DNA of a Positive Future


interview with Carl Baekelandt – CEO Concordia Textiles
Carl Baekelandt - CEO Concordia Textiles

interview with Carl Baekelandt – CEO Concordia Textiles

“In Belgium we can be proud of our resilience and our power to constantly reinvent ourselves and put ourselves – although small in size – on the world map”, says Carl Baekelandt, CEO of Concordia Textiles, Belgian manufacturer of textile solutions for selected, professional markets with almost a century of expertise. Carl keeps a positive and empowering outlook on the Belgian textile industry and its future potential.
“It’s not easy to be a textile entrepreneur in Western Europe”, Carl explains, “We’re dealing with a structural lack of employees that’s here to stay. It’s hard to fill in job openings, but especially difficult to find people with strong, technical profiles. Labor cost is expensive and hardly competitive and the image of the Belgian textile industry is outdated and negative. It’s unfortunate because the reality of our industry is quite different!”, according to Carl, powerhouse CEO with over 35 years of experience in the industry.
What we need to show young generations is that we're an extremely innovative industry, rich in R&D, technology, design and more
“Contrary to what our old-fashioned image would make you believe, we’re an incredibly innovative industry with international allure and lots of opportunities for personal and professional growth. At Concordia Textiles, for example, we strive to offer our employees strong and entrepreneurial work environments that stimulate personal expansion.” Carl says.
Concordia Textiles
Carl believes in a bright future and lots of new opportunities for growth on the horizon, especially when it comes to circularity. “Right now, we’re dealing with 7 million ton of post-consumer textile waste a year, only 1% of which gets recycled. In Europe we lack natural resources, but possess a gigantic quantity of post-consumer waste that could be used as raw materials. I see incredible potential here and believe that EU legislation is smart to boost and invest in this”.
AI, big data processing and growing adoption of digitisation and automation are other big trends for the future, according to Carl. “Jobs will need to be re-thought and emphasis will shift to things like patenting, intellectual property, writing etc.”.
Inclusivity and diversity within companies and company structures are a must, as well as in our ways of thinking and living together
Carl mentions that lifestyle and expectations have shifted because of the pandemic and trickle down in the workplace. "Since Covid19 people have different expectations for life. People no longer live to work, but work to live and value a different work/life balance. As companies we must commit to creating the right conditions and environments to meet those changed expectations.”
Carl ends with an optimism that seems to characterise his personality: “After the removal of quotas from China some time ago, a Chinese tsunami hit our beloved industry. The companies that have survived those challenging times, have proven that they can explore innovative paths that have kept them in business today. I believe this resilience and power to revolutionise can guide us through any storm and will propel us into a positive future”.
Powerful and positive words from an expert with experience.