Manmade Cellulosic Fibers (MMCF)
PREFERRED MAN-MADE CELLULOSICS ROUND TABLE
ABOUT THE MMCF ROUND TABLE
Can a growing Manmade Cellulosic Fiber (MMCF) market contribute to a global textile industry that protects and restores the environment and enhances lives? Making, sourcing and offering MMCF, like viscose, lyocell or modal, with sustainability in mind is experiencing real momentum and has become a priority for many brands and retailers due to a number of issues and risks associated with MMCF production. Knowing your supply chain down to feedstock level, building strategies and policies to eliminate risks throughout the value chain, engaging with all stakeholders, implementing standards and systems to monitor and measure offer opportunities but demand more know-how, time, resources and commitment.
Textile Exchange has been engaging with hundreds of MMCF stakeholders in recent years, aiming to create leaders in the sustainable fiber and materials sector by providing learning opportunities, tools, insights, standards, data, measurement and benchmarking – and by building a community that can collectively accomplish what no individual or company can do alone.
2019 saw the roll-out of two dedicated events, the European roundtable on MMCF in July, part of Berlin Fashion Week (more information below), and the global MMCF Round Table Summit in Vancouver in October, part of Textile Exchange’s annual Textile Sustainability Conference.
Forum for the Future Partnership
Textile Exchange, in partnership with Forum for the Future, is working with stakeholders relevant to the MMCF ecosystem to develop a shared vision. Together, the two organizations aim to arrive at a powerful vision of the net positive future of MMCF. Net Positive is a new way of doing business which puts back more into society, the environment and the global economy than it takes out. It asks for organisations to be ambitious and plan for long-term success, going beyond risk avoidance and incremental improvements towards true innovation. Such a vision could include:
- The role the industry will play in ensuring we stay within planetary boundaries, including its contribution to addressing the climate emergency
- Commitment to social uplift and human rights across the MMCF value chain, and
- Realising the full potential of MMCF in offering circular solutions for the fashion and textiles sector
To this end, we are engaging with key stakeholders to gather diverse perspectives on their vision for Net Positive MMCF. As part of this, an interactive visioning workshop was held on 18 October 2019 following Textile Exchange’s 2019 Textile Sustainability Conference in Vancouver.
2019 Round Table SUMMIT
The textiles industry is highly engaged on MMCFs. Over 160 brands have committed to more sustainable MMCF sourcing and 80% of fiber suppliers have agreed on policies for sustainable forest practices, according to the NGO Canopy. Nevertheless, decreasing negative sustainability impacts and eliminating risks deep down in the supply chains of this fast-growing fibers is still challenging.
In Vancouver, Textile Exchange’s Global Round Table Summit on MMCF brought together more than 150 stakeholders from NGOs/R&D/ Academia (22%), Supply Chain (21%), Brands and Retailers (35%) and others (21%).
October 15, 2019
Expert speakers from April, Birla Cellulose, Canopy, CV/Sateri, Earthworm, Fashion Positive, Forum for the Future, Gap Inc., Guess, IKEA, Lenzing, PEFC/SFI, Sappi DWP and ZDHC offered deep dives in:
- What are social and environmental risks I have to know and tackle?
- What makes forestry, pulp and fiber production more sustainable?
- What are leading supply chains doing differently?
- What are the market opportunities and innovations?
- What can we expect in textile circularity and MMCFs?
At this year’s Round Table Summit, more emphasis was put on social considerations of feedstock sourcing. For example, how poverty is the main driver of deforestation and why we need to focus on local communities and economic development for smallholders.
Another focus next to protection of forests, safe chemical management and securing fiberto-garment traceability were fiber processing innovations and the need to find solutions which are commercially viable for the entire supply chain. Sharing of information more holistically and openness to collaborate to scale innovations – like the use of textile waste for the production of pulp – were seen as positive outcome of the Round Table for example.
Our live poll also included insights on how informed the audience sees themselves (50% partly informed or 14% not really informed) and if Textile Exchange should offer more comprehensive information and engagement (43.37% agree).
Huge thanks to Sateri and Collaboration for Sustainable Development of Viscose (both Pioneer level sponsors) and to Lenzing (Contributor level sponsor):
Thanks also to the 2019 conference sponsors supporting this Round Table:
EUROPEAN ROUNDTABLE ON MMCF, July 4, 2019
July 4, 2019 | 1 pm – 4:30 pm | Kraftwerk Berlin, Germany
On July 4, 2019, Textile Exchange’s Simone Seisl hosted the European Roundtable on Manmade Cellulosic Fibers, which brought together all stakeholder groups to hear the latest news and learn from best-practice examples from forest management and processing of feedstock all the way to circular business models.
Access the meeting slide deck and agenda using the buttons to the right.
See Full Agenda
2019 PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Team work and collaboration are key in bringing initiatives like this to their full potential and we are always looking for partners for the MMCF Round Table. For details of how to support the work of our MMCF Round Table in 2019, please see page 9 of our 2019 Conference Participation Guide:
If you are interested in partnering one of this year’s Round Table meetings, please contact Lisa@TextileExchange.org and we will be happy to send you some more information on the opportunities available.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2018 MMCF ROUND TABLE IN MILAN
On October 22, 2018, Textile Exchange bought together relevant stakeholder groups for the 2018 MMCF Round Table in Milan, Italy. A lot had happened since over 60 industry experts came together in 2017 in Washington DC for the first MMCF Round Table, and the 2018 session continued this momentum. The meeting was kindly sponsored by Sustainable Textile Solutions and Lenzing, and was hosted by Simone Seisl of Textile Exchange.
