During last week’s Fashion Week in Stockholm, Sweden, Stora Enco announced their partnership with IKEA and H&M. Through the partnership, they want to contribute to a more sustainable textile production by producing dissolving pulp for textiles based on renewable and traceable wood from sustainably managed forests. Stora Enco opened a research centre in Stockholm in 2015 with the purpose of developing the potentials for making viscose production less toxic and more sustainable.
Stora Enso explains that the entire apparel industry is looking for raw material alternatives to petroleum-based artificial fibres (non-renewable resources) and cotton (requires large volumes of water and land). This makes viscose and cellulose-based fibres an attractive alternative.
The companies will invest in a joint venture and entrepreneur Lars Stigsson, former Lund University professor, will help develop the final product. So far, Lars Stigsson has helped developing the process that takes raw material from renewable forests and then regenerates the cellulose content into textile fibres. The team claims that the process uses less energy and requires fewer chemicals than it takes to make conventional fibres such as cotton or polyester.
The partnership will now entering an industrialization phase and finalizing their findings into new sustainable low-cost fibre.