Inditex and the Xunta project to turn trees into T-shirts with money from Europe

Alberto Núñez Feijóo decided last April to give Inditex a seat at the table of experts that select the projects with which Galicia opts for European funds for post-covid reconstruction. The general director of finance of the multinational, Ignacio Fernández, explained in these meetings that textile producers are looking around the world for a new material that is increasingly in demand: viscose. It is a vegetable fiber that is produced by transforming wood and that the main clothing brands use to make garments to which they can hang labels that read words such as "green" or "sustainable".

The PP blocks the most resistant eucalyptus from being declared invasive although the Environment described it as "very dangerous"

The PP blocks the most resistant eucalyptus from being declared invasive, although the Environment described it as "very dangerous"

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With the idea of ​​Zara under its arm, the Xunta has presented a project to the central government with a planned investment of 850 million euros. The plan consists of setting up a large viscose factory that feeds on the wood offered by the Galician forests. While Pedro Sánchez decides whether to include that project in the list of candidates for the funds Next Generation, the president of the Xunta asks for more wood. Feijóo announces a new forestry plan that increases tree felling by 33.3% and a new law to recover abandoned forests and put them to produce under the protection of a land bank controlled by the administration.

Galicia contributes 60% of the cut wood produced by Spain. They are a total of 9 million cubic meters that Feijóo thinks few. The president of the Xunta wants to expand that production to 12 million. The announcement of the increase occurs in parallel with the start-up of the project for which money is requested from Europe and which means that the forest finds a new production line in the textile sector beyond the usual conversion of eucalyptus into paper pulp .

During a meeting with the President of Asturias sponsored by the newspaper The voice of Galicia On November 18, Feijóo assured the following: "The issue of viscose has a strategic importance for us; it will force us to better organize the forests, to certify the wood, to reduce the costs in extinguishing fires since the Galicians know that in the forest plan they have a pension plan: every 20 years they will have a log that will generate a family income successively ".

The plan with which the Xunta wants to access European funds is ambitious. According to sources from the Department of the Economy, explains, "the project is based on the forecast of achieving a production capacity of 200,000 tons of textile fiber. It is estimated that, in this way, Galicia would represent around 3% of world production placing itself at the level of the main producers with an average annual capacity of between 160,000 and 190,000 tons ". The Xunta estimates that its plan would generate 2,400 direct jobs (between the construction of the factory and its start-up) and an uncalculated number of indirect jobs.

Beyond these general figures, hardly anything is known about the project: the location of the factory has not been decided nor who will be the investment partners for its start-up. At Inditex they assure that "it is a Xunta project" and they do not clarify whether they themselves can play a role as partners or recipients of European aid.

Meanwhile, the company founded by Amancio Ortega maintains a firm commitment to the use of vegetable fibers as the axis of its production. Only during the past year they manufactured 13 million garments woven with this type of materials. On its website the company assures that "in 2023, 100% of the cellulosic fibers that we use will be sustainable, supporting the commitment towards a responsible viscose". The fibers that the market values ​​are those with a guarantee seal that certifies that they have not been obtained from primary or threatened forests. At this point, the Galician eucalyptus appears as the perfect solution.

In the telematic conversation with his Asturian counterpart referred to above, Alberto Núñez Feijóo left several phrases that sound like a confession: "You can't buy landscapes. You either have that or you don't. Another thing is that we take care of it." The neighboring community has managed the forest with a more critical position regarding the generalization of eucalyptus as the main species of silvicultural production. Asturias has also put a brake on the implementation of a new, more dangerous variant (eucalyptus nitens) that resists low temperatures and has already reached places in the mountains of Lugo where, until a few years ago, plantations of this species had never been seen. As it is, when The voice of Galicia He asked Feijóo about the quality of the Galician landscape. The president of the Xunta declared: "There Asturias has won us. Not surprisingly, Feijóo sums up his idea of ​​Galicia from a bird's eye view as follows: "Of three million hectares of land, two-thirds is wood."


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