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Lenzing Invests $116 Million to Meet Higher Environmental Production Standards

The Lenzing Group, a major producer of wood-based cellulosic fibers, is expanding its environmental commitment, investing more than 100 million euros ($116.5 million) in sustainable manufacturing technologies and production facilities through 2022.

A major goal of the ongoing initiative is to upgrade all Lenzing sites to fulfill the EU Ecolabel standard by 2022. Lenzing said the investments underline the company’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as guiding principles for its sustainability agenda. One of the most significant SDGs for the company is SDG 12: Responsible Production and Consumption.

“The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call for a sustainable economy that protects the planet and ensures prosperity and well-being for all people,” Lenzing chief commercial officer Robert van de Kerkhof, said. “With our Refibra technology, Lenzing is innovating to support a more circular, bio-based economy, contributing in particular to SDG 12.”

Lenzing’s Refibra technology takes cotton scraps collected from garment production and wood pulp from responsibly managed forests and transforms it into virgin Tencel lyocell fibers. The fibers are produced in a closed-loop production process using bioenergy and can be used for fabric and apparel production.

A key aspect of the multifaceted investment will focus on closed loop production technologies for the expansion of sulfur recovery systems. It’s also expected to improve effluent treatment units and upgrade Lenzing’s energy usage to more sustainable solutions, including reducing its greenhouse gas emissions through the construction of a gas boiler at its viscose fiber site in Nanjing, China.

“The textile and the nonwoven industries face fundamental challenges related to sustainability,” Lenzing CEO Stefan Doboczky, said. “Lenzing is passionate to take a leadership role in addressing this and making the world a better place. Our holistic approach to sustainability underpins this scope. The new eco-investment program is a major step forward in our ambitions.”