28.11.23 – UPM Biochemicals/Vaude
Fleece jacket made from wood
UPM Biochemicals and Vaude collaborate closely to produce outerwear made with bio-based chemicals to prove that the shift towards renewable materials in textiles is possible already today. At ISPO Munich 2023 they show a wood-based polyester fleece jacket.
Acknowledging the fashion industry`s need for sustainable solutions, Michael Duetsch, Vice President at UPM Biochemicals, underscores the significance of this bio-based fleece jacket as a pivotal step in steering away from fossil-based materials. Vaude, renowned for its commitment to sustainability, sees this innovation as a testament to their dedication to responsible materials and practices. Approximately 60% of all materials currently used by the fashion industry  are made from fossil-based polymers. The prototype jacket, replacing traditional petroleum-derived components with bio-monoethylene glycol (BioMEG), stands as a beacon inspiring brands to transition from fossil-based to bio-based alternatives. UPM´s “BioPura” is said to offer a seamless integration into existing polyester manufacturing, aligning with recycling streams and contributing to a reduced CO2 footprint. Vaude´s Senior Innovation Manager, René Bethmann, emphasizes the necessity of collaborative partnerships like the one with UPM, signaling their intent to develop a polyester sourced from non-fossil ingredients. He added: “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%.” Furthermore, UPM`s substantial 1,180m euro investment in a cutting-edge biorefinery in Leuna, Germany, marks a stride towards a renewable future. This industrial-scale biorefinery aims to convert certified hardwood into biochemicals, ushering a shift from fossil-based to renewable materials across various industries. This initiative aligns with UPM´s broader strategy, focusing on scaling refineries that produce renewable fuels and chemicals from sustainable biomass.
 “Textiles and the environment in a circular economy”, European Environment Agency - November 2019.