Speech by Ambassador Wouter Plopm at the TexRec Conference in Skopje, Macedonia

TexRec Conference

29-06-2017, 11h30, Holiday Inn Hotel Skopje

 

Speech by H.E.Mr Wouter Plomp, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

 [Introduction]

  • Ladies and gentlemen. Happy to see you today.
  • Good to see private and public sector gathered, because this is the key to success – when decisions are made through dialogue among the main stakeholders
  • New government means reform opportunities and I am therefore honoured by the presence of the Minister of Finance, Mr. Dragan Tevdovski, who showed interest for the subject that (in)directly affects us all.
  • Today’s seminar is TexRec – Textile Recycling – but could have also been TaxRec – Taxation for Recycling. To make textile waste recycling possible, change in custom’s policy needed and I am looking forward to hearing the experts opinion on this.
  • I would also like to wish a warm welcome to the Dutch experts who were invited to share their experience in textile waste recycling.

[NL Experience]

  • They will provide more details about the benefits and challenges of textile waste recycling, so I will only start by briefly pointing out the three main win-win situations:
    • It is good for the planet, the nature, the public health and tourism development
    • It is also good for the profit: waste can be used as input for new production
    • It helps Macedonian textile sector to maintain competitiveness so it creates more jobs for the people.
  • Planet, profit, people are also the three elements of the concept of circular economy to which my country and our embassy pays more and more attention.

 [Planet]

  • If you have ever seen a landfill, then you must be aware of the huge effect they have on the environment and the overall quality of life. Textile production unfortunately contributes to a great extent to the size of the mountains of landfills nowadays, which can and should be avoided.
  • The production of clothing is one of the most polluting processes in the world, and more and more EU and Dutch consumers become aware of this problem. The way this problem is addressed becomes part of your label and your business.

[Profit]

  • Researches conducted in the Netherlands show that CSR makes brands more popular and more sustainable on the long-run, which means more profit as well.
  • Instead of polluting the soil and air, textile waste can also be a valuable resource that can be used to make new products: Literally, turning waste into money.

 [People]

  • Healthier environment also means healthier and happier people.
  • It is therefore in the interest of the Macedonian textile sector to avoid closing of the interesting European market because your customers in Europe have doubts about the way in which the inevitable textile waste is processed.
  • On the long-term, making the process of textile production in Macedonia sustainable will also benefit the people: the higher the quality ranking of product is, the more investors will come to Macedonia and create more jobs for the people.

[State of affairs in Macedonia and MK-NL cooperation]

  • In Macedonia, the textile sector is one of the most important sectors that accounts for 27% of the total Macedonian exports and over 12% of the GDP
  • At the same time, this sector produces a significant amount of waste, which is currently being destroyed or dumped in landfills that are a seriuos health and environmental risk.
  • This can only change through a joint effort of the government and the private sector and I would be very happy if this meting today contributes to finding a concrete solution.

[MK-NL cooperation]

  • Many Dutch textile companies decided to open their production facilities in Macedonia, and many more decided to outsource their production to some of the Macedonian textile factories.
  • The further growth and development of this cooperation will closely depend on the way the products are made and their environmental footprint.

[Conclusion: People, planet, profit]

  • In conclusion: recycling waste is good for planet and a healthier environment for all citizens, it is good for the companies and their profits and it contributes to the well-being and the opening of new jobs for the people of Macedonia.
  • The work has to be done by you – the public institutions and the business sector but the Netherlands remains open for cooperation and exchange of know-how in this field.
  • I hope that few years from now we can look back at this event as a starting point that led to many positive changes, for the benefit of all.