Kelheim Fibres is a leading manufacturer of viscose specialty fibres, producing 90,000 tonnes per year. The company is committed to sustainable and circular textiles and has invested about EUR 60 million in environmental protection since 2005. Kelheim Fibres' products are mainly used for clothing, hygiene and medical products, speciality papers and technical applications.
In 2020, Kelheim Fibres became the first viscose fibre manufacturer in the world to be EMAS-registered. The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is an effective tool that helps companies evaluate, report on and improve their environmental performance. It is available to all organisations operating in any economic sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To become EMAS registered, organisations must implement an environmental management system that helps them assess and improve their environmental performance.
Kelheim Fibres' adoption of the EMAS system is part of its commitment to sustainability, which includes membership of the UN Global Compact, a founding membership of the Network for Corporate Climate Protection, and participation in the ZDHC "Roadmap to Zero" programme.
Kelheim Fibres' focus on sustainability has resulted in numerous accolades, including Gold in the CSR rating of EcoVadis, nomination for the German Sustainability Award in the category “Biodiversity,” and a green shirt in the Canopy Hot Button Report. The company guarantees products that are particularly low in harmful substances with the OEKO-TEX seal and only uses FSC-compliant pulp.
Kelheim Fibres' commitment to sustainability is in line with the European Commission's Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, adopted in March 2022. The strategy presents an all-encompassing approach to increasing the sustainability of the textile sector, according to which producers will have to take responsibility for their products along the value chain, from manufacturing to its end of life stage.
Durable, repairable, recyclable
The introduction of design requirements for textiles, clearer product information through a Digital Product Passports, addressing the unintentional release of microplastics from synthetic textiles, and proposing Extended Producer Responsibility for textiles with eco-modulation of fees are among the strategy's main elements. The vision of the Strategy is to have an EU market for textile products that are durable, repairable and recyclable, free of hazardous substances, produced respecting social rights and largely made from recycled fibres by 2030.
Kelheim Fibres' sustainability efforts demonstrate that companies can drive change with EMAS. By implementing an environmental management system, companies can identify areas where they can reduce their environmental impact, such as reducing energy and water consumption, decreasing waste generation, and increasing the use of recycled materials. This not only helps the environment but also reduces costs associated with resource and waste management.