Sustainable PU synthetics for the shoe industry

Combination of water-based textile coating with regenerative fibers

Covestro and the Austria-based Lenzing Group have developed environmentally-compatible polyurethane (PU) synthetics for the shoe industry. It uses Tencel™ Lyocell fiber from Lenzing, which is derived from cellulose and in the end from wood. The polyurethane textile coating used here is based on waterborne INSQIN® technology from Covestro.

Covestro and the Austria-based Lenzing Group have developed environmentally-compatible polyurethane (PU) synthetics for the shoe industry. The expertise of both partners complements each other perfectly: Covestro brings its expertise as a raw material specialist for PU textile coatings, which are based on the water-based INSQIN® technology. Lenzing offers its unique expertise in the production of fibers, a wood-based material that is both renewable and natural.

The environmental compatibility of coated textiles depends on a whole series of factors. For example, the source of the raw materials, the use of organic solvents and the consumption of energy and water are important. The global warming potential of water-based PU coatings that use the INSQIN® technology is considerably lower than that of solvent-based systems. The TENCEL™ Lyocell fiber from Lenzing reduces the ecological footprint of synthetic leather just as much, primarily because it is manufactured using an innovative recycling process that conserves resources.

“As a result, the shoe industry now has access to PU synthetics that set new standards in terms of sustainability – made possible by the combination of unique and innovative solutions from both partners,” says Thomas Michaelis, head of textile coatings at Covestro for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America (EMEA/LA) region. Thus, their cooperation provides an outstanding example of “Sustainability through Innovation” or, for short: “Sustainnovation.” It also fits perfectly with the motto “Material Solutions inspired by Sustainnovation” for Covestro’s appearance at stand D 22 in hall 3.0 at the Techtextil 2019 trade fair. This leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens takes place from May 14 to 17 in Frankfurt am Main.


About Covestro

With 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,800 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2018.


Covestro, press release, 2019-05-10.


Covestro AG
Lenzing Gruppe


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