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Lenzing’s sustainable Tencel fibre turns 30

By Simone Preuss


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Image: The Lenzing Group

The flagship textile brand, Tencel, of Austrian fibre producer Lenzing Group is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022. Started as “Lenzing Lyocell” in the 1990s, the fibre producer acquired the Tencel brand from Corsadi BV (part of the international financial group CVC) for an undisclosed sum in 2004 and combined it with its lyocell business while retaining the brand name Tencel.

This move secured Lenzing’s position as one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-quality cellulose-based fibres. Today, Lenzing offers three sustainable solutions under the brand name Tencel: Tencel Modal and Tencel Lyocell Filamentis apart from Tencel Lyocell.

Image: The Lenzing Group

Lenzing offers three types of sustainable Tencel fibres

While Tencel Lyocell fibres are extracted from sustainably grown wood using a closed-loop system that recovers and reuses the solvents used, Tencel Modal fibres are known for their high flexibility, softness and long-lasting quality, whereas Tencel Lyocell Filamentis fibres enable the production of an extremely fine filament yarn.

  “Since its launch 30 years ago, Tencel has always been envisioned as a solution provider for the textile industry. Aligning with the industrywide shift towards deeper levels of sustainability and transparency, in 2018, the brand evolved from a behind-the-scenes contributor to a front-facing player. From then on, Tencel expanded its offerings from fibre creations to pioneering digital technologies,” said Robert van de Kerkhof, member of the managing board at Lenzing, in a press release.

Image: Robert van de Kerkhof / The Lenzing Group

“To date, the Tencel brand has exceed expectations across the industry as ‘the trusted provider’ of high-quality sustainable fibres among leading global fashion and home textile brands. We are thrilled to reach this milestone and are looking forward to driving continuous innovation and building stronger partnerships over the next 30 years and beyond,” added van de Kerkhof.

300 brand partners globally

Today, Tencel collaborates with more than 300 brand partners globally in various consumer-centric campaigns and was supported by the launch of the Tencel eShop in 2021, the first ever e-commerce channel created by a sustainable fibre producer, thus encouraging consumers to make informed purchases.

“Our partnership with the Tencel brand began more than 20 years ago. Tencel-branded fibres are produced more efficiently with the most sustainable process and the least amount of ecological footprint. Since our focus is to promote sustainable yarns and fabrics, this collaboration is a perfect alignment, meeting our sustainability goals and those of our customers,” said Durai Palanisamy, executive director at the Pallavaa Group.“

Image: The Lenzing Group

“With its circularity and solution for low carbon emissions, Tencel is the answer to an eco-strategy in fashion. I was first introduced to the Tencel brand about 30 years ago, when I was looking to give denim a more feminine and friendly style. I was so impressed by Tence that I designed a complete collection, which revolutionised the textile and denim industry. In an era where comfort and sustainability are ‘must-haves’, Tencel branded fibers are essential,” stated Genious Group president and founder Adriano Goldschmied.  

As part of the “digital first” strategy of the Tencel brand, Lenzing has also invested heavily in proprietary technologies to reduce the environmental impact during textile production and developed platforms to support stakeholders’ sustainability momentum. The introduction of fibre identification technology to fabric certification and licensing services offered via the Lenzing E-Branding Service platform has been a driving the industry towards full-scale supply chain transparency.

Net-zero emissions by 2050

In addition, the Tencel brand is also committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. In 2020, the industry’s first carbon-zero Tencel-branded fibers were launched, and the carbon zero offering was extended to fibres with Refibra technology in 2021. This means they are manufactured in an efficient closed-loop process, thus contributing to the circular economy in the textile industry. “The use of resources and energy is reduced to a minimum, at the same time we achieve distinguished level of environmental protection and resource preservation,” explains the company on its website. 

Image: The Lenzing Group

Anticipating a rising demand from consumer brands for specialty fibres, Lenzing has been strengthening its production capabilities with an ambitious growth plan that will be supported by the opening of the world’s largest lyocell production facility in Thailand in early 2022.

“In 2022, we will continue to focus on producing carbon-zero innovations that make a difference to the textile and fashion industries. The next decade will see more sustainability-driven innovations unveiled to actualise our 2050 vision. We are grateful to have worked alongside our partners and colleagues over the last 30 years and we look forward to greater success in the next 30”, commented Florian Heubrandner, vice president global textiles business at Lenzing.