The Bavarian viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres has joined the ZDHC programme “Roadmap to Zero”.
The non-profit organisation with more than 160 contributors worldwide has set itself the goal of completely eliminating harmful substances from the textile value chain. The ZDHC guidelines provide producers of Man-made Cellulosic Fibres (MMCF) with uniform criteria for measuring indicators such as wastewater, air emissions and other process-related parameters. The measured data is independently monitored and published.
Kelheim Fibres, the world’s first EMAS-validated viscose fibre producer, sees its ZDHC contributorship as another building block on the road to even more sustainable fibre production:
“We want to develop our industry with our know-how towards a greener future. Sustainability is an integral part of our corporate philosophy and strategy. We fully support ZDHC’s vision of a widespread implementation of sustainably chemistry, driving innovations and best practices in textile, apparel and footwear industries to protect consumers workers and the environment,” says Craig Barker, CEO at Kelheim Fibres.
“ZDHC provides us with access to a range of best practices in chemical management and gives us the opportunity to network and learn from each other with like-minded industry partners. ZDHC’s collaborative approach will accelerate the shift to a more responsible industry and we want to contribute to that.”
Hologenix, creators of Celliant®, infrared responsive technology, and Kelheim Fibres, the world-leading manufacturer of viscose specialty fibers, have partnered to launch Celliant Viscose at ISPO Munich 2021. Celliant Viscose is a finalist in Best Products by ISPO and will be showcased in the Fibers & Insulations Category for ISPO Textrends, where realistic views and 3-D simulations will be available for each material.
The introduction of nature-based Celliant Viscose will be the first in-fiber infrared sustainable solution on the market and meets a consumer demand for more environmentally friendly textiles. An alternative to synthetic fibers and extremely versatile, Celliant Viscose blends beautifully with cotton, micromodal, lyocell, wool varieties including cashmere. It also has many applications across industries as it is ideal for performance wear, luxury loungewear, casual wear and bedding.
Celliant Viscose features natural, ethically sourced minerals embedded into plant-based fibers to create infrared products that capture and convert body heat into infrared, increasing local circulation and improved cellular oxygenation. This results in stronger performance, faster recovery and better sleep.
“We are confident the exciting introduction of Celliant Viscose will resonate strongly with brands as well as the end consumer,” said Seth Casden, Hologenix Co-Founder and CEO. “It is a sustainable infrared solution that can be integrated into everything from cotton to luxury wools and cashmere and offers myriad applications.”
Celliant Viscose provides all the benefits of being a viscose fiber — lightweight, soft, highly breathable, excellent moisture management — as well as fiber enhancements from Celliant infrared technology. Celliant’s proprietary blend of natural minerals allows textiles to capture and convert body heat into full-spectrum infrared energy, resulting in stronger performance, faster recovery and better sleep. In addition, Celliant is durable and will not wash out, lasting the useful life of the product it powers.
“Sustainable products for a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing — that’s what both Hologenix and Kelheim Fibres stand for. This shared vision of the future is the sound basis for our seamless cooperation,” said Dr. Marina Crnoja-Cosic, Head of New Business Development and Member of the Board at Kelheim Fibres. “Combining our technological expertise and our innovative spirit, we have opened the way for an entirely new range of possible applications.”
An Affordable, Long-lasting Solution with Diverse Applications
As opposed to other IR viscose products which are coatings based, Celliant Viscose’s in-fiber solution increases wearability and longevity with a soft feel, durability from washing and longer life. The combination of Kelheim’s distinctive technology and the Celliant additives creates this unique fiber that provides full functionality without the need for any additional processing step — a new standard in the field of sustainable IR viscose fibers. This single processing also makes Celliant Viscose more cost-effective and time-efficient than coatings.
In addition, Kelheim’s flexible technology allows targeted interventions in the viscose fiber process. By modifying the fiber’s dimensions or cross sections or by incorporating additives into the fiber matrix, Kelheim can precisely define the fiber’s properties according to the specific needs of the end product.
Celliant Viscose is a plant and mineral-based solution for brands seeking an alternative to synthetic fibers. It contains natural raw materials that are from the earth and can return safely to the earth.
