The International Abit Congress unfolded on November 8th and 9th, delivering enriching content over the two days with substantial discussions focused on the textile and apparel industry. These deliberations centered around collaborative actions intended for the future to enhance competitiveness in the sector. In the 2023 edition, the event was hosted at the Federation of Industries of the State of Santa Catarina (Fiesc) and drew over 400 congress attendees.
Themed “Networks, Connections, and Boundaries,” the panels delved into diverse strategies for industry-wide network growth. Key topics of discussion included the future of retail, emerging technologies, and ESG initiatives.
During the opening ceremony, Fernando Valente Pimentel, Director-Superintendent of Abit, was joined by Mario Cezar de Aguiar, President of Fiesc; Giuliano Donini, President of the Fiesc Fashion Industry Development Chamber, and Edgard Usuy, Secretary of Planning of the State of Santa Catarina. Although Senator Esperidião Amin, leader of the José de Alencar Mixed Parliamentary Front for the development of the textile and apparel industry, couldn’t be present, he sent a video with an opening statement.
On the first-day, during panel 1, IAF President Cem Altan addressed crucial points about the common plans that should be undertaken by sector agents,aiming for a collaborative and global approach to network growth. Cem delivered a lecture on the theme “Market: ‘From Boundaries to Bridges,'” alongside Henry Costa, Director of Renner, and Tiago Inácio Peixoto, CEO of Cataguases — two major Brazilian retail and textile companies.
IAF’s guidance is for manufacturers to increasingly adopt sustainable practices, investing in machines with a lower environmental impact. However, Altan emphasized that not all can achieve this alone, stressing the need for government support to improve indicators that were predicted before the pandemic.
The growth rate in the European Union is projected to be 0.8% in 2023 and 1.4% in 2024, with inflation rates of 6.5% and 3.2%, respectively. These figures significantly impact companies that have reduced their investments. “If companies don’t sell, they can’t invest. Achieving the sustainability goals imposed by the EU by 2040 will be challenging”, Altan quoted.
The panels of the day continued with the topics “The Importance of Industrial Policies” and “Technology, Integration, and Organization in Networks”. The first day concluded with a special session marking the launch of the Fashion and Climate Guide for the decarbonization of the textile and apparel industry. The initiative is a collaboration between Abit, ABVTEX, and SENAI CETIQT — crucial institutions for the development of the sector in the country — with consultancy provided by Reos Partners.
Luiz Alberto Marinho, Managing Partner of Gouvêa Malls, opened the second day by talking about the consumer at Omniera. According to a McKinsey study, customers have exhibited growing demands, with 87% of consumers expressing a preference for online shopping. Subsequent discussions encompassed advanced materials, public-private partnerships, collaborative initiatives, and sustainability.
The closing lecture featured executive Rachel Maia, CEO of RM Consulting, underscoring the shared responsibility of the industry to heighten awareness of sustainable practices, such as ESG, in an effort to preserve the planet.
The upcoming edition of the International Abit Congress is already confirmed and is scheduled to take place in Salvador, Bahia, in November 2024.