Now more than ever, companies need to know where their fibers come from. Being able to pinpoint a material’s origin not only helps to provide more specific sustainability progress, benchmarking and reporting, but it also enables brands to make supported, substantiated claims about their products’ impact.
However, the apparel and textile industries’ long and complex supply chains make it challenging to have full confidence in tracing a material origin and the authenticity of the claims made about specific products. Most companies can only trace back to Tier 2, or their fabric supplier, leaving opportunities for counterfeit risks. In an effort to establish better traceability practices, wood-based fiber manufacturer the Lenzing Group created traceability and transparency systems and solutions to protect its fiber brands, TENCEL™ and LENZING™ ECOVERO™. The companies that source Lenzing materials know they are getting the verified, sustainable lyocell and modal, compared to generic viscose fibers1.
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“Respect and protection of trademarks are our core values, and we strongly believe that innovation is the lifeline for ongoing growth and development of the fashion and home textile value chain,” said Harold Weghorst, vice president of global marketing and branding at Lenzing. “For years, we have been taking proactive steps to enforce the TENCEL™ and LENZING™ ECOVERO™ trademarks to ensure that the rights of our partners and consumers are protected, and that only products made of authentic branded fibers bear the trademarks.”
In 2018, Lenzing launched its Lenzing E-Branding Service for its supply chain partners. In this system, the manufacturer can have their fabric tested to ensure that it is authentic, meaning that they can accurately claim that their materials are made with Lenzing fibers. Once the test confirms the product contains Lenzing fibers, the producer receives a certificate which can be carried through to the brand buyer, enabling the consumer-facing retailer to apply for product licensing as well as branding materials from Lenzing.
Among the marketing materials available for e-commerce stores are free swing tickets and a Digital Hangtag tool. Even in today’s digital retail environment, hangtags still provide an opportunity for brands to communicate benefits to better market products. A 2020 consumer survey conducted for Lenzing found that 88 percent of clothing shoppers and 86 percent of bedding buyers read hangtags. Lenzing E-Branding Service also includes a helpdesk that gives licensees direct access to experts who can assist them in the certification process.
The Lenzing E-Branding Service also provides peace of mind about fiber origin through traceability powered by a third-party blockchain technology service partner. This system creates a fiber-forward digital chain of custody. Each kilogram of fiber is represented with one digital coin, which is then transferred through the supply chain to follow the path from initial creation to the end consumer. “This technology enables our partners and brands to trace and verify fibers along the value chain, guaranteeing authenticity from fiber to final product,” said Weghorst.
By partnering with Lenzing, companies can leverage the powerful brands that the company has built over decades. The TENCEL™ brand originally launched in 1992, and it has strong brand awareness. A 2022 Lenzing survey of consumers in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific found that TENCEL™ was among the top four most recognized fiber ingredient brands. Additionally, among those who are aware, 62 percent will make an actual purchase.
Lenzing also boosts consumer awareness of its fibers through marketing campaigns as well as brand collaborations. As an example, TENCEL™ recently ran a campaign in partnership with Reformation that brought influencers to an Italian villa and provided them closets with co-branded apparel. In addition to this content generation, the campaign included a shoppable e-commerce experience and in-store activations in London and New York. Another example is Zara’s Join Life Collection, which incorporated LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers and showcased this with the Join Life label for items that have been produced using technologies and raw materials that help Zara reduce the environmental impact of its products.
Both the TENCEL™ and LENZING™ ECOVERO™ brands stand for environmental responsibility, transparency and quality, which create feel-good fashion and home goods. Identifiable via tracing technology, these fibers are derived from natural raw materials from certified or controlled wood sources, hence they biodegrade2. Moreover, TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers are made from a resource-saving, closed-loop production process3, while LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers have been certified with the EU Ecolabel for environmental excellence4.
Lenzing’s Transparency Comes Full Circle campaign speaks to the four key pillars of its offering: Share, Prove, Partner and Track.
Share refers to the group’s openness and accountability about its sustainability impact, sharing the relevant credentials and awards with customers and partners. Since 2018, Lenzing has been part of Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals’ man-made cellulosic fibers task team, minimizing solid waste and air emissions. Lenzing was also among the 12 global companies that received an AAA score in the most recent rankings from CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) for its environmental leadership.
Another element, Partner, refers to Lenzing’s collaboration with likeminded companies. The Prove pillar speaks to the authenticity of fibers and the assurance that comes along with Lenzing’s transparency, while Track reflects the group’s traceability offerings that detail each step in the supply chain.
“Since the introduction of Lenzing E-Branding Service in 2018, our mission is to pioneer the digitalization of value chain management with unprecedented transparency,” said Weghorst. “Through this one-stop portal that provides unprecedented transparency to users, we are supporting the traceability efforts of our customers and partners, from product raw materials to final products.”
Click here to learn more about trust in TENCEL™ for transparency.
According to the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI), TENCEL™ Lyocell has a significantly lower environmental impact than generic lyocell in the categories of energy consumption (fossil fuels), global warming, water consumption and eutrophication. TENCEL™ Modal has a significantly lower environmental impact than generic modal in the categories of energy consumption (fossil fuels), global warming, water consumption and eutrophication.
TENCEL™ and LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers are certified by TÜV Austria as biodegradable in soil, freshwater and marine environments, and compostable under home and industrial conditions.
TENCEL™ Lyocell is known for its innovative closed loop production process. Wood pulp is transformed into cellulosic fibers, while process water and more than 99.8 percent of the solvent is recovered and fed back into the loop, resulting in close-to-zero wastage.
EU Ecolabel for textile products (license no. AT/016/001)