The future of TENCEL™: from linear to circular

The TENCEL™ brand collaborates with partners who value waste management as the heart of an effective circular economy and embeds the circular economy in its business model, practices, and innovation

As we step into the next 30 years of the TENCEL™ brand, it is time to take a deeper look at what more can be done to support the development of a more sustainable textile industry. For the last 30 years, the TENCEL™ brand has been pioneering the innovation of the textile industry. What’s next for a better future? The answer lies in circularity, a core focus of the TENCEL™ brand. 

The TENCEL™ brand embeds different elements of the circular economy in its business model, practices, and innovation. TENCEL™ branded fibers are made from renewable raw material wood, which is sourced from sustainably managed forests and plantations. The fibers are compostable and biodegrade at the end of their use. Thus, the material loop closes and aligns with the biological cycle, forming natural circularity. 

“Over the years, we have been driving the industry towards a fully-fledged circular economy by striving to give waste a new life in all aspects of our core business. We co-develop circular solutions to close loops wherever possible. This includes circular innovations like our REFIBRA™ technology which adds up to 30% of cotton pulp from upcycled cotton scraps from garment production with wood pulp to produce TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibers,” said Krishna Manda, Vice President of Corporate Sustainability, Lenzing Group. “Carbon-zero TENCEL™ lyocell fibers with REFIBRA™ technology were also launched in 2021 to enhance the sustainability of the fibers even further.” 

The TENCEL™ brand also collaborates with partners who value waste management as the heart of an effective circular economy. Inspiring and pushing the boundaries of innovation in circularity across the industry value chain, in 2021, TENCEL™ introduced the new TENCEL™ Limited Edition initiative, where TENCEL™ branded fibers were reinvented using unconventional sustainable raw materials, like orange peel. The new fiber, transformed into fabrics, were presented to the market in October 2021.

Long-term partner of the TENCEL™ brand, Orta, a Türkiye-based company which transformed from a spinning and weaving company to a denim manufacturer, also applauds the circular solutions offered by the TENCEL™ brand.

“At Orta, we have been committed to creating a better ecosystem by sharing resources, knowledge and information and for years we have built collaborations with our suppliers for the scope. TENCEL™ has been a great partner for us on this journey, and we value the role TENCEL™ plays in closing the loop,” says Sedef Uncu Akı, Director at Orta. “The brand also provides full transparency and traceability in addition to offering good quality, natural-based high-performance fiber products with credible sources and circular solutions.”


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For Lenzing’s partner Textile Exchange, a globally positioned NGO and advocate of sustainable textiles, recycling textile materials is one of the top three actions to build a better textile industry.

“The ultimate goal for Textile Exchange is to help the industry achieve a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. We are committed to helping the industry do this at raw material level,” said Claire Bergkamp, Chief Operating Officer at Textile Exchange. “My vision for the textile industry is that we achieve the goals that we’re setting in the next five to 10 years. These include scaling organic practices and usage of recycled materials, reducing growth rate of the industry and filling the innovation gap. We hope to start seeing systems shift at scale, so that we are able to close the loop with textile to textile recycling regenerative practices. This shows that we are able to walk the walk and not only talk the talk.”


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To drive systemic change in the industry and transform the value chain from linear to circular, the TENCEL™ brand will continue to embrace responsible practices and innovative solutions to enable customers and value chain partners to improve their environmental performance and achieve their sustainability targets. More initiatives and partnerships will be launched in 2023 and beyond. Please stay tuned for more updates.


Tencel, press release, 2022-10-13.


Lenzing Gruppe
Textile Exchange


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