The Lenzing Group’s commitments and investments in sustainability and the circular economy garnered top marks from Canopy, while the fiber firm enhances its transparency and takes virtual visitors on a tour of its headquarters.
The platform is accessible by all brands using Lenzing Tencel and Ecovero branded fibers, and supply chain partners globally across Asia, Europe and the Americas. Phased onboarding and new digital certificates to ensure traceability and sustainability follow a 12-month pilot program and field trials with four sustainable brands–H&M, ArmedAngels, Mara Hoffman and Chicks–and supply chain players from 10 countries in three regions. The global rollout of Lenzing’s blockchain-enabled supply-chain traceability platform will be conducted in phases.
During the first phase, Lenzing’s supply-chain partners based in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will complete the onboarding process in the fourth quarter of 2020. An estimated 300-plus supply chain partners in China and Turkey will also join the program in the first quarter of 2021. It is estimated that by the second quarter, most eligible Lenzing supply chain partners will be onboarded into the platform, ensuring full supply chain traceability.
One of the core components of the platform is integration with the Lenzing EBranding fabric certification system that allows brands and retailers not only to access the full supply-chain traceability, but also to view the results of forensic physical verification of fabric samples via the digitally signed Lenzing E-Branding fabric certificates.
“Over the past year, during the pilot program and field trials we have been receiving very positive feedback from brands and supply chain partners,” Robert van de Kerkhof, chief commercial officer at Lenzing, said. “Our brand partners have also been encouraging us to accelerate the global roll-out for traceability of Lenzing fibers. With this new system and the integration with Lenzing E-Branding fabric certificates, the entire Lenzing ecosystem will create an unprecedented level of transparency.”
Andreas Dorner, commercial director for Europe and Americas textiles at the Lenzing Group, took virtual visitors on a “Carved in Blue: Denim Think Tank Live from Lenzing, Austria” Zoom tour of the company’s sprawling facilities, where trees are transformed into Lenzing Modal and Tencel lyocell fibers.
Draped by the hills made famous by the “Sound of Music,” Droner explained how the area and facility was “converted from a chemical-polluting industry into one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable factories in the world.”
He showed the towering beech trees from which Lenzing’s Ecovero, viscose and Modal are derived, consuming 2 million tons of the trees annually. The process of debarking the trees and turning them into wood chips was shown, after which they are turned into “honey-like” pulp and extruded into fibers. Lenzing’s trees arrive at the plant by truck or rail.
The factory, which produces 327,000 tons of fiber per year, is CO2 neutral due to a closed-loop manufacturing system, Dorner noted. Byproducts such as artificial sweetener and vinegar are part of a process that utilizes 100 percent of the tree.
“I think that’s really outstanding,” Dorner said.
Meanwhile, the Lenzing Group scored a total of 30.5 points–four points more than last year–and received for the first time a leading “Dark Green Shirt,” the highest Hot Button ranking category from Canadian environmental organization Canopy.
Lenzing once again convinced the non-profit organization with its innovative Refribra technology, commitment to a circular economy, its high level of transparency in wood and pulp sourcing, as well as its active contribution toward protecting forests and preserving biodiversity.
In this widely recognized ranking, Canopy grades the world’s 31 largest producers of wood-based fibers with respect to their sustainable wood and pulp sourcing, their efforts with regard to using alternative non-wood feedstock and their achievements for lasting conservation in critical forests around the globe.
“We are very proud to be leading the industry with regard to responsible wood and pulp sourcing,” Lenzing CEO Stefan Doboczky said. “Innovation, as well as transparency and sustainable raw material sourcing, are part and parcel of our sustainability strategy which covers the whole value chain, from raw material to the final product.”
Wood and pulp are the most important raw materials for Lenzing’s sustainable production of cellulosic fibers. Lenzing’s commercial wood sources are 100 percent either certified by FSC1 or PEFC2, or controlled in line with FSC standards. In addition, Lenzing has successfully completed the second Canopy verification audit.