope
With a budget of 80 million euros, the BioShoes4All project will be divided into five pillars – Biomaterials, Ecological Footwear, Circular Economy, Advanced Production Technologies and Training and Promotion and aims to “ensure a resilient national production base for positioning in the international market in which innovation, differentiation, a quick and effective response, service, product quality, training and promotion will be competitive arguments that will allow us to be superior to the competition”, guarantees Maria José Ferreira, from Centro Tecnológico do Calçado and coordinator of the project. For this, the footwear sector “has the ambition to induce a radical change in materials, technologies, processes and products”.
“The development and production of new biomaterials and components, based on the principles of the circular bioeconomy and sustainable development, in all its dimensions, creating differentiated solutions, valued by customers and consumers, contributing to catalyze a new sustainable bioeconomy, the efficient recovery of regional and national bioresources and decarbonization” is one of the objectives of this project. In addition, there is a need to “create new concepts of eco-products for footwear and leather goods, based on the principles of the circular economy and carbon neutrality, with high functionality, innovative processes and business models, fundamental in the strategy of differentiation and long-term value creation. , consumer-oriented, who appreciate design and fashion, want to define their product, are informed, socially and environmentally demanding and responsible, and often digital”.
Equally relevant will be the “design and application of new approaches and technologies aimed at minimizing and valuing production and post-consumer waste, in the context of a circular green economy, contributing to the increase in the life cycle of materials, a management efficient use of material and energy resources, carbon neutrality and the fight against climate change.
Within the scope of the BioShoes4Al project, it will also be relevant “the development and use of advanced technologies, within the framework of new technological and sustainability paradigms, including tools for the traceability of the entire value chain, robotics, value from data or intelligence artificial, contributing to the increase of flexibility, productivity, competitiveness and resilience of the cluster”.
60 million in cutting-edge technology
With a budget of close to 60 million euros, the FAIST project will be developed, which essentially aims to “increase the degree of specialization of the Portuguese footwear industry towards new product typologies” and to enhance “the supply capacity of Portuguese footwear companies through the reinforcement of the capacity to manufacture medium and large orders, using more efficient assembly processes”, says Leandro de Melo.
“If Portuguese companies today – he explains – are recognized for their ability to innovate, efficiently manufacture small orders or for their flexibility, they will now have to optimize processes and improve efficiency, to ensure new gains in competitiveness”.
According to the General Director of the Centro Tecnológico do Calçado de Portugal, the footwear cluster should “innovate in the constitution of the production chain”.