Lenzing is going beyond its eco-friendly market presence to foster a better planet.
The cellulose wood-based fiber producer introduced a new sustainability strategy in its 2016 Sustainability Report. Highlighting the importance of sustainable fiber availability, the new strategy focuses on how Lenzing will fuel future sustainable innovations with its ongoing R&D investments and a more circular approach.
“Lenzing has been a trailblazer in the sustainable production of wood-based cellulosic fibers,” Lenzing Group CEO Stefan Doboczky said. “Thanks to our biorefineries in Lenzing and Paskov, we are able to use almost 100 percent of the various wood components to produce pulp, fibers, biobased materials, and bioenergy.”
After launching a sustainability report in 2012, Lenzing created a 2016 edition to further demonstrate its commitment to supply chain transparency. The new report aligns with the G4 guideline of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an international standard that dictates the best universal practice for reporting environmental impacts. With its new outline for sustainability, Lenzing hopes to showcase the environmental benefits of its fibers, while improving its processes for sustainable fiber production.
Lenzing’s new sustainability strategy emphasizes the importance of improving environmental performance throughout value chains and final products, in addition to working with suppliers to promote better practices. With the strategy, Lenzing identified four key challenge areas that it’s currently working to improve over the next few years.
To fortify wood security, Lenzing will use certifications for sustainable sourcing, responsibly consume wood through biorefinery and promote conservation efforts for ancient forests. With water stewardship remaining a pressing environmental issue, Lenzing will encourage its partners to use Tencel fibers in their products since Lenzing’s wood-based cellulose fibers consume less water than other raw materials. When it comes to deforestation, Lenzing will continue to reduce its own carbon dioxide emissions, in addition to those of its energy providers, with sustainable innovations. Lastly, these sustainable innovations are expected to help Lenzing’s customers shift to eco-friendly alternatives and reduce their product footprint.
“Sustainability is our most important innovation driver,” Doboczky said. “Our very strong Research & Development team screens for those ideas that have a positive impact on the environment and society as well as on Lenzing’s long-term profitability.”
In line with the sustainability strategy, sustainable innovations will hone in on two areas—processes and products and applications.
Last year, Lenzing invested $50.6 million in R&D, which was a $16.6 million increase compared to 2015. With closed-loop processes for water and chemicals under its belt, including those implemented at the Paskov, Czech Republic conversion project and Lenzing’s Austria production plant, Lenzing plans to boost its wood utilization efforts and seek additional alternative cellulose sources. In 2016, Lenzing also introduced the first lyocell fiber partially created from pre-consumer cotton scraps, Refibra, and it will explore more ways to recycle post-consumer textiles in upcoming years.