The Lenzing Group announced Tuesday it is extending its innovative fiber identification technology to Tencel branded lyocell and modal fibers, solidifying its commitment to providing supply chain transparency along the entire textile production process.
The company said the successful launch and feedback from the industry on the system used for Lenzing Ecovero branded fibers, as well as the growing number of wood-based cellulosic manufacturers, encouraged it to expand the technology for the Tencel brand to ensure traceability of its products.
“As the number of wood-based cellulosic manufacturers in the textile market increases, it is becoming even more important to tackle wrongly labelled products and counterfeiting fibers,” Florian Heubrandner, vice president of the global textiles business at Lenzing, told Sourcing Journal. “For the Tencel brand, we want to support our partners and consumers in fulfilling their eco-targets and provide them with peace of mind that they will receive the Tencel branded fibers they have consciously chosen and ordered.”
“By ensuring traceability of our Tencel branded fiber, we are helping to provide consumers the assurance that the clothing and home textile products they buy include sustainable and comfortable Tencel fibers,” Heubrandner said. “For brands which use Tencel fiber in their products, this can further provide them with the credibility to communicate sustainability efforts, combat greenwashing and upgrade their own brand’s sustainability credentials.”
Fiber identification will be a vital part of the fabric certification process within Lenzing’s E-Branding Service. As of November, all fabrics will be tested for fiber identification, enhancing the security of Lenzing’s online services and testing facilities and increasing transparency and security between value chain partners. By the first half of 2022, additional services for brands and retailers will be integrated onto Lenzing’s E-branding Service.
Heubrandner noted that Lenzing’s fiber identification technology provides physical identification of fiber origin at different stages of textile products such as the fabric and garment level. This enables full traceability of the fiber, protects from counterfeiting and provides assurance to brands and retailers that their products are made from Tencel branded lyocell and modal fibers. It also guarantees that the fibers are produced in state-of-the-art-production facilities that meet high standards for resource efficiency and environmental and social responsibility. This allows brands and consumers to have full visibility of how and where their products have been made.
“We hope that raw material transparency will become a key part of the textile industry, and that our actions will further encourage other industry stakeholders to prove the origin of their resources, as transparency and traceability are not only enablers of sustainability, they also enhance workers’ rights,” Heubrandner said. “The strong focus on transparency will hopefully shift the textile industry to become more sustainable and improve the livelihoods of garment workers.”
Tracking and traceability of raw materials in the final product can ensure raw materials originate from responsible resources, comply with industry standards and thereby prevent usage of materials from controversial sources. In the long run, this will help improve the overall sustainability of the industry thanks to informed decision-making by all parties, he noted.
With the textile industry facing big issues with pollution, carbon emissions and workers’ rights, and to increase the industry’s ability to manage its supply chain more sustainably, consumers and businesses must first be aware of the nature and magnitude of these issues, Heubrandner said. As a result, enhancing transparency and traceability within the supply chain has become a top priority, and more retailers are realizing this.
“Adding to the rise of eco-conscious consumers driving the demand for eco-friendly products, retailers must strongly re-evaluate their existing production practices and actively pursue a more sustainable business model,” he said. “It is imperative for brands to clearly communicate exactly where their products came from. However, not all have the capacity to do so. Due to the lack of tracking standards or technology, brands can usually only identify their direct vendors such as garment producers or fabric mills. For other early to intermediary stages of production, it is difficult for them to assess whether those sources are genuinely credible or ethical.”
Through Lenzing’s partnership with Textile Genesis to launch a blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability platform, in addition to its innovative E-branding Service, Lenzing is staying at the forefront of digital traceability and has been creating an unprecedented level of traceability.
“Another major achievement in the last year was the highly successful launch of our carbon-zero Tencel branded fibers that are certified as CarbonNeutral products by Natural Capital Partners,” Heubrandner said. Lenzing set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and achieve carbon zero status by 2050, so the launch of this fiber goes a long way in realizing this vision.
In addition, the creation of Tencel branded modal fiber with indigo technology aims to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Dyeing fabric in a blue hue traditionally comes at a huge environmental cost, as it requires potentially harmful chemicals and uses large volumes of water. Tencel branded modal fiber with indigo technology infuses pigment into fibers directly during the spinning process, cutting back significantly on the use of resources.
“We hope that our success can provide the industry with an example of how innovation empowers sustainability and help to shift perception toward proven sustainable solutions,” Heubrandner added. “We are also eager to support brands and consumers in their stride towards adopting eco-responsible products. To achieve this, we will seek further collaborations with industry partners, such as our recent commitment to implementing the first phase of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Higg Index transparency program that aims to provide consumers credible information they can trust, evidenced through data.”