Nature-based Celliant Viscose is certified by FSC® or PEFC™, which guarantees the origin in sustainably managed plantations, and is part of the CanopyStyle initiative to protect ancient and endangered forests. The production of Celliant Viscose takes place exclusively at the Kelheim facilities in Germany, complying with the country’s strict environmental laws and guaranteeing an overall eco-friendly product.
Backed by Science
Celliant is rigorously tested by a Science Advisory Board composed of experts in the fields of physics, biology, chemistry and medicine. The Science Advisory Board has overseen 10 clinical, technical and physical trials, and seven published studies that demonstrate Celliant’s effectiveness and the benefits of infrared energy.
To learn more about Celliant Viscose, visit: www.celliant.com/celliant-viscose/
Link to high-res. logos/image: http://bit.ly/3s7WzJJ
Hologenix, headquartered in Pacific Palisades, California, is a materials science innovation company producing products that energize all aspects of life. Its flagship product, Celliant, is an infrared responsive textile that provides a myriad of wellness benefits and is an ingredient in world-class brands across multiple industries. www.celliant.com
The Bavarian Kelheim Fibres GmbH has become the first viscose fibre manufacturer worldwide to receive EMAS certification.
“Our aspiration is that our fibres offer an eco-friendly and high-performance alternative to synthetic materials”, says Craig Barker, CEO at Kelheim Fibres. “So, it’s not enough that our fibres are made from renewable resources and that they are fully biodegradable – our environmental awareness must include the whole production process and all that goes with it if we want to safeguard our credibility. The EMAS certification proves that we take this responsibility seriously.”
EMAS stands for “Eco Management and Audit Scheme” and is a standardised eco management certification system developed by the European Union. EMAS includes the globally applicable ISO 14001 standard and goes beyond its requirements by demanding more transparency and continuous improvement: Certified companies report in their annual EMAS Environmental Statement on their environmental goals and their progress in meeting them.
During the audit preceding the certification, the independent environmental auditor thoroughly investigated all departments of the company, from the production itself to the company canteen. He found no non-conformances and was impressed by the competence and the high sense of responsibility among Kelheim’s employees.
In contrast to the EU Ecolabel and similar certifications, EMAS does not apply to individual products or services, but certifies the complete environmental performance of the company. This benefits not only the protection of the environment and climate, but also the improvement of a company’s eco-efficiency.
Craig Barker: “An efficient environmental management system ensures that economy and ecology go hand in hand – that gives us a decisive competitive edge.”
Kelheim Fibres has been named as one of the finalists for the “Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2021” innovation award to be presented at the 2nd International Conference on Cellulose Fibres.
With their plant-based and biodegradable fibres, the Bavarian viscose speciality fibres manufacturer presents a significant contribution to a plastic-free future for AHP (absorbent hygiene products). In contrast to other natural fibres, which are already available in fibre form and can only be treated on the surface, Kelheim’s technological flexibility offers the possibility to modify cross-sections and to introduce additives into the fibre matrix for intrinsic functionalisation. Through these modifications, Kelheim tailors its fibres specifically to the requirements of the individual nonwoven layers of the AHP and is able to achieve comparable performance values to synthetic fibres.
In addition to this, the speciality fibres from Kelheim offer a very attractive ratio of cost to performance in comparison with other fibres of natural origin such as organic cotton. They are therefore not only able to enhance the performance of the final products more effectively than other bio-based alternatives, but are, at the same time, financially attractive.
“Consumers of absorbent hygiene products are often faced with a choice between sustainable solutions made from fibres of natural origin and products with better performance and good fluid management properties produced using synthetic fibres,“ says Dominik Mayer, from Kelheim’s R&D team. „Our goal is to offer products to the consumer which combine both sustainability and performance. Our sustainable and functional fibre technologies now make this possible.“
The project is a good illustration of the central element of Kelheim Fibres‘ innovation philosophy: the identification of unsolved problems in the market and the development of solutions in close cooperation with experts along the value chain using open innovation techniques. Fibres from Kelheim also offer a significant contribution to overcoming one of the biggest global challenges of our time, by reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment. Step by step, or in this case layer by layer – Kelheim Fibres is moving towards a vision of a plastic-free future.
