In a world of finite natural resources, environmental sustainability requires that we take less – using only the resources we need, and utilizing them with maximum efficiency. As compared with generic viscose, the production of LENZING™ ECOVERO™ has a substantially smaller environmental footprint. Recently Team Denim Focus had a conversation with Mr. Jayaraman Sethuraman, Senior Commercial Director for AMEA & NEA regarding LENZING™ ECOVERO™. Key discussion points are mentioned below-
Denim Focus: How are you observing cellulose fibers market?
Jayaraman Sethuraman: The outlook for the wood-based cellulosic fiber sector is strong. The cellulose fiber market is expected to reach US$5,772.7 million by 2032. The predicted growth rate for viscose fibers is 3-5%, which is attributed to the fibers’ versatile properties, increased sustainability, and greater supply security. At Lenzing, the share of specialty fibers in our fiber revenue is set to exceed the 75 percent target by a significant margin as early as 2023.
Denim Focus: As cotton price is in the hike, how do you consider other fibers in replace cotton?
Jayaraman Sethuraman: The price of cotton, one of the key cellulose fibers used in the market, has been fluctuating in recent times due to a lack of acreage, yield, climate change, low opening stock, and increased production cost caused by a rise in energy price and shipping costs.
These difficulties lead to the need for identifying alterative materials within the supply chain. While some supply chain players would opt for synthetic fibers due to price sensitivity, consumers are conscious that some synthetic fibers are unsustainable and cannot do it all. Hence, sustainable cellulose fiber options such as wood-based fibers are often considered as a blended material or even alternative to cotton in some cases. Among the viscose fibers in the market, LENZING™ ECOVERO™ brand provides a sustainable eco-viscose choice and is consistently ranked among the top global viscose producers in the world for their certified sustainable wood and pulp sourcing practices, as well as eco-responsible production process.
Denim Focus: Could you please brief the limitations and benefits of cellulose fibers compared with synthetic?
Jayaraman Sethuraman: In general, cellulosic fibers are known to be more breathable than synthetic fibers, bringing more comfort to users when they wear garments made of cellulosic fibers. The main benefit and point of pride for manufacturers using LENZING™ ECOVERO™ branded viscose fibers is that the fibers are derived from sustainable wood and pulp, coming from certified and controlled sources following the stringent guidelines of the Lenzing Wood and Pulp Policy. LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers have also been certified with the EU Ecolabel for textile products, a label of environmental excellence which is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their lifecycle: from raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal. Additionally, Lenzing’s special manufacturing system enables LENZING™ ECOVERO™ branded viscose fibers to be robustly identified in the final product, even after long textile processing and conversion steps through the value chain. Environmentally conscious consumers can be assured that retailers and brands are incorporating genuine LENZING™ ECOVERO™ eco-responsible viscose in their products.
Lenzing also offers an extensive marketing service package for LENZING™ ECOVERO™ branded viscose fibers as part of Lenzing’s Branding & Licensing Program. Fabrics containing LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers can be certified at our in-house certification centers in Europe and Asia. Supply chain partners and brands which incorporate LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers in their products will also be able to enjoy the convenience of Lenzing’s digitalized E-Branding Service platform for value chain management. Users will enjoy one-stop access to services ranging from fiber verification to product licensing and free marketing materials.
Denim Focus: What are the specialties of Lenzing’s for enabling sustainable viscose production?
Jayaraman Sethuraman: LENZING™ ECOVERO™’s natural and renewable wood and pulp comes from certified and controlled sources derived from sustainably managed forests. Thanks to these eco-responsible production practices, LENZING™ ECOVERO™ has up to 50% lower water impact and CO2 emissions when compared with generic viscose. By leaving air and water cleaner, we are contributing to a cleaner environment.
In Indonesia, we have also just announced that since July 2022 we have started the transition to using electricity generated solely from renewable sources, which will reduce our production site’s specific carbon emissions by 75,000 tons annually.
Denim Focus: What is your observation about the adoption of eco-viscose in the Asia-Pacific market?
Jayaraman Sethuraman: Whilst the pandemic has slowed down many retailers’ process of transitioning to eco-viscose, we anticipate the adoption will speed up in the post-pandemic era as eco-viscose becomes the go-to alternative for cotton.
In the Asia Pacific region, we are yet to see high consumer demand for eco-viscose, but we are certainly seeing more growth opportunities, as the value chain gears up to reduce impact of fluctuating cotton prices and brands explore sustainable material options to address consumer interest in reducing environmental impact. In addition to consumer education, retailers also need to push consumers to make responsible purchase decisions by offering more sustainable options. Making eco-viscose readily available everywhere will encourage consumers to confront the impact of their purchases. Lenzing’s strategy for LENZING™ ECOVERO™ is to engage retailers and brands to secure investment on a season-to-season basis which will ensure that eco-viscose becomes a more readily available option for consumers.
Denim Focus: Any special thought about Bangladesh Market for Lenzing?
Jayaraman Sethuraman: Bangladesh is emerging as one of the most cost-effective supply chain solution providers for global brands and retailers. This is one of the key fast-growing conversion markets for Lenzing fibers, and Lenzing Group has been collaborating with world class partners for two decades now.
As a whole, in the Asia-Pacific region, we are seeing more growth opportunities, as the value chain gears up to reduce the impact of fluctuating cotton prices and a new generation of eco-conscious consumers emerges.