Oliver Spöcker (Source: Lenzing)
Now the Techtextil is finally taking place in person in Frankfurt/Germany, what do you hope/expect from this fair?
We are very excited to be attending the tradeshow in person this year. It is a great platform to experience new materials physically and discuss innovations and news related to the entire spectrum of technical textiles, functional apparel textiles and textile technologies.
We also can’t wait to meet all our customers in person again, this will provide us with the opportunity to meet new prospects and discover new business opportunities.
What will you present at the Techtextil?
The theme of the Lenzing stand at the Techtextil this year is “Go Carbon Neutral” where we showcase our carbon neutral fiber solutions under the Tencel, Veocel and Lenzing brands.
To further drive the decarbonization of our value chains, we have been working closely with our partners and also further developing our product range.
By using a cleaner energy mix and investments in increased production efficiency, we go beyond carbon offsetting to make our Tencel, Veocel and Lenzing FR branded fibers carbon neutral.
These carbon neutral fibers are certified as carbon neutral products for the textile and nonwovens industry in accordance with the CP Protocol guideline. They support Lenzing's customers, especially brand owners and retailers, in reducing their Scope 3 emissions in raw material production and meeting their science-based Scope 3 target commitments.
As sustainability is becoming a key driver in the workwear and protective wear segments, we have just announced a new partnership with our long-term partner Textil Santanderina that leverages our latest carbon neutral Lenzing FR fiber offering for the protective wear segment. At the same time, through a collaboration with European fabric manufacturer Klopman, we demonstrate how our carbon neutral Tencel fibers, which were launched in 2020, can be used in the workwear segment.
At the moment, every new development, every new product should also be sustainable and environmentally friendly. What is your approach to a greener world?
Our sustainability strategy is “Naturally positive” which was developed based on a materiality analysis and focuses on three strategic principles: Driving systemic change, advancing circularity and greening the value chain. This includes sustainable innovations like our Refibra technology which contributes to circularity by upcycling cotton scraps from garment production to become cotton pulp. Up to 30% of these are then added to wood pulp to produce Lenzing Lyocell fibers.
Furthermore, we implement responsible practices and innovative products to enable our customers and value chain partners to improve their environmental performance and achieve their sustainability targets and commitments, with the goal to drive systemic change with the whole value chain.
Responsible sourcing practices, water stewardship, decarbonization, and sustainable innovations also form the basis for Lenzing’s efforts in greening the value chain and achieve our strategic commitment to be climate neutral by 2050.
Textile production is also moving towards CO2 neutrality. How can traceability and transparency in the supply chain be achieved?
We are committed to transparency because we believe a transparent supply chain is the first step towards a sustainable textile industry.
We run a parallel approach of physical and digital transparency which includes a fiber identification technology integrated in our fibers that allows physical traceability.
We also use a blockchain tracking system to enhance traceability digitally, as well as the Lenzing E-Branding Service that facilitates the traceability of Lenzing’s fibers and enabling customers to promote them effectively. The platform stands for transparency in the supply chain with the objective of enabling consumers to make conscious purchasing decisions.
The combination of these different approaches ensures a high level of transparency and verifies the origin of our fibers throughout the supply chain up to the finished garment.
What are the biggest challenges for the textile industry in times of pandemic and war in Europe?
There are indeed a number of disruptions facing the industry which includes energy price surge, raw materials shortage, disruptions of global supply chains and logistical bottlenecks etc.
Continued high prices and volatility on commodity markets are expected to remain a challenge for the textile industry, but the implications for the wood-based cellulosic fiber sector are strong. Expected growth rate for modal fibers is 5-10%, and 20-30% for lyocell fibers. These high growth rates are attributed to the fibers’ versatile properties, increased sustainability, and greater supply security.
At the same time, the climate crisis continues to be another key and most urgent challenge, the impact of which can be felt all over the world and affects people, nature and business.
That said, we are seeing huge opportunities for sustainable players in the industry driven by the growing demand for sustainable products by consumers who are more conscious about their impact on the world as a result of their consumption decision.
TENCEL, VEOCEL, LENZING, REFIBRA = registered trademarks
The interview was conducted by our TextileTechnology team with Oliver Spöcker, Director of Protective Wear & Workwear of Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria.