Interview with Mr Friedrich Weninger

Face2Face
Mr Friedrich Weninger
Mr Friedrich Weninger
Board Member
Lenzing Group
Lenzing Group

Can you provide us the facts & figures for (2005 to 2010) on per capita consumptions of Synthetic, Cellulose, Wool & Cotton fibres world over? In this span, what all trends were observed in these fibres’ per capita consumption?

FIBER CONSUMPTION(million tons)
YEARWorld -Population in billions TOTALCottonWoolCellulose fibersSynthetic  Fiberkg per head
19001,63,93,20,7002,4
19502,59,46,61,11,60,13,7
19603,014,910,11,52,60,74,9
19703,722,012,01,63,64,85,9
19804,530,214,31,63,510,86,8
19905,339,818,61,53,516,27,5
20006,152,419,81,42,828,48,6
20056,566,424,91,23,337,010,2
20066,669,326,51,23,438,210,5
20076,772,326,11,23,741,310,8
e20086,969,525,21,23,339,810,1
e20107,171,025,71,33,440,610,0

Per capita consumption of viscose fibres in Asian countries compared to Europe is less. What all can be determinants behind this?

As already said, the driving force and major influencing factor for our business is GDP and its growth. This explains why Asian countries are where they are and at the same time makes me expect that in the Asian world per capita consumption rate is definitely on the rise.

The early recovery signs from downturn are being noticed these days. By what estimated period is it likely to stabilize and what all would be immediate aftermath in industry once financial crisis has been absorbed? How has your company prepared strategic plans on card for the situation then?

I am generally optimistic that the worst is over, but it has still to bee seen in the second half of 2009 whether the recovery is sustainable. In the Western industrialised countries consumers are not yet fully aware of the consequences the crisis will have. I am more optimistic for the demand in the Emerging Markets. But as we have learned in the past, every downturn is followed by an upswing – so we are well prepared. We never stopped supplying our customers, not even in the worst situation at year-end 2008 and have proven to be a reliable partner. We continue to focus on innovative uses for our broad range of fibers, thus helping our customers to bring new, high quality products on the market. Our strategy to offer the full range of cellulosic fibers in addition to the best customer service and technical support worldwide has led to a gain in market share in the last few months. This is the best starting point for us not only to follow but even to lead any coming upswing.

In what way your R&D division justifies Lenzing’s principle of sustainable development?

Lenzing R&D is the worldwide leading center of competence for the extraction of high valued raw materials from wood, one of the most important renewable sources provided by nature for mankind. We have turned the cellulosic fiber plant at Lenzing, the world’s largest integrated cellulosic fiber site into a kind of “wood refinery”. We extract not only cellulose but also a number of highly valuable by-products and finally thermal energy from wood. This was possible due to years of intensive R&D work of our team leading to a deep understanding of the wood pulping process. The Lenzing site today works almost CO2-neutral. Lenzing will continue its R&D activities to optimise the cellulosic production process. This is the starting point and core of our understanding as a company committed to the principles of sustainability.

Dealing in viscose fibres- the fibres made up of cellulose of trees, needs deforestation. A big issue and against compliance of Save Environment league. How does Lenzing maintain its identity as an Environment friendly company?

Lenzing does not use wood from unsustainable sources such as illegal deforestation in tropical regions and we do not use tropical hard wood for pulp production. In Europe, where we purchase about one million tons of beech wood we have very strict forestry-regulations following the principle that for every tree cut at least one new tree has to be planted.

The term “sustainability” itself is derived from European forestry principles reaching as far back as the 17th and 18th centuries. It originally described the idea that we cannot take more from the living resource forest than natural regeneration provides, if we want to pass this foundation of life on to future generations. The Club of Rome in 1972 extended the meaning to “a state of global balance” in its report “The Limits to Growth” and the concept was termed “sustainability” in English.

As a result, although wood has always been used as an industrial resource in Europe, the quantity of wood has increased in the last decade, and forested area has increased significantly. When Lenzing purchases wood pulp for its non-integrated fiber plants, we pay high attention that our suppliers work in line with the principles of sustainable forestry. In general we use wood pulp from eucalyptus plantations where we can follow the whole production chain from planting the trees to the shipping of the wood pulp.

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Click here for previous interview with Lenzing
Published on: 06/07/2009

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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