Kelheim’s developments include the hydrophobized Olea fibre (for fast acquisition and efficient transfer of liquid and for better rewet values in the topsheet) as well as the Galaxy® fibre (for an efficient and optimised distribution of liquids in the Acquisition Distribution Layer (ADL) via capillary channels) and the Bramante fibre (which can store up to 260% of its own weight of liquids in chambers inside the fibre).
Kelheim’s fibres can also be processed in the textile sector, to enable solutions in the field of reusable hygiene products such as menstrual underwear.
All these fibres are already commercially available. Kelheim Fibres is cooperating with an innovative AHP manufacturer and an innovative nonwoven supplier to incorporate the fibres into new end products.
The Bavarian viscose speciality fibres manufacturer Kelheim Fibres has partnered with the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (ETP) in two strategic programs: “Bio-Based Fibres” and “Circular Economy”.
Against the backdrop of the increasingly important sustainability debate, fundamental changes inside the textile supply chain are taking place. The two three-year ETP programmes “Bio-Based Fibres” and “Circular Economy” are a clear response to this. The goal is to bring key players from industry and science together to develop a long-term strategy to actively shape the sustainable realignment of the European textile industry.
“We have been manufacturing bio-based fibres for almost 85 years – these fibres are made from the renewable material wood and they are fully biodegradable at the end of their product lifecycle. As an alternative to crude-oil based materials, these fibres are becoming increasingly popular in various applications. Part of the reason for this is the fact that we can functionalize our speciality fibres during the production process and give them the exact properties that are required for different end uses. In terms of performance, they can keep up with synthetic materials”, explains Dr. Marina Crnoja-Cosic, head of New Business Development at Kelheim Fibres.
But Kelheim’s sustainability criteria also include the full life cycle of their products: When a textile, after its use, can become the raw material for new fibres and new products, for Crnoja-Cosic that is a huge advantage in terms of sustainability. “We want the best possible result – bio-based fibres AND circular economy are the way to get there.”
The European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (ETP) is the largest European network for the promotion of textile research and innovation. It brings together over 200 members from industry, research, higher education, clusters, associations and textile-related sectors.
Trend scanning and monitoring is an indispensable approach in not only passively waiting for the future, but in actively shaping it and in spotting the key developments leading to tomorrow. Already knowing today how consumer and customer needs might change in the future, taking into account different influencing factors, allows us to already start to think through and target the appropriate solutions for future challenges now.
With the newly integrated New Business Development division Kelheim Fibres puts an even stronger emphasis on this forward-looking perspective.
In a one-and-a-half-day workshop under the leadership of our NBD team, we at Kelheim Fibres brought the topic of trend monitoring to life, using the example of prevailing and current consumer trends. We looked at a wide range of trends in interdisciplinary teams and assessed the impact they have on the various players along the value chain. The central question was how to get prepared for the behaviour and desires of future customers in order to provide the right solutions and what innovative ideas we can create in yet unexplored fields.
In creative processes, we discovered unexplored areas which are not within the scope of daily business and which offer us the opportunity to look at the future from other perspectives.
This look ahead is an integral part of our approach to innovation. This workshop takes our innovation journey into a new dimension, which we will in future expand with new perpectives together with our partners and customers.
The Bavarian viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres has achieved a leading score in Canopy’s 2020 Hot Button Report. Kelheim Fibres ranks overall among the top 5 producers and was even able to improve their good previous year’s result.
While the company – as in 2019 – is assessed as “low risk” of sourcing from Ancient & Endangered Forests, Kelheim is proud to have invested significantly in “Next Generation Fibre Solutions,” and hopes to reach commercial scale by 2025. Also, highlighted in the report is Kelheim’s increase of the proportion of FSC® certified fibre.
