The EU industrial sector continues to suffer from a deep crisis, being it necessary for  manufacturing companies to offer the highest quality in products, to reach a competitive differentiation and to reduce operating costs, while promoting exports. In this sense, the sustainability and environmental accounting transverse in today’s economy, in which the life cycle assessment and services resulting from its implementation (European Product Declaration, Eco-design, Product Carbon Footprint) stand as a platform of great value to achieve these objectives. Using this context as starting point, partner organisations from six different countries meet together in order to carry out “Ecotextyle: Vocational Education and Training on Product Enviromental Management for the Footwear and Textile Sector”, a 24-month partnership at European level coordinated by the Centro Tecnológico del Calzado de La Rioja (CTCR) (Spain) with the cooperation of Neo Sapiens (Spain), BATTI (Bulgaria), Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM) (Italy), Institute of Leather Industry in Lodz (IPS) (Poland), Zavod IRCUO (Slovenia) and SATRA Technology Centre (United Kingdom).

Funded under the Key Action 2 of the Erasmus+ programme for strategic partnerships for vocational education and training, this development of innovation project aims to gather organisations from different countries but working on the development of programmes to train and educate on product environmental footprints (PEF) on the footwear sector and the production of textile complements related to it. According to this, the main objective of this partnership will be to establish the appropriate training within SMEs or training centres to be able to implement the PEF methodology, in line with the future European policies. The environmental assessment methodologies defined in Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) footwear should be properly applied for quantifying the environmental performance of products, thus a specific theme of a training pathway shall be developed. The idea is to work together and exchange good practices related to the training of those responsible of the product environmental management inside their SMEs and to provide them the curricular skills and competences needed for an appropriate development of their professional profiles (at local or international level). To achieve this, partner organisations will create an online training platform and face-to-face workshops on different languages dealing with issues such as product life cycle analysis, ecodesign, environmental footprints, environmental labelling, environmental product declaration, etc. and combining both, formal and non formal methodologies. The project will also offer a coaching service for those interested on using the learning materials previously mentioned and that will give them the support to apply the knowledge acquired to their everyday work environments on the footwear sector. To make all this possible, partner organisations will carry out different transnational meetings, training courses, pilot tests activities, on the field researches and multiplier events on each partner country to disseminate the project results. Thanks to all of this, “Ecotextyle” will be able to develop self assessment and training tools that could provide all the skills needed and certificate at the same time the qualifications demanded on the footwear sector for both, environmental sustainable products and producers.