Peter Faaborg Andersen
Global Marketing Director Novozymes
In a scenario where the buyers are insisting on eco friendly supply, testing and certification standards are being looked upon as a new business area to make profits. What is your opinion about this?
Proving the environment also benefits and the business is carried out ethically, I believe it is a positive step forward. It just means that sustainability is truly good business - for the environment and in terms of profits. And if more businesses see the profitable side to sustainability and begin to adapt more sustainable process to ensure they can make more sustainability claims, society at large will benefit in the long run.
What has been the growth rate of Novozymes for the last 3 years? Do you think the sustainability initiatives have helped the company grow?
Our organic sales growth was 7% in 2013, 4% in 2012, and 10% in 2011. I believe our company is growing because our solutions bring sustainability to customers – whether it is to detergent customers looking to enable low-temperature washing and replace chemicals, or to food customers seeking to providing healthier options or make more from the same raw materials, or to textile customers hoping to save water and energy. Sustainability is rising on the global agenda and our solutions can help our customers to achieve their goals.
If the world’s textile industry implements the whole range of enzymatic solutions in the production of cotton textiles, they can save potentially save up to 28% of water consumption, 80% of chemical consumption and up to 25% of energy consumption.
In some production steps, enzymes enable reduction in the number of rinses and also reduce the effluent load by 22-30% by reducing chemical usage, which is one of the biggest problems that the industry is facing.
On one hand, the cost of production is increasing while on the other hand consumers are demanding good quality, eco-friendly stuff at a lower price. How can this problem be dealt with while not doing anything unethical?
I believe manufacturers need to look beyond the material and processing – better quality and durability can truly make a difference. This is where biopolishing with enzymes can make a difference, where the cost of the treatment is literally just a few cent per t-shirt and the enhanced quality means that the garment lasts twice as long. This means that the customers are happy and repurchase – and 1000 liters of water are saved every time the life of a t-shirt is doubled.
Enzymes are also a cost competitive, especially in the long run, as a small quantity of enzymes can replace substantial amount of costly petro-based chemicals while providing considerable saving in energy and water consumption. Manufacturers can shorten the process cycle by implementing various combined processes, thus further reducing the cost of production.
What are the innovations in enzymes that are expected to have a high demand in near future?
Sustainability is continuously growing in importance to major brands and retailers, and awareness is growing that enzymes can help create more durable, high quality textiles, which is key to improving the sustainability profile of the industry. Enzymatic textile processing can save 25 % of the water used in manufacturing. This means that the world can save 1000 billion liters of water per year.
As mentioned already, biopolishing can really make a difference. Here enzymes create better quality, longer-lasting textiles through eliminating the formation of fuzz and pills (bobbling) after washing. This means that consumers can keep clothes looking new for longer. And each time we double the lifetime of a cotton t-shirt, we save 1000 liters of water.
Do you think there is an adequate awareness about eco-safe products/solutions for textile processing or finishes?
I believe that the textile industry is growing increasingly aware that a more sustainable way of doing business is possible. Whether it is by focusing on new, alternative textiles, using more sustainable technologies during their processing, the industry is trying to embrace ways to change for the better. Governments across the world also play an important role in supporting the adoption of sustainable processes especially amongst the smaller players. Consumer awareness is also growing, but this needs to be further encouraged so that more consumers actively choose and demand environmentally friendly choices when shopping, and develop longer lasting relationships with their clothes. It is only united that the industry and its consumers can move in a more sustainable direction.
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