The Lenzing Group, one of the largest manufacturers of specialty fibers made from the renewable material wood, is strengthening its sustainability strategy through a technology many in the industry are still mulling over: blockchain.
Lenzing said it will use blockchain technology to support its Tencel-branded fiber business in an effort to achieve transparency and traceability for its fibers in finished garments.
After evaluating various initiatives, Lenzing said it decided to join the platform of the Hong Kong-based technology company TextileGenesis to get the project underway.
TextileGenesis is a traceability platform custom built for the apparel ecosystem. Its vision is to create transparency from fiber-to-retail, and ensuring authenticity and provenance of sustainable textiles against generics. It is custom-built for premium and sustainable textiles such as wood-based fibers, premium cotton, specialty filaments, silk, wool and cashmere.
Consumers increasingly want to understand the ingredients and suppliers of the products they buy, which calls for new levels of transparency and traceability, Lenzing said. The new blockchain initiative will help achieve supply chain transparency from the wood source to the finished garment or home textile. Customers and partners will be able to identify Tencel fibers and the respective wood source in each production and distribution step thanks to a QR code on the final garment.
In a new report, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said blockchain technology has the potential to have a positive impact for consumers and companies in the luxury sector.
Fitch said traditional and e-commerce luxury players are starting to invest in this new technology to ensure products’ authenticity, gain control over their supply chain and provide transparency for consumers.
“Through blockchain’s traceability feature and tamper-proof digital ledger, consumers can learn the entire lifecycle of the product,” Fitch said. “The consumer can access a complete history of the product, from the materials that went into finished good, the time it left the warehouse, to when the product is delivered and in the consumer’s hand. This provides greater assurance to consumers about the product’s authenticity. Trust in the product and the ethics of its source are key for luxury consumers and blockchain can provide this.”
Three years ago, Lenzing launched its sCore TEN strategy in part to intensify cooperation with customers along the value chain, increase the share of specialty fibers to 50 percent of total revenue by 2020, and to expand its quality and technological leadership for man-made cellulose fibers.
“With Lenzing Ecovero branded fibers, Lenzing was the frontrunner in physical traceability and is now entering the age of digital traceability,” Stefan Doboczky, CEO of the Lenzing Group, said. “This milestone in transparency is a further strong commitment to sustainability. Together with TextileGenesis, we aim to create an unmatched level of transparency for brands and consumers. With this step, Lenzing will further help to green up the textile industry.”
Lenzing will carry out several pilot tests over the next few months involving partners along the entire value chain. The company expects the platform to be fully operational as of 2020.