Lenzing Carves New Path for Textile Transparency With Blockchain

Tracey Meyers
·4 min read

Fiber firm Lenzing is reaching new heights with its blockchain-enabled traceability platform — and its technology, powered by TextileGenesis, has helped light the path.

Lenzing partnered with the Hong Kong-based firm in 2019 and began using its blockchain technology that ensures the traceability of textiles from fiber to production and distribution, Lenzing said. And now, after successful pilot projects, Lenzing’s digital platform launched on Nov. 5 for its wood-based Tencel and Lenzing EcoVero-branded fibers.

Its platform provides customers and partners — as well as consumers — with an overview across the entire textile supply chain, the firm explained. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, more changes have been brought to the already transforming fashion and textile industries. To date, supply chain traceability has become a top priority for apparel and home brands. With the blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability platform powered by TextileGenesis, Lenzing supports the entire supply chain in meeting the increasing demand for transparency and sustainability.”

To test the platform, Lenzing ran a 12-month pilot program and field trials with four sustainable brands — H&M, ArmedAngels, Mara Hoffman and Chicks — alongside supply chain players from 10 countries and three regions; and its program yielded “very positive feedback” from participants.

Robert van de Kerkhof, chief commercial officer and member of the board at Lenzing, said that over the past year, “during the pilot program and field trials we have been receiving very positive feedback from brands and supply chain partners. Our brand partners have also been encouraging us to accelerate the global roll-out for traceability of Lenzing fibers.”

It’s a good day for Lenzing. On the heels of its launch, the firm also announced its recent ranking by Canadian environmental organization, Canopy, in which the Lenzing Group scored a total of 30.5 points (four more points than last year), and received its first “leading dark green shirt,” the highest “Hot Button” ranking category. Canopy grades the world’s 31 largest producers of wood-based fibers with respect to their sustainable wood and pulp sourcing, Lenzing explained, and considers efforts with the use of alternative non-wood feedstock, as well as achievements for lasting conservation in critical forests located worldwide.

Stefan Doboczky, chief executive officer at Lenzing, said, “We are very proud to be leading the industry with regard to responsible wood and pulp sourcing. Innovation as well as transparency and sustainable raw material sourcing are part and parcel of our sustainability strategy, which covers the whole value chain, from raw material to the final product.”

Its traceability platform takes that requisite transition toward transparency to the next level — and Lenzing said it will take a phased approach to onboarding for its global roll-out. “During the first phase, Lenzing’s supply chain partners based in South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) will complete the onboarding process within Q4 2020. An estimated 300-plus supply chain partners in China and Turkey will also join the program in Q1 2021. It is estimated that by Q2 2021, most eligible Lenzing supply chain partners will be onboarded into the platform, ensuring full supply chain traceability,” the brand said.

And Lenzing explained that a core component of the platform is the integration with its Lenzing E-Branding fabric certification system, which allows brands and retailers to access the full supply chain traceability for Tencel and Lenzing EcoVero-branded fibers and view results of forensic (physical) verification of fabric samples through its digitally signed Lenzing E-Branding fabric certificates, the firm said.

“With this new system and the integration with Lenzing E-Branding fabric certificates, the entire Lenzing ecosystem will create an unprecedented level of transparency. This will provide consumers with the most sustainable and climate-friendly clothing and home textile products that are made of Tencel or Lenzing EcoVero-branded fibers,” Kerkhof added.

Amit Gautam, ceo and founder of TextileGenesis, said that with “increasing compliance and reputational risks, ceos and boards of top 100 fashion brands have committed to using 100 percent sustainable and traceable fibers over the next five years, with transparency being a core part of business priorities.”

The platform’s traceability is backed by Fibercoin technology powered by the TextileGenesis platform. Lenzing and other brand partners can now issue digital tokens (blockchain assets) in direct proportion to the physical shipments of Tencel and Lenzing EcoVero branded fibers, the firm said. “These digital tokens provide a unique ‘fingerprint’ and authentication mechanism, preventing adulteration, providing a more secure, trustworthy, digital chain-of-custody across the entire textile supply chain and, most importantly, ensuring the materials are sustainably produced,” Lenzing explained.

Gautam added, “Sustainability and traceability are two sides of the same coin, and it’s great to see Lenzing paving the way for the entire fashion industry to follow. Our supply chain traceability platform will create digital accounting for Lenzing’s innovative and sustainable fibers across the entire supply chain using Fibercoins traceability technology.”

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