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06 / 06 / 2019
Lenzing reinforces its pledge to drive sustainability at Copenhagen Fashion Summit
06 / 06 / 2019
Lenzing reinforces its pledge to drive sustainability at Copenhagen Fashion Summit

This year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit was held on 15-16 May 2019 at the Copenhagen Concert Hall. Over the years, the Summit has established itself as the world's leading business event on sustainability in fashion. This year, being no different, it brought together multiple stakeholders to discuss the issues facing the fashion industry and the planet. Lenzing has always been a key participant in the Summit, acknowledging the importance of discussing the environmental, social and ethical issues whilst proposing solutions for the industry to take on.

Lenzing’s booths at the event included one on innovation, the “Lenzing x Innovation Forum” and the “Lenzing x Design Studio”. The Lenzing innovation booth showcased developments and details on Lenzing’s role to create sustainable fashion. Lenzing also actively engaged with attendees of the event and shared information on the Lenzing design studio.

Implementing a circular economy is “critical” for the future

As an industry leader in fostering sustainability, Lenzing is committed to finding ways to further drive and promote circular economy efforts. For Lenzing, one of this year’s summit highlights was Robert van de Kerkhof, Chief Commercial Officer of Lenzing, joined in a panel discussion entitled: “Circular Economy in Fashion: From Commitments to Actions.”

During the discussion, Robert spoke about his vision when he first joined Lenzing that “one day recycling in textiles will be as normal as the paper industry”. Lenzing is now helping to make this a reality and Robert stressed the importance of the circular economy in the fashion industry, as it’s also garnering interest amongst consumers and government officials too. Robert said, “The drive for circular economy is absolutely critical for our future. All fibers at Lenzing are based on renewable raw material wood and are completely biodegradable. We are proud to be the industry’s first to adopt such circular economy ecosystem in the textile industry via a commercial scale.”

Whilst Lenzing promotes the circular economy, we still face barriers to further sustainability. For example, as Robert says we need help from brands and retailers to educate consumers that “recycling is not negative”. We need to move away from this negative perception that recycled clothes are cheap. Lenzing continues to work closely with stakeholders to turn this image around and bring a new perception towards recycled clothing. The push for circular economy is not a one-man effort, but rather the society needs to work together as a whole to make the difference and create value.

With more brands seeking to become more sustainable, there has been an increasing demand to introduce sustainable fibers in their collections, together with greater supply chain transparency. In light of this, brands are embracing upcycled fibers when producing garments. One of Lenzing’s sustainable innovations is the pioneering REFIBRA™ technology, which involves upcycling a substantial proportion of cotton scraps, as well as wood pulp. The raw material is then transformed to produce new virgin TENCELTM Lyocell fiber. Lenzing is also a keen supporter for the “Make Fashion Circular” project with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The project is the second phase of the “Circular Fibres Initiative”, which was actually introduced at the 2017 Copenhagen Fashion Summit. This initiative’s aim is to encourage the fashion industry to be 100% sustainable clothing.

As more brands and retailers acknowledge the harmful effect on garment waste towards the environment, it will further drive them to think about end-of-life options for clothing. While change will not be swift, Lenzing believes with enhanced transparency across product life cycles, the industry can ensure long term sustainability and work collaboratively to reduce its global impact.

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