UPM Biochemicals and outdoor clothing company VAUDE are set to reveal the world’s first fleece jacket made with wood-based polyester at the ISPO Munich 2023 sports trade show. The collaboration between the two companies is part of an effort to find more sustainable solutions for textiles, as the fashion and footwear industries struggle to reduce their reliance on fossil-based materials.
The jacket, which is due to be launched next week, is made using bio-based chemicals, with approximately 60% of all materials currently used by the fashion industry derived from fossil-based polymers.
“Producing outerwear made with bio-based chemicals is part of our shift towards using renewable materials in the textile and apparel value chain – we want 90% of all our products to be bio-based or have recycled content of more than 50%,” said René Bethmann, Senior Innovation Manager at VAUDE.
UPM’s bio-based solution, UPM BioPura™, replaces the traditional petroleum-derived monoethylene glycol (MEG) with a new bio-based monoethylene glycol (BioMEG).
The Leuna biorefinery, which UPM is investing €1.18bn to build in Germany, will convert sustainably sourced, certified hardwood into next-generation biochemicals to facilitate the shift from fossil-based to renewable materials across a wide range of industries. Bethmann added in a press release: “We have partnered with UPM as partnerships across the whole value chain are a prerequisite for enhancing sustainable innovations. This initial milestone marks the first step in our journey to create a polyester derived from non-fossil ingredients.”
Michael Duetsch, Vice President Biochemicals at UPM, added: “We recognise the acute challenge faced by the fashion and footwear industries to find more sustainable solutions for the textiles and materials used in their products. Today’s launch of the first ever bio-based fleece jacket is a milestone in responding to that challenge, enabling fashion industry leaders to take action now and move beyond fossil-based materials.” The launch of the bio-based fleece jacket is hoped to encourage brands to switch to more sustainable bio-based alternatives, accelerating the sustainable transformation of the textile industry.