Want to expand your business into Europe?
Our business advisor Sonja Malin can help.
Helsinki: A hub for sustainable textiles
Helsinki, the vibrant capital of Finland, is known for its stunning natural beauty, clean air, and a commitment to sustainable living.
It’s in this picturesque city that Junkan, a joint venture between three Japanese companies, Furushima, hap Inc, and Ciriot, is taking root. Junkan is not just a new company; it’s a game-changer in the world of textile sustainability, bringing together the latest in textile solutions development with over a century of experience in clothing and fashion.
In a statement released by the company, Junkan President, Europe, Mr. Jarkko Jussila explains:
“JUNKAN Oy is a newly established company in Helsinki, Finland for developing and offering rental, reuse and repair services for consumers, brands, retail, and organizations in Europe. The company’s roots are in Japan, providing decades of textile expertise in functional clothing, responsible manufacturing, and high-quality repair business & inspection. At JUNKAN we want to combine this expertise with world-leading circular economy and sustainability expertise in Finland & the Nordics, and while doing so, introduce a scalable circular textiles services platform for the European markets. We welcome warmly new partners to join the JUNKAN journey.”
Finland has long been a forerunner in textile manufacturing and design. It’s a nation where innovation meets tradition, and where sustainability isn’t just a buzzword, but a way of life.
Finland’s booming ecosystem for new innovations, with a laser focus on sustainable materials, digital advancements, circular economy, and impactful sustainability initiatives, makes it an undeniable choice.
Finns excel at creating cutting-edge textile fibers, including harnessing cellulose to replace traditional materials like cotton, viscose, and polyester. Moreover, Helsinki boasts top-notch R&D facilities that facilitate collaboration across industry borders, driven by tight public-private-people partnerships. Junkan is also planning to pilot new product solutions in Helsinki early next year 2024 to collect feedback from target users in winterly conditions.
I have learned that this field [new materials] is more advanced in the Nordics, so I would like to develop our business in Finland, the Nordics, and Europe.Mr. Kazuo Furushima, the Chairman of the Board & President of Furushima Group.
This open, welcoming, and connected business ecosystem invites innovators like Junkan to script the future of sustainable textiles not only in Finland but across the globe.
Growing demand for textile reuse processing
Junkan offers rental, reuse and repair services for consumers, brands, retail, and organisations. At the helm of this venture is Mr. Kazuo Furushima, the Chairman of the Board & President of Furushima Group.
With deep expertise in textile product inspection and manufacturing facilities in Japan and Asia, Mr. Furushima has witnessed a significant shift in the industry:
“Our main business in Japan and Asia has been inspection of textile products and their manufacturing facilities. Recently, the demand for reuse processing such as quality inspection and repair of returned or unsold products has been increasing significantly.”
This transformation is driven by factors like the rise of e-commerce during and after COVID-19, a growing sustainability-focused trend in business and consumers’ lifestyles, and a move away from mass production and disposal.
Mr. Furushima’s visit to Helsinki left a profound impression, “I have learned that this field is more advanced in the Nordics, so I would like to develop our business in Finland, the Nordics, and Europe.”
He found the city to be functional, with an emphasis on clean air, water, and efficient public transportation—a reflection of an honest national character.
Helsinki aligns perfectly with Furushima Group’s motto: “Integrity.”
Tackling Industry Challenges
Junkan arrives in Helsinki at a crucial juncture in the textile industry. Nearly 30% of produced textiles remain unsold, resulting in unsustainable practices and significant financial losses. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that over $500 billion of value is lost annually due to underutilizing clothing and recycling.
Furthermore, textile production is resource-intensive, consuming vast amounts of water and utilising chemicals that often end up contaminating water sources, contributing to pollution. These challenges make Junkan’s mission all the more critical.
As Junkan sets out on its journey to revolutionize textiles circular lifetime concept and offer choices for traditional ownership, it extends a warm invitation to new partners and innovators who share its vision for a new circular textiles shared market ecosystemMr. Jarkko Jussila ,Junkan President, Europe
Why Helsinki for New Materials and Textiles
Helsinki is the ideal launchpad for Junkan’s groundbreaking initiatives in textile sustainability. The city’s commitment to sustainability and a circular economy aligns seamlessly with Junkan’s vision.
