120 companies in the footwear sector sign the Green Pact

6-7 Comissário (1)
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One hundred and twenty companies in the footwear industry have signed the Portuguese Shoes Green Pact

The companies committed themselves “to work and contribute towards the targets defined by the United Nations and Europe of a zero-carbon planet”.
One hundred and twenty companies in the footwear industry, responsible for over 1 000 million euros of exports and 10 000 jobs, signed on the 24th of February, at the Palácio de Cristal in Porto, the Portuguese Shoes Green Pact.
In a ceremony chaired by the European Commissioner for the Environment, Virginijus Sinkevicius, which also counted with the presence of the Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, the Secretary of State for the Economy, Pedro Cilínio, and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Polido Pires, the signatory companies of the Portuguese Shoes Green Pact have committed “to work and contribute towards achieving their goals and the targets defined by the United Nations and Europe of a zero-carbon planet in 2050 and a halving of carbon emissions in 2030”.
At a session that symbolically marked one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner said it was a “very sinister anniversary”. “This war has taught us many things. One of the most surprising lessons, for many people, is the new importance of a green recovery. It’s now clear that green policies have a lot to offer on multiple fronts”, he defended. The Commissioner admits that “There are always risks to being an entrepreneur”. “It’s not always easy to integrate sustainability and circularity into the business model”. But “we all sense that the world needs a different type of economy, different patterns of production and consumption”. Highlighting the good example of Portugal, which “shows the world how these things can work in practice”, Virginijus Sinkevicius recalled that “weeks ago I was in Greenland and the winter footwear that I saw on sale was Portuguese. This happens because of your quality and technology, as a result of your courage”, he concluded.
For the Executive Chairman of APICCAPS, Manuel Carlos, this is a “major challenge” for the sectors of the industry, “which provide employment to more than 40 000 people and export more than 2 billion euros to 170 markets”.
“The footwear sector has the second-highest trade balance of the Portuguese economy and, among the major global players, it has also the second-highest average export price. This is the starting point for the construction of a sustainable future”, he stressed.
Recalling the “ambition to become an international benchmark and strengthen its exports, combining virtuously sophistication and creativity with productive efficiency, based on the technological development and management of the international value chain”, Manuel Carlos stated that the goal is to “ensure the future of a national production basis, sustainable, and highly competitive”. In this regard, it is worth reminding that the sector presented two investment projects to the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), already approved, in the amount of 140 million euros, to be executed until the end of 2026 by two consortiums, involving companies and entities from the Portuguese scientific and technological system.
“The development of new materials will be accompanied by a strong investment in high technology as well as in the qualification of companies for this change”, he noted, considering that this way the industry “sets in motion a new decade of growth”.
According to Manual Carlos, the pact signed “ensures that companies will have the full support of APICCAPS and the Footwear Technology Centre on this path”, also guaranteeing “a policy of open doors and transparency to customers and partners” in the sector.
For the Secretary of State for Economy, Pedro Cilínio, the Portuguese Shoes Green Pact is “a historic moment for both the footwear sector and the Portuguese industry” and “an example for all sectors of activity”.
He then emphasized that the path undertaken by the sector was achieved “in partnership with the public sector”, representing an “investment of 110 million euros, leveraged with about 60 million euros of public support from Portugal 2020”.
Bearing in mind that “in 2022, the sector and the entire industry faced several challenges, surrounded by incertitude, with the evolution of inflation, the increase in the costs of raw materials, production, and energy and all the uncertainty caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine”, the Secretary of State highlighted that “the Portuguese business fabric has shown, once again, great resilience and has sustained the growth of the economy and the evolution of employment”.
The office-holder recalled that “in the RRP, with the mobilizing agendas, 3 000 million euros have already been allocated, to which 150 million euros from the bioeconomy are added”, while in the scope of Portugal 2030, “very soon, the first notice of productive innovation will be issued, with several application phases that will provide stability to entrepreneurs to plan their investments until the end of the year and with amounts that will respond to the more than 900 investment proposals already submitted by the companies”.
However, he warned: “This is not a ‘sprint’ to spend the funds of the PRR or Portugal 2030 at any cost, as some seem to believe”. “This is a marathon for competitiveness, running in a sustained and determined way to achieve a set of transformative investments in the economy. The use of funds will be demanding and we will need to select the investments that best accelerate the bet in innovation, in the green and digital transition of companies, deepening synergies with the knowledge centres, to continue progressing in the value chain, in the manufacture of products with greater added value and technological incorporation, thus changing the specialization profile and export potential of our economy”, he emphasized.
The Minister of the Environment and Climate Transition, also present at the ceremony, defended that “Portugal has played a leading role in international commitments on climate action”. For Duarte Cordeiro, “we ought to be more efficient, do more with less, going beyond words and moving on to actions (…) The green commitment is a crucial contribution to achieve the goals of carbon neutrality and circular economy in our country”.