Kelheim has accepted the recommendation to develop an action plan for continuous improvement of their sustainability: With a certification according to ISO 50001 (energy management), certification according to EMAS (expected at the end of 2020), the application to join ZDHC (Roadmap to Zero) and the newly created position of a sustainability manager, the viscose fibre experts have accomplished a considerable success in a short space of time.
“Canopy’s Hot Button Report not only stands for ethically correct raw material sourcing – it is an overall sustainability indicator for viscose fibre producers.”, so Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres. “We are proud of our ranking and will follow this path further: Our fibres offer an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic materials. That includes certified sustainable raw material sourcing, resource saving and low-emission production processes as well as the continuous search for improvements and future-oriented solutions. “
Kelheim Fibres has been selected as a finalist for the Sustainability Heroes Award in the category “Sustainable Innovation”. The award is presented by DQS (German Association for Sustainability) and DGQ (German Association for Quality) to pioneers in sustainability and aims to further encourage active involvement in this field.
The viscose speciality fibres manufacturer has secured the selection with its innovative plant-based fibres that can substantially contribute to a plastic-free future in absorbent hygiene products such as femcare or incontinence products.
In contrast to other plant-based fibres, viscose fibres can be precisely modified and functionalised during the production process. They can be adapted to meet the exact requirements of the single components of a hygiene product in terms of their liquid management properties (from water repellent to highly absorbent) and so match the performance of synthetic fibres that are still used in the majority of these single-use products.
Whereas today, environmentally conscious consumers must often decide between feeling safe and a clear conscience, the Bavarian fibre experts are actively developing more and more products that do justice to both: Kelheim combines sustainably manufactured and completely biodegradable fibres with the technical performance of synthetic fibres. The aim is to help to reduce the use of crude-oil-based plastics in single-use products and their negative impact on the environment.
Dr. Marina Crnoja-Cosic has been appointed Head of New Business Development at the viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres. She will also serve as a member of Kelheim’s Management Board.
The chemist with a doctorate degree brings with her long-time experience in fibre and application development as well as in business development. Customised and market-oriented solutions, cross-company cooperation along the value chain and constant attention to long-term industry and particularly to textile trends have shaped her career path for the past 20 years.
“Dr. Crnoja-Cosic is highly competent. She has an enormous wealth of experience as well as a comprehensive network. At the same time, she has repeatedly proven that she is not afraid to tread new paths – a perfect match with our philosophy! Together with Dr. Crnoja-Cosic we will intensify our focus on innovation even more. We are very pleased to have her on board!”, says Craig Barker, CEO at Kelheim Fibres.
At the place2tex future-innovation-festival, innovation manager Ilka Kaczmarek speaks about Kelheim Fibres’ innovation activities.
Openness to external cooperation and partnerships with inspired, innovative companies opens new doors and helps to find solutions for today’s challenges, for example for the problem of plastic in hygiene products.
Kelheim Fibres’ environmental policy is based on three pillars:
Efficiency, Credibility and Sustainability.
Today, environmental not-for-profit organization Canopy, third-party auditor NEPCon, and Kelheim Fibres released the results of Kelheim’s CanopyStyle Audit. The company’s current supply chain is confirmed as low risk of sourcing wood from Ancient and Endangered Forests or other controversial sources.
“Canopy congratulates Kelheim Fibres for its low risk audit results,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director. “Producers are increasingly hearing from brands that they will no longer source Ancient and Endangered Forest textiles by the end of 2020. This audit result is a validation of Kelheim’s efforts in that direction and positions it well in a competitive market place.”
“Future-oriented fibre materials cannot come at the cost of Ancient and Endangered forests and other valuable resources. Therefore, we are committed to focus on sustainability at every step from raw material sourcing and state-of-the-art closed-loops production processes,” said Craig Barker, CEO of Kelheim Fibres. “As a small producer, we are proud to have accomplished low-risk audit results. We welcome the recommendations the audit report has given us for further improvements and we will actively work towards implementing them.”
NEPCon is pleased to be the independent auditing body for the CanopyStyle initiative and in particular making it possible to meet the growing demand for CanopyStyle audits throughout Europe,” stated Jon Jickling, Director, NEPCon Solutions. “Kelheim Fibres was committed to this third-party assessment of their raw material sourcing.”
