Assessment: State of Lenzing’s influence and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystems

[GRI 304-1, 304-2; ESRS E4-5]

The Lenzing Group uses two different types of forestry for its wood sourcing, depending on the global region: sustainable and multi-functional forest management is applied in the Northern hemisphere by Lenzing’s wood and pulp suppliers in Europe and North America. Plantation forestry with high sustainability standards is conducted mainly in the Southern hemisphere by Lenzing’s pulp supplier in South Africa and by the new pulp plant in Brazil. In the joint venture project with Dexco (formerly Duratex) in Brazil, wood is sourced from FSC®-certified plantations of currently more than 70,000 hectares. Plantation forestry can reduce deforestation pressure on natural (primary) forest areas by providing wood at very high yields per unit area as an alternative to sourcing it from natural forests. FSC® certification entails management criteria to protect biodiversity1, as determined in detail in the national standards. Management practices include a certain percentage of reserved conservation areas.

Biodiversity and ecosystem status monitoring in the Lenzing Group is performed in the global regions via two different approaches. These approaches (in Europe and in Brazil) are explained below:

In Europe, biodiversity is monitored at a national level according to the Forest Europe Criteria. Results are published regularly in the European overview2;3. Recent reports paint a mixed picture of the success and issues still to be resolved. The measures to be taken are better understood thanks to intensive research activities.

The pulp mill in Brazil is supplied with wood from plantations owned and maintained by LD Celulose. To ensure that the plantation management maintains compliance with the requirements of the Brazilian Forest Code, LD Celulose has a framework of internal and external processes. There are ongoing biodiversity monitoring projects in which data on local biodiversity and the potential expansion of invasive species is monitored. The internal GIS (Geographic Information System) team collects satellite imagery on an annual basis and evaluates the location, size and status of the Legal Reserve areas (LRs) and Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) on the managed land. The data is also provided to the field teams in the form of maps. Furthermore, periodic field audits by our environmental specialists ensure that the quality of LRs and APPs is maintained.

LD Celulose is aware of the diversity of flora and fauna found in its forest areas. Dexco started its biodiversity research projects in its managed areas in the 1970s. LD Celulose has continued to monitor flora and fauna in the areas that have remained under its management and those directly influenced by the mill site through partnerships with universities4, in addition to internal programs. These programs are carried out annually in the dry and rainy seasons and aim to monitor possible impacts on local biodiversity. The programs are also required by the Brazilian environmental agency.

Pulp suppliers apply their own monitoring schemes.

Attempts to quantify impacts from land use on biodiversity usually consist of two components: the quantity of land (forest) area used, and the intensity of use. The estimation of land area used for Lenzing’s wood sourcing is part of the initiated “Biodiversity concept” project. Variations in data availability and data quality can arise depending on the forest type, the land ownership, the sourcing area and the supply chain position (wood or pulp sourcing to Lenzing).

Quantity of forest area used for Lenzing’s wood sourcing: data availability and quality

Lenzing sources

Forest type

Land use intensity


(Expected) data quality




Known (see table “Quantitative description of areas managed and influenced by LD Celulose”)




Low to medium

Estimates needed based on regional statistical data


Pulp (pulp supplier sources wood)



Estimates possible


Pulp (pulp supplier sources wood)


Low to medium

Rough estimates


The plantation managed by LD Celulose contains a proportion of conservation area dedicated to biodiversity protection in accordance with legal requirements and FSC® standards, known as a High Conservation Value Area (HCVA). LD Celulose’s forestry unit is supervised by ecology and environmental specialists who were also responsible for identifying the HCVA. The area contains Pseudopaludicola facureae, a species of frog found only in this region of Minas Gerais. This means that a higher level of monitoring is necessary, as well as extra precautions for fire protection. It is a KPI of LD Celulose to protect endemic species and their habitat. This is not required by Brazilian national law, but a FSC® criterion. The forestry unit constantly works to identify any areas that need to be classified as HCVA to ensure the protection of animal and plant species. For more information, please see the “Biodiversity” focus paper.

Brazilian environmental law determines the maintenance of Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) and Legal Reserve (LR) areas. APPs are specific areas of vegetation such as ciliary forests, areas of vegetation adjacent to water courses, and areas of vegetation on slopes. Legal Reserve areas meet the obligation to preserve at least 20 percent of a property in a rural area. At the moment, 17,065 hectares of LD Celulose are protected areas (table below).

