On the sustainability journey of companies, we tend to hear only from the big companies. They are normally the target and the news. Little space is given to great success stories of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

But we want to start filling this void. 

From time to time, we will give voice to Portuguese companies making their journey towards sustainability to understand what they are doing, their achievements, and their struggles.

We start today with J. Gomes, Lda, a small textile company from Covilhã with around 30 employees – an amazing example of respect for the environment. Profit and the environment can certainly go hand in hand. 

J. Gomes Lda. was founded in 1976 with the purpose of recycling textile waste and transforming it into raw materials that were sold to spinners. 

In 1999, there was a need to set up a carded spinning mill to self-consume raw materials and to make the company self-sustainable (in terms of raw material collection and use). J. Gomes began to experience increased demand and felt the need to expand its horizons and transform the raw materials into quality recycled yarns. 

In 2013, we started collecting waste and treating residues from textile and automotive groups. At this point, we transform 1,500 tons of waste annually, which no longer goes to landfills or incineration. Five years later, we launched our first home textile products for final consumption, and in line with that, we certified the company with the Global Recycle Standard (GRS). 

We felt the need, back in 2019, to create a vegan yarn and sought help from V LABEL for its certification. It became the first certified textile article in Portugal. With that same yarn, we decided to produce a line of scarves and shawls, which had an excellent reception from the public. 

The year of the pandemic was extremely uncertain, but it was always certain for us that we would have to maintain jobs. 

In 2021, a fire consumed most of the mechanical recycling line. Because we believe that the world deserves a rethinking of waste and because we believe that we were doing a good job, we reinvested 4 million Euros in a new production unit. Our mechanical recycling line is ready for 2025.

Sustainability is our purpose, but no company can survive without profit and awareness. 

We are currently involved in various projects, including Beat – Bioeconomy at Textiles, where a consortium tries to find solutions to a problem that we have known for about 46 years. 

We have developed a partnership with the automotive industry, in which we produce a new recycled yarn from that industry's waste, to incorporate it back into automobiles. Therefore, after being treated, part of the waste from that industry undergoes upcycling and re-enters the sector as an added value. 

Also, in collaboration with the Universidade da Beira Interior, we are trying to find solutions related to the construction industry to find a place to dispose of part of the textile waste. 

In the current year, 2023, we will inaugurate our recycling and carded spinning headquarters and, along with that, launch a clothing microcapsule with our yarns. Customers will be asked to return a garment (one that has been sitting in our closet for a long time or is no longer usable), and at the time of purchase, they will receive a discount voucher. 

At the end of the day, we believe that we still have a long way to go, and we all need to create synergies to reverse the process of destroying our planet. 

But, as it could not be otherwise, we are optimistic because we want to believe that tomorrow will be better. 

Our principle is simple: motivated teams always make things happen, and our mission is to build and maintain teams that are aware of the importance of their roles in the uncertain future that lies ahead. 

Thank you very much for the opportunity you have given us to tell the brief story of a small company lost in the interior of Portugal but that has always believed in the value of its work. 

Have a great and impactful week!

Catarina and Rui Gomes
Partners at J. Gomes, Lda.

This article refers to edition 195 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
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