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Annual Global Fibers Congress stresses sustainability, responsibility

EcoNote | January 23, 2018 | By:

An article in Fashionating World reports that more than 700 participants from over 30 countries took part in the 56th Man-Made Fibers Congress in Dornbirn, Austria. Key areas of discussion included fiber innovations; fibers, textiles and nonwovens for health care and hygiene; protective applications; sports and leisure wear. The three-day event also included a young scientists forum and a recycling workshop.

Environmental responsibilities

In his opening remarks, Robert van de Kerkhof, chief commercial officer of Lenzing and president of the Austrian Fibers Institute, noted the growth of the global fiber market at 3 to 4 percent a year. And he predicted the technical textiles market could reach 42 million tons by 2020, with a focus on new applications in the architecture, automotive and sportswear sectors.

In the stories of success, however, rests the industry’s environmental impact. After petroleum, the fashion industry is one of the world’s most polluting industrial sectors. Kerkhof said leaders have to raise the bar and show brands and retailers that it is possible to produce fibers responsibly and sustainably, the article states.

Recycling workshop explores possibilities

A recycling workshop was held a day prior to the congress. The workshop’s title was “Circular economy: textile and nonwovens waste – a threat or opportunity?”

Discussion revolved around how a fragmented industry can choose leadership to drive sustainability and how brands and retailers need to work with the entire value chain to effect positive environmental change.


The Paul Schlack/Wilhelm Albrecht Prize 2017 was awarded to two researchers developing polyethylene-based carbon fibers as part of their doctorates at the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA). The researchers demonstrated the technical feasibility of using polyethylene as an alternative precursor material for carbon fiber.

The Paul Schlack Honorary Prize 2017 was awarded to ITA’s Markus Beckers for the development and analysis of a new manufacturing process for polymer optical fibers.

The 57th Dornbirn Global Fiber Congress will be held September 12–14, 2018. Topics will include fiber innovations; transport and mobility; recycling; energy storage; surface modification and additives; and additive technologies.

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