Technological watch

UPM and VAUDE showcase the future of fabrics at ISPO Munich 2023 with first ever fleece jacket made from wood-based polyester

The world’s first ever fleece jacket made with wood-based polyester will be unveiled next week by UPM Biochemicals and VAUDE at ISPO Munich 2023, the world’s largest sports trade show, where global sports business community comes together to share perspectives and shape the futureof the industry. UPM and VAUDE collaborated closely to produce outerwear made with bio-based chemicals to prove that the shift towards renewable materials in textiles is possible already today.

“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” says Michael Duetsch, Vice President Biochemicals at UPM.

“VAUDE is a leader in advancing sustainable products – addressing all aspects of sustainability from longevity through repairability and alternative use options to truly responsible materials. This collaboration confirms the strong appeal of our novel product portfolio to changemakers in the outdoor and sports industry but also beyond. By building a first-of-its-kind biorefining business to offer a new generation of bio-based renewable materials, we can help global brands to reduce their CO2 footprint and defossilize their products.”

Approximately 60% of all materials currently used by the fashion industry1 are made from fossil-based polymers. While there is a need for synthetic polymers especially for key performance materials it is hoped that this prototype will inspire and motivate brands to exit fossil-based materials for more sustainable bio-based solutions, accelerating the sustainable transformation of the textile industry.

The resin used to make polyester contains 30% monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is traditionally derived from petroleum. In UPM and VAUDE’s process this ingredient will be entirely replaced with a new bio-monoethylene glycol (BioMEG). UPM BioPura™ is a drop-in solution that can be easily implemented into existing polyester manufacturing processes as it is identical to currently used MEG on a molecular basis and can therefore go into corresponding recycling streams.

“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,” adds René Bethmann, Senior Innovation Manager at VAUDE

“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%.” 

UPM is investing EUR 1,180 million to build the world’s first industrial scale biorefinery in Leuna, Germany. In Leuna, UPM will convert sustainably sourced, certified hardwood into next generation biochemicals that will enable the vital shift away from fossil-based to renewable materials across a wide range of industries. The Leuna biorefinery is part of a broader growth area, UPM Biorefining, focused on scaling refineries producing a variety of renewable fuels and chemicals made from sustainable biomass.

Meet us at the VAUDE booth A1.344 to see the jacket first hand and to find out more. 

UPM and VAUDE think beyond recycling by launching a prototype of first ever fleece jacket made from wood-based polyester. (Picture: VAUDE)1 ‘Textiles and the environment in a circular economy’, European Environment Agency – November 2019.

About UPM BiochemicalsUPM Biochemicals offers innovative, sustainable and competitive wood-based biochemicals for replacing fossil-based raw materials and helping to improve the environmental performance in various applications. End-use segments for renewable glycols include textiles, PET bottles, packaging, coolants, composites, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and detergents. Lignin-based Renewable Functional Fillers (RFF) offer a sustainable alternative to carbon black and precipitated silica in a broad range of rubber and plastic applications. UPM is building an industrial scale biorefinery in Leuna, Germany to convert solid wood into next generation biochemicals. UPM Biochemicals is accelerating the transition to a circular bioeconomy – where renewable feedstocks, sustainable production and sustainable consumption are the new normal. 

About UPMWe deliver renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Fibres, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood. As the industry leader in responsibility, we are committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the science-based targets to mitigate climate change. We employ 17,000 people worldwide and our annual sales are approximately EUR 11,7 billion. Our shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. UPM Biofore – Beyond fossils. 

About VAUDEAs a modern family-run company and Europe’s environmentally friendly outdoor supplier, VAUDE takes its social and environmental responsibility very seriously. We breathe life into this maxim in our business segments Outdoor and Bike sports. 
We have been working with the strict environmental bluesign® standard since 2001, which controls the entire textile manufacturing chain. We were also the first Outdoor company to receive EMAS certification. We will also continue to improve our environmental performance in the future and have set ourselves the goal of gradually transforming the entire product palette so that it is manufactured according to the highest standards of environmental compatibility. We are working to make (y)our world a better place. 

About the brand VAUDE VAUDE stands for respect in all its interaction with others and the nature around us. We have set our sight on becoming Europe’s most environmentally friendly outdoor brand, so that sportsmen and women of today, and those to come can enjoy nature to the fullest. We are pioneers in this way, challenging convention and pushing the limits of the possible. 
VAUDE’s roots are in mountain sports. The passion we experience on the ascent and the peace we find at the top are what drive us. Without the mountains, VAUDE wouldn’t be what it is today. It is our foundation, our brand symbol, and it stands for the high expectations we place on ourselves as a company and on our products.

Publication date: 01/12/2023

Author: Marion Kupfer

Bio-based News

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31