Key findings of the audit include:
- The company is at low risk of sourcing from Ancient and Endangered Forests;
- The company has a limited fibre basket and uses a significant proportion of FSC-certified fibres in its viscose products; and
- The company has begun supporting forest conservation solutions in key areas of Ancient and Endangered Forests.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, Canopy recommends that the company increase the proportion of FSC-certified fibre, and make efforts to source 100% FSC, as well as continue to invest in research and development of low-impact alternative fibres, with the goal of launching a fibre line that contain these products.
This audit, which reflects a snapshot in time, is to be conducted annually to ensure that the company continues to meet the expectations of the CanopyStyle initiative. The audit findings contribute to Hot Button Issue Report.
The public report from Kelheim Fibre’s audit evaluations is available for download here: www.kelheim-fibres.com/en/sustainability/certificates/
NEPCon is an international, non-profit organisation working to support better land management and business practices that benefit people, nature and the climate. For 25 years, we work with businesses, smallholders, non-profit organisations and governments on developing solutions to major global challenges such as deforestation and climate change. We focus on forest and climate impact commodities and related sectors. Through a well-developed network of local representatives and contractors, NEPCon offers timely and cost-effective certification services around the world. Our focus on mission and impact differentiates our services and strengthens our credibility.
Canopy is an international not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting our forests, species and climate. Canopy collaborates with more than 750 companies to develop innovative solutions, to make their fibre supply chains more sustainable, and to help protect our world’s remaining ancient and endangered forests. Canopy’s partners include H&M, Sprint, Penguin Random House, Zara, TC Transcontinental, The Globe and Mail, and Scholastic. Canopy’s work relies on the support of individual donors who share our passion for the planet.
Because of the unpredictable risks arising from the Corona virus, the viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres has decided to stop all business trips to and from China for the time being.
“We recognise our responsibility towards our customers and our employees. Their health and safety come first”, explains Matthew North, Commercial Director of Kelheim Fibres. Among other things, Kelheim Fibres manufactures hygiene fibres that are used, for example, in tampons and other personal care products. These highly sensitive products have been also taken into account in making this decision.
The Bavarians operate their own representative office in Shanghai and are supplier for many Chinese companies.
“We wish China and its population that the measures taken will lead to a rapid containment of the virus”, adds Matthew North.
Kelheim’s premium tampon fibre Galaxy® has proven effective in sanitary pads: It can substitute up to 70% of the synthetics in ADL (Acquisition-Distribution-Layers) in feminine hygiene pads.
The amount of feminine hygiene waste is enormous – and often the time it takes for these products to degrade is hundreds of years longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it, because the synthetic components are not bio-degradable. Changing consumer behavior drives the need for environmentally friendly yet safe alternatives.
The viscose hygiene fibres from Kelheim offer significant ecologic advantages: they are made from cellulose, which means they are based on renewable wood and they are fully biodegradable.
These fibres are manufactured exclusively in Germany, in one of the most environmentally friendly plants worldwide.
Galaxy® in sanitary pads offers not only a benefit for the environment. Due to its excellent wicking and absorption capacity it conducts liquids quickly and efficiently away from the body and leaves a pleasant feeling on the skin – in other words, it does exactly what the ADL layer is made for. In addition, Galaxy® helps to distribute the liquid evenly in the absorbent core enhancing so the overall performance of the pad.
In comparison to other sustainable and conventional (synthetic) materials Galaxy® excels by
+ faster acquisition
+ lower rewetting
+ enhanced distribution.
“Plastic must disappear from these single-use products. The substitution of single synthetic components in sanitary pads is the first step”, says Dominik Mayer from the Bavarian fibre expert’s R&D team. “Down the road we want to offer a completely bio-based solution for sanitary pads and for various other hygiene applications.
Our advantage – besides the functionality of our patented Galaxy® fibre: Kelheim Fibres has been a renowned partner of the hygiene industry for decades; our production fulfils highest hygiene requirements. We offer our customers fibres that are ideally suited for the specific needs of their products and their processes.”
