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25 / 05 / 2022
Embarking into a new era of sustainability with TENCEL™
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25 / 05 / 2022
Embarking into a new era of sustainability with TENCEL™

As a behind-the-scenes raw material brand, TENCEL™ has long been recognized as one of the key drivers for a more sustainable textile and fashion industry across the supply chain. Following the repositioning of the TENCEL™ brand into a consumer-facing ingredient brand in 2018, the brand has evolved to become a household label of trust for partner brands and consumers who value the importance of sustainability and their individual impact on the planet.

While we often hear external stakeholders complement the TENCEL™ brand and mentions around adoption of the fibers in products, what do Lenzing senior executives think about the brand? To learn more from an “insider’s perspective” of TENCEL™, Harold Weghorst, Global Vice President Marketing and Branding at Lenzing AG has invited Stephan Sielaff, Chief Executive Officer, and Robert Van De Kerkhof, Chief Commercial Officer for a chat about their thoughts and vision towards the TENCEL™ brand.

Harold: Stephan and Robert, thank you so much for taking time to join our conversation, as we celebrate the TENCEL™ brand’s 30-year anniversary this year, perhaps let’s start with something fun – what is your proudest moment with TENCEL™?

Stephan: Over the last three decades, TENCEL™ has been a key focus for Lenzing. From sustainably sourced raw material wood, award-winning closed loop production process, unrivaled fiber features, innovative fiber technologies and fabric identification offerings, the TENCEL™ brand is the true embodiment of next-generation sustainability in textiles. One of the proudest moments for me is when our brand truly connects with our customers. I am also proud to be able to say that our fibers not only feel right, but also contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Robert: For me, I am extremely proud of how our team can diversify the TENCEL™ portfolio to cater for each of the unique needs of our customers. This proves we have strong capability to innovate and evolve our offerings to become sustainability frontiers in the textile industry. One memorable example was when we expanded our offering to TENCEL™ Luxe branded lyocell filament yarn and launched the TENCEL™ Luxe brand. This led to our first expansion into luxury fashion haute couture, where we developed new partnerships with premium brands and RCGD Global, which brought the TENCEL™ brand to the Oscars red carpet.

Harold: Stephan, as we embark on the next 30 years with the TENCEL™ brand, what would you think are the top priorities and vision for the brand?

Stephan: For me, it is important that the TENCEL™ brand builds a culture of purpose. As a leader of sustainability in the supply chain, the TENCEL™ brand will continue to innovate and drive the transition from linear to circular economy, not only for Lenzing, but also our whole industry. This process will be the guiding principle for our future investments. As a driver of sustainable innovation in the textile and fashion industry, my vision for TENCEL™ is to become the true market leader for natural and sustainable textile fibers, as we continue our focus on sustainability, resource allocation and recycling.

Harold: How about you, Robert, what would you want the TENCEL™ brand to achieve in the next 30 years?

Robert: For me, there are two main aspects. First, I would like consumers to see the TENCEL™ brand as a label of trust, that when they buy a garment made with TENCEL™ branded fibers, they know that everyone in the supply chain has added value from a sustainability perspective. From a corporate perspective, I want our colleagues to continue to feel proud working in an organization that offers innovative eco-solutions to our customers.

Harold: The TENCEL™ brand has been empowering leading industry value chain partners, from spinners to yarn makers, fabric mills to consumer brands, on their journey to adopt more innovative and sustainable business practices. Stephan, what do you think drives our commitment to ongoing innovation?

Stephan: People are the main drivers, not only Lenzing employees, but also customers and industry partners who help to leave a greener legacy for future generations. For me, the TENCEL™ brand is not just a fiber brand. It is a power brand for customers and consumers. It is a commitment towards sustainability for our industry, our planet and our children. As Lenzing embarks on a carbon-zero future as a company, we are hoping that through the TENCEL™ brand, we can set an example for the wider textile and fashion industry that going net-zero is attainable. The TENCEL™ brand is here to support the industry to achieve this goal every step of the way.

Harold: In addition to collaboration, TENCEL™ has also been regarded as a champion of innovation in fiber and fabric innovation. As we embark on new heights, Robert, what are your thoughts towards our next move, any technology frontiers you want us to conquer?

Robert: For our ongoing innovation, there are three key elements that we’d need to focus on. The first is the fibers we produce, where we focus on continuous innovation. We need to create new specific innovations that have never been met before. The second is new business concepts, meaning true carbon zero. Our TENCEL™ fibers are truly “true carbon zero”, which we have achieved by reducing carbon emissions, and also working with partners to lower or offset their emissions. The third element is partnerships. One example is our partnership with Södra, where we entered a new era of circular economy together with the production of high-quality fibers using post-consumer waste.

Harold: So, gentlemen, do you have any messages you would like to share with our colleagues in this 30th anniversary celebration?

Stephan: The TENCEL™ brand is a success story that makes consumers feel good and look good. TENCEL™ is us and therefore all employees at Lenzing are proud of what we have achieved and celebrate this anniversary together. I am sure that with everyone’s efforts, commitment to sustainability and making a difference to status quo, our legacy will live on. To everyone who works hard every day to make a difference to our textile and fashion industry - you do an amazing job, keep it up! As we continue our journey, let us keep on growing and act as champions – champions of sustainability with a true champion brand TENCEL™.

Robert: The TENCEL™ brand stands for what it is but also how it’s being made. To our 8,000 employees behind Lenzing, a very big thank you and congratulations to your achievement. At the same time, I would like to congratulate the consumers who choose and prefer the TENCEL™ brand. They are eco-conscious and know what they are buying, and with that I think we are really able to make systemic changes to our textile and fashion industry.

Harold: Thank you so much for your kind messages, and we look forward to celebrating new milestones with you over the new few decades.

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