Mr Toshihide Fukushima
GM Polyester Fibers Business Group, TEIJIN
Polyester accounts for 80% of all synthetic fiber products and 40% of all fiber products, so polyester recycling can greatly reduce environmental burden.
Foundation of Teikoku Rayon Comapny Limited in 1918- the very first rayon plant established in Japan laid the corner stone for today’s giant Teijin Group of companies. Over these 93 years of existence, the group now marks its presence across the globe with 72 subsidiaries located in Japan, and 78 in regions like-North America, Asia, Europe. The group employs over 17,500 people from different nations and races.
Teijin’s businesses-share breakdown (FY2010) includes materials-related segments, namely, High-Performance Fibers (Aramid Fibers Business Group, Carbon Fibers Business Group), Polyester Fibers Business, and Films and Plastics (Plastics Business Group and Films Business Group) representing 52% of Group’s consolidated net sales. The remaining 48% is by the Pharmaceuticals and Home Health Care segment (Medical and Pharmaceuticals Business Group) and the Trading and Retail segment (Fiber Products Marketing Business Group) of which the Medical and Pharmaceuticals Business Group is responsible for 17%.
The Polyester Fiber Business Group deals into Polyester Fibers/Textiles; Polyethylene Naphthalate (PEN) Fibers, and Polyester Monofilaments as principal products. It manufactures and sells the polyester fiber TETORON and polyester monofilament. These products are used mainly in apparel (men's and women’s apparel), interior decorating (curtains and other items), automotive interiors (seats) and tyre codes and material for paper manufacture.
Mr Toshihide Fukushima is the general manager of Teijin’s Polyester Fibers Business Group and the president & CEO of Teijin Fibers Limited. Since he started his career at Teijin in 1975, he has been engaged in polyester fiber and apparel businesses in Japan, Italy and China.
Mr Toshihide Fukushima, sharing a word with Ms Madhu Soni, Sr Editor & Correspondent- Face2Face, provides a deal of information from his area of expertise- Polyester sector worldwide.
Face2face extends a warm welcome, Mr Fukushima! Teijin Group is a giant with presence in multiple industries. Shall we begin this discourse with a note from you on the significance that polyester fibers make to Teijin’s textile presence, as well as Teijn’s Fibers growth strategies?
Since we first began the production of Tetoron polyester fiber in Japan in 1958, Teijin has expanded the use of polyester fibers and textiles in applications ranging from apparel to industrial materials. Over the decades, the polyester fibers business has played an important role in propelling business expansion of the Teijin group.
Looking toward the future, we are aiming to expand our polyester fibers business for a stronger presence in the global market. Now we are focused on the establishment of competitive global supply chain and the development of promising applications and markets.
On that note, kindly also let us know the key trends that are likely to scale up your industry prospects. Which all regions would see upswing in the sector?
We see great potential in environment friendly products in the global market. Capitalizing on our unique polyester technologies and expertise, we will expand Eco business, with the focus more on emerging markets such as China and India.
Can you also apprise us with rationale behind recent global expansion of Teijin's recycling initiatives for polyester?
In response to increasing awareness of environmental issues, in 2002, Teijin Fibers developed ECO CIRCLE, the world's first closed-loop recycling system for polyester based on our proprietary chemical recycling technology.
Teijin’s chemical recycling technology enables used polyester to be converted into raw material with purity comparable to materials derived directly from petroleum, with no qualitative deterioration. Repeated recycling enables the conservation of oil resources and the reduction of waste volume.
ECO CIRCLE forms solid partnerships between Teijin and participating companies that are willing to involve end-users in recycling activities. While the original focus of ECO CIRCLE was on recycling company / school uniforms and interior materials in Japan, the initiative expanded through the collaboration in 2005 with Patagonia Inc., a leading U.S. outdoor gear manufacturer. China’s largest sports apparel Li Ning became our partner in 2009, which has been drawing increasing attention to ECO CIRCLE in Asia.
We are currently working with around 150 companies worldwide including makers of school/company uniforms, fashion/sports apparel and interior goods. These companies, which share our commitment to promoting progressive environmental activities through the development and manufacture of recyclable products, collect products at the end of their useful lives from end-users. The products are then sent to Teijin Fibers’ plant in Matsuyama Prefecture, Japan for recycling.
We are now aiming to expand the ECO CIRCLE system beyond the conventional recycling of recovered apparel products to incorporate innovative new recycling models for the entire polyester chain, which includes industrial polyester products.
Conventionally, 90% of all used clothes are treated as waste and are burnt or disposed off in landfills. Polyester accounts for 80% of all synthetic fiber products and 40% of all fiber products, so we believe polyester recycling can greatly reduce this environmental burden.
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