Stakeholder engagement and policy interventions
Lenzing strongly believes that its own efforts should be complemented by engaging with industry stakeholders and civil society as collaboration is required to bring about systemic change in addressing the climate crisis. Lenzing signed the UN Fashion Charter for Climate Action in 2018 and is an active member of its working groups to develop solutions to industry challenges. Lenzing> has also supported World Resource Institute (WRI) and Apparel Impact Institute (AII) efforts to develop a high-level roadmap for the apparel and footwear industry.
A supportive policy framework and incentives are needed to realize measures such as fuel switching. Natural gas is currently more expensive than coal in many parts of the world. Biomass fuels are not sufficiently available in the required amounts. Similarly, renewable grid-based electricity is not widely and economically available in many parts of Asia. To advance low-carbon solutions, a level playing field is required, such as global carbon pricing and the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies. Industry and local governments should ramp up efforts to generate more renewable electricity in order to supply current facilities and cater for future growth.
UN Fashion Charter
The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action under the auspices of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a broad stakeholder movement in the textiles, clothing, and fashion industry aimed at achieving a holistic commitment to climate action. Signatories commit to climate targets and ultimately to fully decarbonizing the fashion industry value chain in alignment with the Science-Based Targets initiative.
The original targets of the UN Fashion Industry Charter were to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050 and reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030. These targets were updated in November 2021 to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and in line with the Science Based Targets initiative1. An initial report, the “Climate Action Playbook”2, published in 2020 highlights major greenhouse gas reduction opportunities in fiber production, the fashion industry’s main raw material.
Lenzing was a founding member of the initiative and has continued to make an active contribution to the working group on raw materials, sharing its longstanding experience in the production of sustainable cellulose-based fibers and assessment of environmental impacts through life-cycle analyses (LCA). The working group has finalized a report entitled “Identifying Low-Carbon Sources of Cotton and Polyester”3, which was published in early 2021. The report contains an overview of existing LCA studies and identifies opportunities for improvement by switching energy sources, changing technology, and innovating. In 2021 and 2022, Lenzing contributed to the report on “Man-made cellulose fibers”, to be published in Q1/2023.
Roadmap to Zero
Lenzing contributed to the development of the “Roadmap to Zero” publication, which aims to catalyze industry action against climate change with proven approaches and measures. This document was prepared by the World Resources Institute (WRI) together with the Apparel Impact Institute (AII), a spin-off of Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which identifies, funds, scales, and measures the apparel and footwear industry’s proven environmental impact solutions4.
Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI)
Lenzing was one of the eleven leading companies from six countries that founded the Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI) in September 2020 under the leadership of nova-Institute (Germany). The aim of the initiative is to support and speed up the transition from fossil carbon to renewable carbon for all organic chemicals and materials. In the first year the number of members increased to over 30 and now includes companies such as Beiersdorf (Germany), BASF (Germany), Cosun Beet Company (The Netherlands), Givaudan (Switzerland), Henkel (Germany), IFF (USA), LanzaTech (USA), NESTE (Finland), Unilever (UK), Uniper (Germany) and UPM (Finland). The Renewable Carbon Initiative aims to herald the end of the fossil age for all organic chemicals and materials by 2050. The concept of renewable carbon, which is essential for materials, is gaining more attention and traction – including on the political side (e.g. the Sustainable Carbon Cycles communication paper from the European Commission). Lenzing will continue to be an active member of the RCI, with a particular focus on further greening up the textile and nonwoven businesses.
1 https://unfccc.int/news/fashion-industry-steps-up-climate-ambition-with-renewed-charter [Accessed 10 December 2021]
2 https://unfccc.int/documents/250059 [Accessed 15 February 2021]
3 https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/UCC_Cotton_Pet_report.pdf [Accessed 10 December 2021]
4 https://apparelimpact.org/ [Accessed 15 February 2021]