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Tencel Pushes Ahead on Sustainability Despite Difficult Year

Despite the year’s challenges, Lenzing Group’s Tencel brand has continued to push ahead on sustainability.

The Austrian fiber firm, which reported a net loss of 2.8 million euros ($3.28 million) in the first nine months of 2020, introduced a new blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability platform as consumer demand for sustainable products continues to grow,

Designed with Hong-Kong based technology firm TextileGenesis, the platform allows brands and retailers to access the results of forensic verification of fabric samples via digitally signed Lenzing E-branding fabric certificates. The platform went live last month and is available for Tencel- and Lenzing Ecovero-branded fibers.

A follow-up to a 12-month pilot program and field trials with H&M, ArmedAngels, Mara Hoffman and Chicks, plus supply-chain players in 10 countries, the global rollout is being conducted in phases. Starting with partners in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the transition process will continue into next year, with most eligible partners to be onboarded by the second quarter of 2021, Lenzing said.

Lenzing's supply chain traceability platform, designed with TextileGenesis, has begun rolling out for Tencel and Lenzing Ecovero branded fibers
Lenzing’s supply chain traceability platform, designed with TextileGenesis, has begun rolling out for Tencel- and Lenzing Ecovero-branded fibers. Tencel

“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 and member of the board at Lenzing, said in a statement. “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.”

Tencel also has expanded its global co-branding campaign, #FeelsSoRight. The brand worked with 14 international and local fashion designers to create editorial, multimedia and social media content on the topic of sustainability for Vogue and Cosmopolitan. Co-branding partners for the campaign’s first phase included Selected, The North Face and Sheridan. After seeing more than 41.3 million views in just over six months, Tencel is working on a second wave of eco-fashion content.

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The campaign’s second phase adds China, Korea and Indonesia on top of Australia, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and the United States, as well as 16 new brands, including Jockey, Camper and Zalora. Co-branded content and advertising have been expanded to include Elle in addition to Vogue and Cosmopolitan, with total views expected to exceed 75 million worldwide, Tencel said.

In September, Lenzing announced the launch of two CarbonNeutral-certified “carbon zero” Tencel-branded lyocell and modal fibers. Produced using renewable energy, they will contribute to lower carbon emissions and energy consumption across the supply chain and “kick-start the decarbonization of the textile industry,” Lenzing said.

This year, Tencel has also collaborated with a range of brands on eco-conscious collections, including longstanding partners AGAM Socks, Amour Vert and Allbirds alongside new partners Cottonink and DAGi.

Both Lenzing and its Tencel brand have been recognized in 2020 for their sustainability efforts. The Carbon Disclosure Project placed Lenzing on its “A List” for its work toward tackling climate change, while SABRE Asia-Pacific and PRWeek Global Awards rewarded Tencel for its #FeelsSoRight campaign.

Looking ahead to 2021, Tencel said it “is determined to keep up the positive momentum” by continuing to champion greater circularity, reducing carbon emissions and educating consumers and partners on eco-responsible alternatives.