H&M, IKEA and Stora Enso backed TreeToTextile builds sustainable fibre demo plant

by Reuters
Tuesday, 23 February 2021 09:14 GMT

Customers browse at H&M during a phased reopening from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 19, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Image Caption and Rights Information

To cut their climate footprint and pollution, large clothing and furniture brands are seeking affordable greener alternatives to cotton, traditional viscose and polyester

STOCKHOLM, Feb 23 (Reuters) - A venture part-owned by Finnish forestry group Stora Enso, Sweden's H&M and IKEA said on Tuesday it was set to build a demonstration plant in Sweden for a new, more sustainable wood-based textile fibre after years of research.

To markedly reduce their climate footprint and pollution, large apparel and furniture brands are in dire need of affordable greener alternatives to cotton, traditional viscose and polyester. Several Nordic pulp makers are part of projects developing new clean ways to turn trees into textile fibre.

TreeToTextile said in a statement its plant would have a production capacity of 1,500 tonnes and its owners would fund the bulk of the 35 million euro ($42.6 million) investment.

"The novel process is deliberately designed to have low energy demand and low chemical need. It is engineered to suit large-scale production and includes a recovery system for reusing chemicals," it said.

"By investing in a demonstration plant, we are finally on the go. With it we are turning years of R&D into reality to increase the biobased share on the textile market to support climate action."

TreeToTextile, whose fourth part-owner is innovator Lars Stigsson, said the plant would be located at Stora Enso's Nymolla mill in Sweden, and its construction would start in the near future.

Viscose is the main existing textile fibre from wood pulp - followed by the newer lyocell which has a cleaner manufacturing method. Production is dominated by Austria's Lenzing, India's Aditya Birla and China's Sateri.

($1 = 0.82 euros) (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.