Nicole Lambert, Textile Exchange
Nicole gave an overview of environmental, occupational health and social issues related to MMCF production, and the approaches that can be used to address these issues and lessen the impacts. She also presented on the MMCF landscape over the past 50 years, where we have seen a shift in focus from purely forestry malpractices in the late 1970s to chemical management issues in the past 10 years. The most recent initiatives were also introduced.
Supply Chain Transformation
Dr. Siva Pariti, Sustainable Textile Solutions
Transformation of manufacturing processes will take time and there might not be “one solution fits all”. One important issue to focus on is not just recovery rates -once the harmful substances are recovered in the process, what is done with them? The best would be to ensure that the large majority of recovered chemicals are re-used in the process.
Need for global norms for the industry.
Best Practice and Innovation in Viscose Sourcing
Claire Bergkamp, Stella McCartney
Case study of how Stella McCartney, as a leading brand, tackled their viscose sourcing to guarantee more sustainable practices in their supply chain. The company has entirely mapped their supply chain down to forest level and selected a limited number of suppliers for their best practices.
Forests for Fashion – Fashion for Forests
Birgit Altmann, UNECE/FAO
The UNECE-FAO work includes key players from both the forest and fashion worlds as well as bringing 10 UN organisations together to find solutions to the issues of sustainability. The fashion industry plays a pivotal role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by ensuring sustainable consumption and production methods. The initiative shows that it is possible to maintain the natural capital of forests while using it sustainably.
WORKING SESSION #1 – forest and MMCF
Challenges related to forestry and better practises through for example certified forests and policies on virgin forest based feedstock for MMCF production by brands and suppliers – session hosted by Canopy and FSC.
WORKING SESSION #2 – innovation in processing, participation
Discussion around innovations that can lead to lessening the impact of MMCF production. Presentation of the Spinnova process as an alternative to conventional production. – Session hosted by Fashion for Good and Spinnova.
WORKING SESSION #3 – Chemicals and MMCF
Strong need for global guidelines for chemical management – waste water, air emission and waste management. Role out for ZDHC guidelines scheduled for mid-2019.
The entire viscose industry needs some time to catch up with best practices agreed upon.
Session hosted by ZDHC and Lenzing
WORKING SESSION #4 – Closing the loop on MMC, participation
Discussion around circularity of MMCFs – planetary boundaries require investing in this topic.
Session hosted by Stella McCartney
EXERCISE: PRIORITY AREAS
We asked our 100+ participants to share their 3 priority-areas with us.
The six categories and responses were:
- Circularity & Recycling: 26
- Industry Know-How & Supply network: 24
- Alternative feedstocks & Innovation: 18
- Low risk virgin feedstock: 12
- Chemicals & Emissions: 10
- Product integrity, labelling & comms: 7
Textile Exchange wants to thank again our 2018 MMCF Round Table sponsors Sustainable Textile Solutions and Lenzing, as well as all participants. We very much look forward to continuing these discussions.
Why a MMCF round table?
With Manmade Cellulosic Fibers (MMCF) being the second biggest cellulosic fiber group after cotton, and businesses, initiatives, NGOs and governments giving it ever greater attention, Textile Exchange sees a huge potential for more sustainable – or preferred – MMCFs to gain a higher market share.
MMCF such as Viscose/Rayon, Lyocell and Modal are the second most important group of cellulosic fibers after cotton, with an average demand of 5-6 million tons annually. MMCF, usually made of wood or bamboo, are produced mostly in Asia (over 80%), with the highest percentage produced in China (over 60%).
MMCF volumes are expected to increase rapidly in the next 15 years possibly reaching 10 million tons annually. There is huge potential for sustainable – or preferred – MMCF to gain a higher market share: according to the MarketsandMarkets.com 2015 Report, the regenerated fiber segment is projected to account for the largest share within the eco fiber market by 2020. Growth is estimated at 5-6% per annum, ahead of synthetics at 4-5%, and cotton at 1-2%.
The management of resources and inputs as well as the efficiency and control of the manufacturing process can make MMCF products a preferred fiber choice. Recently there has been progress on recycling of cellulosics and blending as well.
A preferred MMCF is one that is sourced from producers and verified as low risk of being sourced from ancient and endangered forests, including certified feedstock or alternative feedstock, and one that is manufactured more sustainably. This means fewer toxic chemicals are used and/or the manufacturing technologies aim for high recovery rates where water and chemicals are re-gained.
Textile Exchange has selected preferred MMCF as a lead fiber, with our reports showing tremendous growth and our current e-learning series attracting several hundred industry stakeholders, with topics covering feedstocks, fiber manufacturing, transparency, certification, and industry engagement.
There is more to do to reach economies of scale. Challenges are still to be overcome in the forest, the factory, and the marketplace. This Round Table aims to transform business – move from linear to circular, and to find solutions to technical, societal, and commercial barriers to growth.