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Lenzing Makes Further Commitments to Sustainability in the Fiber Supply Chain

The Lenzing Group is making a major step forward in its commitment to sustainability—already a benchmark of the cellulosic fiber maker—by implementing a further substantial reduction of specific emissions by 2022.

The committment includes a 50 percent sulfur emission reduction by 2022 compared to 2014, and a 20 percent reduction in chemical oxygen demand (COD), which measures the amount of organic compounds in water, also by 2022.

Lenzing is also creating a specially designed eco-investment program for to advance its goal, and the company aims to have the EU Ecolabel granted for all of its production sites. The EU Ecolabel is an environmental quality label awarded to products and services that have less impact on the environment and on health throughout their entire life than comparable substitutable goods.

These goals came in line with Lenzing’s Sustainability Report 2017 published Wednesday, which is also International Forest Day.

“Climate protection and thus the preservation of forests as carbon sinks storing CO2 are two key issues with respect to societal acceptance of the textile and nonwovens industry,” Lenzing Group CEO Stefan Doboczky, said. “In recent years, we have contributed to a positive shift in awareness in the industry thanks to our exemplary wood procurement policy based on sustainability principles.”

Lenzing noted that it proactively supports the improvement of the condition and biodiversity of global forests. The Austrian-based company said its fibers derived from sustainable forest management also make a global contribution to climate protection by replacing less climate-friendly materials made of fossil fuels.

“Lenzing is committed to protecting ancient and endangered forests, improving the health and biodiversity of global forests and supporting the afforestation of degraded areas,” the report noted. “The Lenzing Group will initiate and finance a first conservation solution by replanting degraded land in Albania. This project will involve a nursery, training for local communities, and monitoring of forest growth over a long period.”

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Moving to a more circular economy is also something Lenzing has focused on in its report. The company said it’s on the road toward optimizing the ecological and social sustainability impacts of all its production facilities to ensure widespread transparency by the end of 2019, thanks to its introducing the Higg Facility Environmental Module, an internationally recognized assessment tool. These measures help Lenzing implement its sustainability strategy that includes sustainable wood sourcing, responsible water management, decarbonization and sustainable innovations, and expanding partnerships in the value chain and with NGOs to enhance the well-being of society and people.

Lenzing said it expects demand for wood-based cellulose fibers will increase 5 percent to 6 percent each year to 2020—which would be twice as fast as the global fiber market.

As part it the company’s sCore TEN strategy, a greater share of Lenzing’s pulp requirements–roughly 75 percent–will be secured through an increase in its own pulp production volumes and the expansion of strategic alliances.

“We are at the beginning of the value chain and can contribute much to improving the situation thanks to our activities and a maximum level of transparency, especially with partnerships,” Lenzing’s chief commercial officer, Robert van de Kerkhof, said. “We will also press ahead even more with the systemic transformation of our industry on the basis of our products, for example by expanding our business with lyocell fibers manufactured in a particularly environmentally responsible manner and innovative solutions such as our Refibra technology, which partly uses cotton scraps for fiber production.”

By 2020 Lenzing plans to generate 50 percent of its revenue with eco-friendly specialty fibers such as Tencel and Veocel, and other specialty fibers. Lenzing also intends to expand its research and development activities along the supply chain through new technologies, efforts that have already lef to successful R&D innovations like its Refibra and Tencel Luxe filaments.

In its commitment to water stewardship, Lenzing noted that its wood-based cellulose fibers consume on average significantly less water than irrigated cotton, which means blending Lenzing lyocell fibers into products could improve brands’ and retailers’ water footprint.