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TENCEL™ Talks Textile Industry Eco-Consciousness, Celebrates Milestone – WWD

Progressing the power of partnership, for TENCEL™, crystalizes as continuous empowerment of the textile trade in all facets. From establishing  textile trends and setting milestones  in supply chain transparency, to ushering in new solutions for carbon neutrality and sustainability, TENCEL™, a leading fiber brand with increasing retail presence, maintains its sphere of influence in the trade space by investing in all corners of the industry as its partners collectively embrace and shift toward eco-consciousness.

As TENCEL™ commemorates its three decades-long milestone of providing high-quality sustainable fibers for textile and home goods brands, the fiber brand has a lot to celebrate – and marking the occasion is its “Feel Good Fibers Since 1992” tagline, a tribute to the comfort, eco-friendliness, and fiber innovation TENCEL™ is globally recognized for.

TENCEL™ branded lyocell and modal fibers produced by environmentally responsible processes from sustainably sourced and natural raw material wood, has redefined itself as a consumer-driven ingredient brand – but in the trade segment, TENCEL™ skillfully and perpetually evolves its production and sourcing strategies to advance the textile industry forward.

For 30 years, TENCEL™ has worked closely with its trade partners across the globe to create sustainable products and fundamentally reduce the industry’s burden on the environment, Florian Heubrandner, Vice President Global Textiles Business at Lenzing AG told Fairchild Studio. “These decades-long relationships are cemented by TENCEL™’s ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility. Moving forward, we will continue to work closely with industry partners, suppliers, brands, and NGOs to drive positive impact across the industry landscape.”

But much of its strategy is based on observing – and leading – textile trends. Heubrandner told Fairchild Studio, “One of the major trends, not only in the textile industry but for all companies worldwide, is the carbon zero agenda. Many fashion and textile brands are forming sustainability goals, introducing lower environmental impact materials, and implementing sustainable production into their manufacturing processes. These actions are all aimed at addressing the textile industry’s significant pollution issue.”

Heubrandner explained that it has been integrating sustainability and carbon neutrality into its growth strategies and working closely with different industry players and non-governmental organizations to help tackle the industry’s environmental impact.

“To work towards such goal, our efforts to first drive carbon neutrality started in 2020, when we introduced carbon-zero TENCEL™ branded fibers for Lenzing’s textile brand. In 2021, we expanded our carbon-zero fiber portfolio with the launch of carbon-zero TENCEL™ branded fibers with REFIBRA™ technology to address market needs for circular economy solutions in fashion,” Heubrandner said. “These commitments are testaments of Lenzing’s corporate goal to help the textile and nonwovens industry to achieve true carbon zero and help mitigate climate impact.”

And other textile industry trends noted by Lenzing, the company behind the TENCEL™ brand, include a recent growth trajectory across major economies in global apparel and retail sales. The outlook for the wood-based cellulosic fiber sector is particularly strong, Heubrandner said, as expected growth rate for viscose fibers is 3-5 percent, 5-10 percent for modal fibers, and 20-30 percent for lyocell fibers. Heubrandner explained that “high growth rates are attributed to the fibers’ versatile properties, increased sustainability, and greater supply security.”

Yet TENCEL™’s impact in the industry is most felt by its partnerships that engender a joint realization of a vision for a better textile industry. “At Lenzing, we believe in the power of innovation and partnership. It won’t be enough for corporations to work alone in tackling the climate crisis,” Heubrandner  said. “We will be seeing more collaborations across the supply chain and between public and private sectors to address these environmental challenges.”

San Yueh Textile Co., a vertically integrated textiles operation based in central Taiwan, said it has been using TENCEL™ products since 1995. “We mainly use TENCEL™ fibers to spin various types of yarns such as ring-spun yarn, core-spun yarn and OE yarn, which are supplied to down-stream customers who can get the most out of TENCEL™ and help them produce the products they want,” the firm shared.

“It is a pleasure to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary with TENCEL™. We are looking forward to cooperating with TENCEL™ and developing more new products in the future. Let us move towards a green and sustainable future together.”

And Kobayashi Planning Inc., TENCEL™’s Tokyo-based partner, told Fairchild Studio that at the beginning of its development, the most unique thing about TENCEL™ was its production process, other than its unusual texture. “It was very innovative that not a single drop of water was wasted in the cellulose manufacturing process. We found it [more beneficial than other] new fibers, but the market did not see its value back then; there was no sustainability or SDGs discussion then. However, sustainability is so valuable and appreciated nowadays. We believe TENCEL™ is the very first ‘eco’ fibers in the fiber market, and set the industry standard.”

Its longstanding partner ORTA, a Turkish denim manufacturer, praised TENCEL™’s ability to help fulfil its sustainability goals. “At ORTA we have been committed to creating a better ecosystem by sharing resources, knowledge, and information, and for years we have built relationships with our suppliers for this goal. TENCEL™ has been a great partner for us in this journey.”

“We value TENCEL™’s efforts in closing the loop and having full transparency and traceability, besides good quality, nature-based high-performance products with credible sources, and circular solutions. That’s why we only have TENCEL™ as a solution partner.”

Similarly, India-based Pallavaa Group, a sustainable fabric manufacturer, said that “At Pallavaa Group, we take sustainability very seriously. We wish that the entire industry [would address] sustainability in a more proactive manner. In the years to come, we really wish that the textile industry will switch to complete circularity, using only green energy. That would be fantastic for the industry [as a whole],” adding that they wish to see “the entire textile industry become carbon neutral.”

As for TENCEL™’s ongoing innovation, there are three key elements the brand plans to focus on. The first is the fibers it produces, where the focus will be on continuous innovation. “We aim to create new innovations that have never been met before,” Heubrandner said.

The second is new business concepts in a similar vein to its TENCEL™ fibers that are genuinely “true carbon zero”; and the third element is its partnerships. “One example is our partnership with Södra, where we entered a new era of circular economy together with the production of high-quality fibers using post-consumer waste. Heubrandner added.  “Addressing the issue of textile waste through circularity is key to achieving our ambitious climate and sustainability goals. While we also have our own initiatives such as REFIBRA™ technology, no one company alone can solve the pressing issue of textile waste.”

“It is important for the TENCEL™ brand to build our culture of driving innovation and sustainability, define and deliver investment programs and nurture a performance improvement culture that is fit for Lenzing. As the driver of sustainable innovation in the textile and fashion industry, our vision for TENCEL™ is that we will become a true market leader for natural and sustainable textile fibers, as we continue our focus on sustainability, resource allocation and recycle.”

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