Despite the recession and the temptation – that all companies undergo – to move to lower-cost countries, Gabel decided to do things differently and invest in a green policy to save money as well as the environment, and a whole load of jobs.
“We believe in sustainable development,” says Paolo Moltrasio, communication manager. “That encompasses not only ecological care but also a social and economical engagement in our territory.”
This is no passing fad at Gabel. Ever since the 70s the company has focused on rationalising the industrial processes and the environments in which they occur. Their factory in Rovellasca (near Como, north of Milan) was conceived by Gregotti Associati, following the guidelines of eco-design from early in this decade.
But Gabel’s greatest move into this eco-conscious direction occurred through recovering a hydro-electric power station on the Isonzo River. This would allow them to obtain green energy for fuelling the functioning of their Texgiulia factory, a former site for the working of cotton purchased by Gabel in the 80s, which is now turned into a super-green, energy-self-sufficient contemporary reality.
“Not only are we completely independent energy-wise in our product development (all the power we use comes from a green source) but we actually also provide for other nearby companies,” says Moltrasio.
“It was a major investment but it does turn into a quick gain – for the environment and also for the company,” he continues. “Think of how much energy is required to produce 20 million square metres of fabrics. Think of the original materials coming in and being stored, of the logistics, of the whole production cycle, of distribution. Everything people do ends up polluting the environment so we need to be aware of this and move into directions that are as green as possible.”
On top of the use of self-produced green hydro-electric energy, Gabel (with its Somma brand) also produces blankets made with regenerated wood, issued from production waste.
“Everyone earns out of such an approach,” says Moltrasio. “The company, the environment and the final user, who cares increasingly about issues such as these.”