Water stewardship

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. With water being a precious resource, its increasing scarcity in many parts of the world constitutes 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 the textile supply chains occasionally 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 fiber and innovates products that omit downstream value chain steps. This substantially reduces water use and impacts. At the end of their life cycle, Lenzing’s fibers are biodegradable and compostable in marine and freshwater environments and therefore do not contribute to microfiber pollution like fossil raw material-based fibers.

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 consumption of fresh water as well as the discharge of process water and effluents, which are the subject of Lenzing’s Group Environmental Standard. Figure 21 illustrates Lenzing’s contribution in this context at different stages of the value chain. Lenzing helps its customers reduce their water-related impacts by providing solutions with LENZING™ fibers to replace water-intensive fibers and/or avoid the most polluting steps in the value chain according to Higg MSI data.

Management approach

Material topic: Water use & pollution

Importance for Lenzing

  • Water is a precious resource and its increasing scarcity in many parts of the world constitutes a threat to people and to economic development
  • Dissolving wood pulp and fiber manufacturing require large amounts of water
  • Lenzing is committed to mitigating any environmental harmful impacts and ensure safe access to fresh water
  • Showing compliance with local regulatories and state-of-the-art technology


  • Better product water footprint through larger proportion of Lenzing pulp and expansion of specialty product manufacturing
  • LCA-based communication of Lenzing’s products with improved water footprint helps value chain partners fulfill their water targets
  • Development of industry benchmarks and contribution to multi-stakeholder initiatives such as ZDHC


  • Physical risk of water scarcity affecting operations
  • Water pollution can affect the health of employees and community residents as well as the surrounding environment

Guiding principles

  • Group Water Policy
  • “Naturally positive” sustainability strategy with “Water stewardship” focus area
  • Lenzing Group sustainability targets
  • Lenzing Group ISO 14001:2015 certification
  • Group Policy for Safety, Health and Environment
  • Group Environmental Standard
  • Global Code of Business Conduct
  • Global Supplier Code of Conduct
  • Wood and Pulp Policy
  • Higg FEM

Due diligence processes and (ongoing) measures

  • Environmental management system based on ISO 14001:2015 (including risk assessment and internal audits to ensure effectiveness of the measures implemented)
  • Continuous development of Group Environmental Standard
  • ZDHC MMCF roadmap
  • Regular Global QESH meetings with management review


  • Minimizing environmental impacts through impact assessment (LCA) and continuous improvement
  • All sites must comply with the Group Environmental Standards
  • As part of the Group sustainability targets, Group COD emissions must be reduced by 20 percent by 2022 (baseline 2014)
  • Achieve “aspirational” level for ZDHC MMCF wastewater guidelines at viscose facilities by 2024

Achievements/activities in the reporting year

  • Update of life cycle methodology to assess water footprint of products and technologies
  • Further development of Environmental Key Data (EKD) reporting to comply with updated GRI indicator requirements
  • ZDHC MMCF wastewater guideline implemented at viscose production sites
  • CDP water reporting


  • Member of the Managing Board (for group policy and operations)
  • Site managers


  • Global QESH
  • Performance.Improvement.Technology

Lenzing’s water stewardship

Water stewardship (illustration)

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