In terms of conservation units that are outside the managed areas but close to the LD Celulose planting area, Parque Estadual do Páu Furado is some 30 kilometres from the plantation. At this distance, the conservation unit is not impacted by LD Celulose’s activities. The plantation is roughly 800 kilometres away from the Amazonas. The main direct land use areas of the Lenzing Group are the plantations in Brazil, currently covering a total of 78,640 hectares (786 km2).

Wood is the most important raw material for Lenzing. The main source of potential impact from the Lenzing Group’s operations and supply chain is therefore connected to land use by forestry. Lenzing also mainly depends on biodiversity and the proper functioning of forest ecosystems that provide the raw material of wood. Negative effects on biodiversity can arise from intensified utilization of forests. On the other hand, the positive effects of sustainable forest management on biodiversity and ecosystems are well known5 and can be further explored and implemented.

The construction of the pulp mill in Brazil and the site in Thailand was completed in 2022. For more information on manufacturing plants please see “Locations of the Lenzing Group”. For more information about transport and infrastructure in Lenzing’s supply chain, please see “Transport and logistics” in the “Raw material security” chapter. For more information about pollution, please see the “Climate and energy” chapter as well as “Waste management” in the “Circularity and resources” chapter. Lenzing states in its Wood and Pulp Policy that it is not procuring wood from plantations established after 1994 through the significant conversion of natural forests. For more information please see the “Raw material security” chapter and the “Wood and pulp” focus paper. A similar requirement exists for every wood that is FSC® certified. LD Celulose’s forests are in areas that were converted to agriculture several decades ago. Large areas nearby are generally used for planting soy and coffee or grazing livestock. The trees are mainly eucalyptus species, with a small proportion of pine recently phased out. A breeding and clone selections program is continuing to improve the yield and robustness of the trees. LD Celulose does not use genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

As semi-natural forests and plantations do not require irrigation, it can be assumed that groundwater levels are not affected and salinity levels are not increased in Lenzing’s sphere of influence. Approximately 204 species of flora and 450 species of fauna were identified in the forest management units of LD Celulose. Among these species, the presence of animals such as the maned wolf and the giant anteater, which are characteristic of the region, is particularly noteworthy. No significant reduction in species has been registered in LD Celulose’s plantation.

In the case of semi-natural forests it can also be assumed that impacts on native species and on biodiversity will be long lasting, since many areas have been managed in this way for several forest generations. A case study commissioned by Lenzing on Austrian forests in conjunction with the Austrian environmental NGOs umbrella organization Umweltdachverband has concluded that there are numerous species living in managed beech forests in Austria, among them also red-list species, which have adapted to the management practices. Therefore reversing these semi-natural forests to completely natural forests (stopping all management) could potentially harm these species.

Additional potential impacts on water, soil, and air can arise from production facility emissions. For more information, please see the “Climate & energy”, “Water stewardship” and “Waste management” chapters.

At the end of the value chain of textile and nonwoven products, biodiversity impacts can arise from non-degradable plastics entering the environment, if those products are not correctly disposed of. For more information on biodegradability of Lenzing’s fibers, please see the “Circularity & resources” chapter.

1 FSC Global Development GmbH (2014). FSC® and Plantations. FSC’s position on plantations. Available at: https://anz.fsc.org/what-is-fsc [Accessed 15 February 2021]

2 Forest Europe 2015, and 2020: State of Europe´s Forest 2015. Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, June 2016., and 2020, State of Europe´s Forest 2020. https://foresteurope.org/publications/

3 Indicators of sustainable forest management in Austria reports from 2017 and 2020. https://info.bmlrt.gv.at/themen/wald/walddialog/dokumente.html, Czech Republic and Slovakia forest reports: Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Rebublic, Information on Forests and Foresty in the Czech Republic by 2017 (English), Zpráva o stavu lesa a lesního hospodářství České republiky v roce 2020 (Czech).
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic, Report on the Forest Sector of the Slovak Republic 2020.

4 Duratex Annual Report 2018. Available at: https://www.dex.co/noticias/duratex-divulga-relatorio-anual-2018/ [Accessed 15 February 2021]

5 Kunz 2007: Artenschutz durch Habitatmanagement. chapter 6.2 Wiley-VCH

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