The importance of achieving 'Carbon-Zero' within the Textile Industry
8 Aug 2022
Throughout the ages, there has been one language that remains universal: fashion. Ever-present and ubiquitous, fashion lives in our daily lives, translated into the apparel we put on in the morning when we get up and go to work or the gym. It is the outfit we wear when we go out at night or to the supermarket, to see friends and family and when we go to sleep at night. The ultimate form of self-expression and reflection, it is versatile, accessible and can provide a sense of comfort and belonging.
However, over the years, the way we dress and consume fashion has had a significant impact - not just on society but on the environment and the planet itself. According to an analysis from The Global Fashion Agenda and McKinsey, the global fashion industry is accountable for 4% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Altogether, the fashion industry emits the same quantity of greenhouse gasses annually as the economies of the United Kingdom, Germany and France combined. More than 70% of these emissions have been attributed to upstream operations within the supply chain, such as raw material processing. The other 30% stems from downstream processes like packaging, transport, retail and end-of-use. With demand for fashion only increasing, as the sector is projected to grow up to 63% in certain emerging markets over the next 10 years, concerns on what impact this may have on the planet only increase.
As we consume more fashion than ever, apparel production continues to contribute to climate change and global temperature increases. To help keep the planet's temperature under control, science dictates that we should limit its growth to 1.5 degrees Celsius and produce less carbon than we take out of the atmosphere, reaching 'net zero' emissions by the second half of the century. Despite efforts to reduce overall emissions, the fashion industry is projected to miss the 1.5°C pathway by 50% under its current trajectory.
To help the fashion and textile industry reach its goal of being 'net zero', leading fiber manufacturer Lenzing has outlined its own carbon reduction mission with the support of its industry network. Since developing its TENCEL™ brand 30 years ago, Lenzing has been committed to developing sustainable fibers that are better for both consumers and the planet. A focus paper the company published in April outlines an ambitious target by the company: to reduce carbon emissions per ton of product by 50% by 2030 on top of becoming net zero by 2050. Its wider sustainability strategy heralds the commitment to the Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative and supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to limit global warming.
This strategy has informed Lenzing’s introduction of carbon zero TENCEL™ branded fibers in 2020 and the expansion of its portfolio with the launch of carbon zero TENCEL™ fibers with REFIBRA™ technology in 2021. In line with the SBT approach, carbon-zero TENCEL™ fibers have been third-party certified as carbon neutral by means of carbon emission reduction and respective compensation measures. This means that the fibers are developed according to the environmental ethos of lower carbon emissions levels from production, increased use of renewable energy sources and support of carbon reduction projects to make up for emissions that are not yet avoidable. Contributing to the fashion and textile industries' need to reduce emissions, brands and designers around the globe choose to use fabrics produced with carbon-zero TENCEL™ Modal and Lyocell fibers, which are third-partied certified as carbon neutral to meet consumer demand for more responsible products.
"We have been using TENCEL™️ Modal and Lyocell fibers from Lenzing for many years,” said Lily Tamin, Managing Director of Lucky Textile Group . “This partnership has allowed us to produce and release a wide range of textile and fashion products, from casual wear to anticipated collections made from carbon zero TENCEL™️ fibers. The rise of a sustainable lifestyle has created a significant demand for eco-friendly textile and fashion offerings. Our long-standing partnership with Lenzing has led to new business opportunities and brought added value to our fabric quality and customers. We are eager to explore new collaborations with TENCEL™️ fibers in the future and remain committed to contributing to the sustainable fashion industry."
Focusing on developing even more carbon-zero innovations that will make a positive difference within the fashion and textile industries, Lenzing continues to work closely alongside its partners. Recently showcasing its carbon neutral LENZING™ FR fiber at Techtextil Frankfurt in a newly launched collaboration with long-time partner Textil Santanderina for the protective wear segment, the manufacturer also extended its TENCEL™ branded fiber offering to the workwear segment through its long-time partnership with Klopman. In addition to having a reduced carbon footprint, its carbon-neutral LENZING™ FR fiber also provides complete supply chain transparency through its patented fiber identification technology.
As garments made with fewer carbon emissions continue to become the norm, Lenzing is set to continue to develop innovative and sustainable solutions which address the needs of industry partners, customers and the environment.