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Lenzing Rolling Up Its Sleeves to Lead Textile Industry on Climate Action

In its first year disclosing to CDP, the fiber maker earned ‘A’ scores for its global climate and forests stewardship. Here’s what got it there.

In December, Austria-based specialty fiber and textile producer Lenzing Group received a Double A rating for its corporate sustainability efforts in the areas of global climate and forests stewardship, as part of CDP’s 2020 Climate Change Report.

“Having our sustainability actions acknowledged and awarded is incredibly gratifying,” says Tricia Carey, Lenzing’s Director of Global Business Development – Apparel. “The fight against climate change is one of Lenzing’s top priorities; and it is especially encouraging to see some of our brand partners — including HanesBrands, H&M and Levi Strauss & Co. — on the Climate A List alongside us. The apparel industry has a significant environmental impact — accounting for between 4 percent and 10 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. We hope to see more of our industry partners working diligently and transparently toward responsible production in the near future.”

Lenzing is the only first-time discloser to earn a double ‘A’ score on CDP’s Climate A List, earning it a spot in the top 2.8 percent of disclosing companies.

While last year was the first year that Lenzing shared data with CDP, it’s been innovating on the climate front for some time. In 2018, Lenzing became the first wood-based fiber manufacturer to join the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and adopt science-based targets; and the company recently pledged to halve specific carbon emissions by 2030 and to be fully carbon neutral by 2050.

To reach its carbon-neutrality goal, Lenzing has introduced a series of innovations — including True Carbon Zero TENCEL™-branded fibers; certified CarbonNeutral® fibers, which are certified based on reduction, engagement and offset; and TENCEL X REFIBRA™ technology, which contributes to circularity by combining environmentally responsible lyocell fiber production with the upcycling of cotton waste materials.

“As a company that helps clothe the world, HanesBrands is committed to being a more sustainable company — and a catalyst for our industry to move to a more circular model. But we can’t do it alone, and that is why we partner with recognized leaders,” HanesBrands, which also made the A List for the first time in 2020, said in a statement. “Lenzing’s business practices address sustainability and environmental challenges and prioritize circularity — which allow the company to offer innovative, sustainable products. Doing business with the right partners is essential to our mission to make the world a more comfortable place.”

2020 also saw the launch of TextileGenesis™ — a blockchain-enabled platform that will ensure complete traceability for all TENCEL-branded fibers in finished garments – helping the textile industry's journey toward complete transparency. The company has also completed the implementation of CO2-reducing energy solutions at two of its production sites.

“These milestones are an integral part of Lenzing’s sustainability strategy since they help to combat climate change and trigger a new level of transparency along the entire value chain,” Carey says.

CDP’s A grade for Lenzing’s forest stewardship places it in the company of only 15 other companies to earn the recognition. As part of its “Naturally Positive” sustainability strategy, Lenzing launched a reforestation project in Albania in 2020 — which will see 20 hectares of degenerated land recultivated with forest and fruit trees, in cooperation with the local population and various NGOs. So far, approximately 3,600 fruit, deciduous and conifer trees have been planted in an area affected by erosion and flooding.

Looking to the future, Lenzing is building two new facilities: a pulp plant in Brazil, which will export green energy to the local power grid; and a state-of-the-art, carbon-neutral lyocell fiber production site in Thailand. The company says the factories will be the major contributors to driving down its carbon footprint in the coming 18 months.

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