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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Collaborations for Circularity: TENCEL X REFIBRA by Lenzing


    To address the enormous textile waste challenges of industry and society, Lenzing is upcycling cotton waste with REFIBRA™ technology. This technology utilizes pre-consumer cotton scraps and post-consumer garments from the textile value chain as raw materials. Along with wood pulp, these materials are used for the closed-loop production of lyocell fiber at a commercial scale. The technology combines textile-to-textile circularity and traceability to create fibers with lyocell technology, widely acknowledged to be the most eco-responsible wood-based cellulosic fiber, and the recycling of cotton scraps from garment production. Our goal is to reach 50% post consumer waste pulp content by 2024.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    Lenzing embeds different elements of the circular economy in its business model, practices and innovation. They are covered under the following areas: Natural Circularity: Lenzing’s products are made from the renewable raw material wood, which is sourced from sustainably managed forests and plantations. Lenzing’s fibers are compostable and biodegrade at the end of their use. Thus, the material loop closes and aligns with the biological cycle. Resource-efficient Technologies and Products: Lenzing continuously develops innovative technologies for the production of sustainable products. A special focus is on the optimal utilization and processing of all raw materials and the efficient recovery of chemicals, water and energy. Upcycling Textile Waste: With the launch of Lenzing’s REFIBRA™ technology in 2017, Lenzing achieved an unprecedented milestone for circular economy in textiles by developing a new fiber based on cotton scraps and wood. Traceability and Transparency Solutions: Lenzing follows a three-pillar approach to a more sustainable and more transparent supply chain: fiber identification system, blockchain and supply chain collaboration and planning. Combining these different approaches assures a high degree of transparency and verifies the origin of Lenzing fibers throughout the supply chain up to the final garment. Collaboration for Systemic Change: Complex global challenges require a cooperative approach. The Lenzing Group therefore cooperates with a large number of stakeholders and business partners along the value chain in order to jointly advance the systemic change with regard to sustainability in the textile and nonwovens industry. To reach the goal of 50% post consumer waste the collaboration from entire supply network is required.


    TENCEL™ Lyocell with REFIBRA™ technology is currently produced at our Austria production facilities. In 2017 production started with 20% post industrial waste and progressed to 30% mix of post industrial and post consumer waste. The goal is to reach 50% post consumer waste pulp by 2024


    TENCEL™ Lyocell with REFIBRA™ technology is available with Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) certifying that all production processes in the entire supply chain have undergone relevant steps to ensure the integrity of the final product. There are also FSC certification for wood pulp and Oekotex 100 for fiber.


    Lenzing, Candiani Denim, Artistic Milliners, Accelerating Circularity, Gap, VF, Target, Nike

    Goal 17

    Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

    Goal 17


    Strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection

    Total government revenue as a proportion of GDP, by source
    Proportion of domestic budget funded by domestic taxes


    Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries; ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries

    Net official development assistance, total and to least developed countries, as a proportion of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee donors’ gross national income (GNI)


    Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources


    Additional financial resources mobilized for developing countries from multiple sources 

    Volume of remittances (in United States dollars) as a proportion of total GDP


    Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress

    Debt service as a proportion of exports of goods and services


    Adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for least developed countries


    Number of countries that adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for developing countries, including the least developed countries


    Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism


     Fixed Internet broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, by speed


    Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed


    Total amount of funding for developing countries to promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies


    Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology

    Proportion of individuals using the Internet


    Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the Sustainable Development Goals, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation


    Dollar value of financial and technical assistance (including through North-South, South‑South and triangular cooperation) committed to developing countries


    Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda

    Worldwide weighted tariff-average


    Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020


    Developing countries’ and least developed countries’ share of global exports


    Realize timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries, consistent with World Trade Organization decisions, including by ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access


    Weighted average tariffs faced by developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing States


    Enhance global macroeconomic stability, including through policy coordination and policy coherence

    Macroeconomic Dashboard


    Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development

    Number of countries with mechanisms in place to enhance policy coherence of sustainable development


    Respect each country’s policy space and leadership to establish and implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development 

    Extent of use of country-owned results frameworks and planning tools by providers of development cooperation


    Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, in particular developing countries


    Number of countries reporting progress in multi-stakeholder development effectiveness monitoring frameworks that support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals


    Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships 


    Amount in United States dollars committed to public-private partnerships for infrastructure


    By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts


    Statistical capacity indicator for Sustainable Development Goal monitoring

    Number of countries that have national statistical legislation that complies with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

    Number of countries with a national statistical plan that is fully funded and under implementation, by source of funding


    By 2030, build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product, and support statistical capacity-building in developing countries

    Dollar value of all resources made available to strengthen statistical capacity in developing countries

    Proportion of countries that (a) have conducted at least one population and housing census in the last 10 years; and (b) have achieved 100 per cent birth registration and 80 per cent death registration

    Goal 12

    Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

    Goal 12


    Implement the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries


    Number of countries developing, adopting or implementing policy instruments aimed at supporting the shift to sustainable consumption and production


    By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources


    Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP


    Domestic material consumption, domestic material consumption per capita, and domestic material consumption per GDP


    By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses


    (a) Food loss index and (b) food waste index


    By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

    Number of parties to international multilateral environmental agreements on hazardous waste, and other chemicals that meet their commitments and obligations in transmitting information as required by each relevant agreement

    (a) Hazardous waste generated per capita; and (b) proportion of hazardous waste treated, by type of treatment


    By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse


    National recycling rate, tons of material recycled


    Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle

    Number of companies publishing sustainability reports


    Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities


    Number of countries implementing sustainable public procurement policies and action plans


    By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature


    Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment


    Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production


    Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing countries (in watts per capita)


    Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products


    Implementation of standard accounting tools to monitor the economic and environmental aspects of tourism sustainability


    Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities


    Amount of fossil-fuel subsidies (production and consumption) per unit of GDP

    Name Description

    Expand brand partnerships in the USA to include three additional global brands

    TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers produced with REFIBRA™ technology will have up to 50 percent recycled content from post-consumer waste by 2024.

    Other, please specify
    Marketing to raise awareness about waste issues
    Staff / Technical expertise
    Research and development for collecting, sorting and processing
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    Action Network
    Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network
    01 February 2017 (start date)
    01 December 2024 (date of completion)
    Geographical coverage
    Lenzing, Austria
    Contact Information

    Tricia Carey, Director Global Business Development