Sustainability: Riopele launches ambitious target

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In its third generation, Riopele, a family company, has just celebrated its 94th anniversary and set an ambitious target in sustainability: 80% of its products will have a sustainable origin by 2025.

Based in Vila Nova de Famalicão in the North of Portugal, the company has 700 active clients in more than 30 countries. According to José Alexandre Oliveira, "sustainability is not a trend at Riopele", but rather "the way we have been in business since our foundation in 1927". For this reason, over the last decade, the company has reinforced its investments in critical areas such as energy efficiency, recycling and water reuse.

Having posted positive operating results for eight consecutive years, the company is concluding an investment plan, started in 2012, of around 35 million euros, aiming to make "Riopele the Factory of Europe". The company has been creating the conditions to definitively affirm itself as a reference in the sector, reinforcing internal competencies. The number of employees has grown 23% in the last decade, and more than 10% of the total are already senior managers. Another highlight is the investment in young people: the average age is now 41.

 "We are acting in various areas simultaneously. We always look at the issue of sustainability from a comprehensive perspective", emphasises the Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors. From a 13% reduction in CO2 emissions or a 16% reduction in energy consumption to water recycling - 55% at this time - "the commitment is integral".

"Our greatest commitment - continued José Alexandre Oliveira - is to the community. We are proudly a Portuguese company, which supports local production, with a network of stable suppliers and all together, we comply with European standards, whether in terms of the environment or social responsibility." "It would be good if our competitors obeyed the same standards and complied with the same rules," he concluded.

Additionally, by 2027, Riopele believes it can meet the conditions so that "all the electrical energy used in the production process comes from renewable sources".

Regarding raw materials, Riopele has been increasing its focus on producing fabrics made from recycled polyester, "a sustainable raw material, which ensures huge water savings and doesn't generate waste". It also maintains excellent fabric performance, "preserving the colour and guaranteeing exceptional durability".