In the 2019 `Hot-Button ́ report issued by the forest conservation organisation Canopy, Kelheim Fibres attained a “green shirt” ranking. This result underlines the company‘s excellent performance as regards to raw material sourcing. Many fashion brands already value the `Hot-Button ́ report as a reliable indicator for sustainability for viscose fibre producers.
Raw material wood sourced only from certified sustainable forestry
The CanopyStyle initiative aims to achieve that no wood from ancient and endangered forests is used to produce viscose fibres. The audited companies must prove that they avoid these fibres and have implemented appropriate rules and procedures to check the origin of the wood. Performance in the areas environmental protection and innovation have been examined and evaluated by qualified external auditors; the report will be posted publicly in the first quarter of 2020.
Sustainable fibres for a changing market
“For years now Kelheim Fibres has consistently recognised the importance of sustainability and environmental protection. Now that resource saving and alternatives to plastics are of focal interest to the public and to the economy, our products are meeting with an even better reception from the market. Fibres produced in Germany with low emissions from certified sustainable timber meet the needs of customers seeking products that have a low risk of sourcing from ancient and endangered forests. “Having been awarded a `green shirt ́ in the `Hot-Button ́ ranking once again underlines this absolutely clearly!” says Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres.
The two German speciality manufacturers Märkische Faser and Kelheim Fibres are cooperating. Under the name “Clean Color Concept” the two renowned fibre producers offer spun dyed fibres in Polyester and in Viscose in a coordinated range of colours.
Spun dyed fibres have always been an important part of the range of products both of Märkische Faser and of Kelheim. Here, colour pigments are incorporated in the spinning mass before the spinning process and are therefore homogenously distributed in the whole fibre. These fibres – and the final product – offer a particularly high colour and light fastness. The colours do not bleed during washing and they keep their brilliance even after many washing cycles.
In contrast to a conventional dyeing process, the colours can be reproduced exactly. Besides the usually lower production costs and a shorter throughput time, this is one of the main advantages for the further processing chain.
The environment is however the main beneficiary of the “Clean Color Concept”: The addition of colour directly into the spinning mass saves up to 50% of colour pigments. Further chemicals, energy and above all an enormous amount of waste water from a conventional dyeing process are completely omitted thanks to this technology.
Textiles made from a blend of spun dyed polyester and viscose fibres combine the advantages of both fibres: They are easy-care and dimensionally stable yet feel pleasantly soft on the skin and offer high wearer comfort. They are ideally suited for all applications that need large quantities of fabric of a precisely defined shade and that must deliver comfort and wear qualities as for example professional clothing or uniforms, but also furnishing or upholstery fabrics.
The call to replace crude-oil based substances by materials made from renewable resources is getting steadily louder – even at the COMPOSITES EUROPE, a fair that focuses on functionality and performance of the latest high-tech materials.
Viscose speciality fibres from the Bavarian manufacturer Kelheim Fibres kill two birds with one stone: They are made from pure wood-pulp and bear the seal of the FSC® or PEFCTM, both standing for sustainable and responsible forest management. The fibres have been tested and certified as a compostable material. At the end of their life span they are completely biodegradable and therefore make an important contribution towards the reduction of plastic waste and pollution by microplastics.
At the same time, these speciality fibres can be tailor-made according to the customer’s specifications and enable the production of future-oriented materials with integrated functionality. Kelheim offers a variety of options, as for example short cut fibres that can be carbonised and integrated in compounds to create an electromagnetic shield or even electrical conductivity.
A similar effect is achieved by the speciality fibre Electra, a viscose fibre with an electrically conductive additive evenly distributed in the fibre matrix.
But the fibre experts are not restricting themselves to these developments: “At COMPOSITES EUROPE, we want to generate new ideas and promote development partnerships”, says Dr. Roland Scholz from Kelheim’s R&D team. “For this, we are geared up with our laboratories and pilot plants in Kelheim – and our customer benefits from the added value of a fibre that is tailor-made for his requirements.”
Kelheim Fibres is looking forward to many inspiring encounters at stand A36 (Bayern Innovativ), hall 7.