2019 Developments

With projections for viscose showing strong and continued growth, alternatives to forest-derived viscose are imperative. When CanopyStyle was launched in 2013, leading viscose producers told Canopy that turning recycled clothing into viscose at commercial scale wasn’t possible—2019 has shown us otherwise!

New commercial products

Since last June, three additional viscose producers have launched commercial Next Generation products and trials – both containing recycled textiles. Aditya Birla has launched a viscose containing 20% pre-consumer recycled fabric, Tangshan Sanyou has announced a successful trial, followed by the commercial launch of viscose made with 50% post-consumer recycled textile, and Lenzing has increased the recycled content in its Refibra fabric to 30%, with 10% post-consumer fibre. Aditya Birla has announced that it is on track to launch a commercial grade viscose with 50% recycled textile in 2020, and Lenzing launched a new vision formulating their intention to make textile waste recycling as common a standard process as paper recycling, and have set a target to reach 50% recycled content from post-consumer waste without compromising the high quality fibres.

Research and developments

An investment of 70 million USD over ten years in the development of Next Generation textile fibre was announced recently by the Royal Golden Eagle Group (RGE), parent company of Sateri. We are looking forward RGE’s adoption of timelines and targets for commercial scale production without blending of controversial fibre.

Dissolving pulp producer Södra announced a new technique in textile recycling to separate the cotton and polyester in polycotton blends, allowing the company to produce 30 tonnes of pulp with recycled material this year. Their long-term target is to add 25,000 tonnes of textiles to the company’s pulp production and to expand the scope of textile recycling to accept viscose and lyocell.

It is encouraging that these shifts are occurring across a broad range of companies and countries, from Europe to Asia, and bodes well for making innovative supply available globally in the near future.

All of this innovative development shows that the gates are open and we’re off to the races. We know there will be more Next Generation innovation commitments and product launches between now and year-end 2020 as producers diversify their fibre baskets to be in sync with brands, and with Canopy’s 2030 climate and biodiversity targets.

Focus and Funds for Innovation

Canopy is also working directly with Next Generation innovators who are leading the development of these much-needed alternative fabrics. All of the companies listed here have adopted a policy with Canopy, and all use lower impact feedstock, such as recycled fabrics, agricultural residues and/or microbial cellulose technologies. We are currently working with all of these entrepreneurs on bringing their solution technologies to the market at scale – be it in partnership with existing mainstream producers or as cutting edge, disruptive start-ups.

Through our work catalyzing similar commercial solutions in the paper and packaging sector, Canopy recognizes that equity investment in innovative technologies can be the key – or roadblock – to rapid progress. To ensure investment does not become a barrier to the needed scale and speed of Next Gen infrastructure scale-up, Canopy is now working with a global investment firm to develop a pooled equity fund to support infrastructure builds and commercial scale facilities.

Whether innovators want to secure market access, license their technologies or attract investment in new greenfield mills, the CanopyStyle initiative is poised to play a pivotal role in bring Next Generation solutions to scale.