Helsinki’s focus on sustainability
The ecosystem in Helsinki is focused on developing sustainable materials that can replace polluting traditional materials such as plastics, cotton and concrete in various industries. Helsinki aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 and a circular economy by 2050.
A collaborative ecosystem
The ecosystem in Helsinki is characterized by collaboration between different stakeholders, including startups, research institutions, and industry players. This collaboration helps to drive innovation and accelerate the development of new materials and solutions.
Strong governmental support
The Finnish government has made significant investments in the new materials ecosystem in Helsinki, providing funding and support for research and development. This support has helped to create a favourable environment for startups and other organizations working in the materials space.
Leading examples of textile innovation in Finland
Junkan’s entry into Helsinki is a significant milestone in the textile industry’s journey towards sustainability. However, it’s not the first venture in Finland to champion innovative textile practices. Other notable examples include:
Rester: A Finnish company facilitating the recovery of corporate textiles, transforming them into new fibres and high-quality raw materials. Their circular economy facility refines fabrics into premium raw materials suitable for manufacturing yarn, fabric, and various non-woven products such as insulation, acoustic panels, and filter fabrics, as well as composites.
Infinited Fiber: Currently working on establishing the first commercial-scale Infinna™ fibre factory at a former paper mill in Northern Finland. Their groundbreaking technology converts textile waste, which would otherwise end up in landfills or be incinerated, into something truly valuable: Infinna™, a top-quality, circular textile fibre that reduces global dependence on virgin raw materials. This innovation addresses the dual challenges of managing the vast global textile waste and our constant demand for new textiles.
Spinnova: Committed to sustainable fibre production, Spinnova has pioneered a unique process that converts wood pulp into high-quality textile fibres without resorting to harmful chemicals. This breakthrough offers significant potential for the fashion industry, promoting eco-friendly practices and reducing reliance on traditional textile materials like cotton. Collaborating with fashion brands such as Marimekko, Fashion FWD, and H&M Group, Spinnova is making a notable impact in the realm of sustainable fashion.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland: VTT is one of Europe’s leading research institutions, state-owned by Finland. They actively promote the application and commercialization of research and technology across various sectors. In the realm of textiles, Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre plays a pivotal role in advancing research and development efforts related to recyclable and renewable materials. Their work spans multiple industries, contributing significantly to the circular economy and sustainable practices.
Telaketju: A cooperation network that forwards textile recycling. The network aims to develop the collection, sorting, and refining processes of end-of-life textiles. This enables the development of business models related to the circular economy. Telaketju is working to advance a national ecosystem of knowledge, building a platform for the creation of a stronger industry with multidisciplinary collaboration.
These cases underscore Finland’s dedication to pioneering sustainable textile solutions. As the textile industry evolves towards circularity and sustainability, these initiatives set the stage for future innovations and inspire global collaborations aimed at reducing environmental impact while delivering quality and style.
We have been fortunate to witness these three companies discover synergies and establish a new home in Helsinki, bolstering the local ecosystem. JUNKAN is poised to make a substantial impact on the circular textile industry in Europe.Sonja Malin, Senior Advisor at Helsinki Partners
An Open Invitation to Innovate
Helsinki’s business ecosystem is known for being open, welcoming, and interconnected, making it an ideal environment for companies like Junkan to thrive.
“As Junkan sets out on its journey to revolutionize textiles circular lifetime concept and offer choices for traditional ownership, it extends a warm invitation to new partners and innovators who share its vision for a new circular textiles shared market ecosystem”, concludes Mr. Jarkko Jussila
Sonja Malin, Senior Advisor at Helsinki Partners expressed her excitement, stating, “We have been fortunate to witness these three companies discover synergies and establish a new home in Helsinki, bolstering the local ecosystem. JUNKAN is poised to make a substantial impact on the circular textile industry in Europe.”
Apply to our Founders to Finland program
Our programme offers tailored support for Asian business founders and investors. Establish your business in Helsinki, tap into the thriving European market, and immerse yourself in a vibrant tech ecosystem nestled in the world’s happiest capital city.
Contact Helsinki Partners
If you are interested in learning more about Helsinki and its possibilities – please contact us via the form here. We’ll make sure to get back to you within a few working days.