Impact, risk and opportunity management

Water stewardship

[GRI 303-2]

The Lenzing Group considers water-related issues in the upstream and downstream value chain of its products. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology is useful for identifying hot spots and supports strategic decision-making. Lenzing aims to contribute to the sustainable use of water wherever it can exert a direct or indirect influence. This includes the withdrawal and consumption of fresh water, which are the subject of Lenzing’s Group Environmental Standard and the Water Policy. These presuppose continuous monitoring and reporting according to the Environmental Management System, GRI, ESRS, CDP and other water-related standards and guidelines. Figure “Water stewardship” illustrates Lenzing’s contribution in this context at different stages of the value chain.


[ESRS E3-1; GRI 3-3c]1

Water Policy

The latest Water Policy was approved by the managing board in 2022. In it, five key commitments are made:

  • Lenzing recognizes and aligns its efforts to leading practices such as ensuring availability and sustainable water management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6) as well as the conservation and sustainable utilization of the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (SDG 14).
  • Lenzing engages value chain partners and other key stakeholders by fostering wider water stewardship and programmes based on sustainability principles in order to reduce water-related impacts and to benefit all members of communities.
  • Lenzing commits itself to comprehensively monitor, control and report direct and indirect interactions with water resources. Lenzing continuously assesses the risks and opportunities due to climate change and other global environmental issues and addresses them in its business strategy.
  • Lenzing optimizes and improves its performance in water use and product water footprint through alignment with industry best practice and continuous efforts in terms of technology and management innovations.
  • Lenzing aims to continuously reduce water consumption and water related emissions above and beyond legal requirements in order to ensure water quality and availability where Lenzing operates, and thereby to meet its stakeholders’ expectations.

Water stewardship

Water stewardship (illustration)
a) Based on Higg MSI database v3.5 (Dec 2022)


[ESRS E3-2; GRI 3-3d, 303-1]

A summary of the “Actions taken” can be found in the management approach at the beginning of this chapter.

Integration of global water-related assessment tools into risk management

Especially at the product level, LCA is the primary tool being used for assessing cradle-to-gate impacts and identifying areas for improvement within direct and indirect operations, e.g. pulp and fiber production or upstream supply chain. The procedure is supported by the environmental data collection process from in-house operations, including water use, effluents, and discharge of priority substances of concern, as well as gathering a growing volume of primary data on water use from suppliers. This approach is complemented by corporate water risk assessment, contextualizing qualitative and quantitative information of the supply chain and own production with WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas and WWF Water Risk Filter. They not only support the evaluation of current water situation at specific locations but also provide insight into future scenarios based on the effects of climate change on water availability and quality.

Water stewardship actions

Lenzing considers water to be an extremely valuable resource, enabling the production of dissolving wood pulp and cellulosic fiber products. Water stewardship is therefore key to carefully interacting with this natural resource. Since water is a precious resource, the increasing water scarcity in many parts of the world poses a threat to people, the environment, and sustainable economic development. For example, poorly managed wood plantations can put pressure on the regional water balance. Lenzing procures certified wood from sustainably managed forests and therefore mitigates the potential impacts of water stress. On the other hand, some materials used in textile supply chains create high water impacts through water consumption and water pollution. Key issues in water stewardship are the efficient use of water in production and the use of state-of-the-art wastewater treatment technologies.

Lenzing provides fibers with a lower water impact than other cellulosic fibers in order to satisfy the growing future demand for sustainable fibers and innovates products that omit downstream value chain steps. This substantially reduces water use and impacts.

The spinning bath in the lyocell process contains water and the solvent NMMO to dissolve the cellulose polymer prior to spinning. The viscose process uses a mix of process chemicals and water. In both production technologies water is recycled by separating it from process chemicals and/or solvents with very high efficiency. This is the state-of-the-art technology at all Lenzing facilities. It enables water to be saved, provides optimal pre-treatment for water discharge, and optimizes fiber properties and quality. With the help of the recovery systems, Lenzing gains marketable co-products and reusable process chemicals. A final wastewater treatment stage reduces effluent charge, aiming to avoid potential harms to receiving water bodies by exceeding local quality requirements.

1 In addition to the GRI disclosure, the corresponding ESRS section is noted. There is no claim to fulfilment of the ESRS in this and the following chapters.

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