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RGE reveals progress on next-gen fibre innovation

The inaugural report is released a week ahead of the annual Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference where RGE announced its commitment a year ago

26th October 2020

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Singapore


Singapore headquartered cellulosic fibre producer RGE, has released a 2019-2020 progress report on its commitment to invest USD200 million in next-generation textile fibre innovation and technology over a ten-year period. The inaugural report is released a week ahead of the annual Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference where RGE announced its commitment a year ago.

The 28-page report provides a summary of the activities undertaken by RGE’s business groups involved in the fashion value chain to advance its ambition towards closed loop, circular and climate-positive cellulosic fibre.

Bey Soo Khiang, Vice Chairman, RGE, commented: “We pride ourselves on the fact that the virgin resources we draw on to make a range of daily essential products are renewable. But this does not mean that we rest on our laurels. In fact, we are taking our sustainability commitment to the next level by exploring how waste can also be used as a resource to regenerate new materials and give rise to a truly circular economy.”

The target allocation for the USD200 million investment over ten years is set at 70% in scaling up proven clean technology in fibre manufacturing, 20% in bringing pilot scale production to commercial scale, and 10% in R&D in emerging frontier solutions.

RGE has adopted a three-pronged approach to its investments: sourcing ready solutions in the market, investing in start-ups, and strengthening its in-house R&D capabilities.

In the past 12 months, RGE explains, notable achievements included the launch of FINEX, a Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)-certified fibre containing up to 20% recycled content produced using a 35,000 ton per annum commercial line, inaugural production of Lyocell, a closed- loop fibre that uses minimal chemical and a solvent that is nearly fully recoverable and recycled, as well as new R&D facilities in China and Indonesia. It also initiated an in-house cotton textile waste recycling project.

RGE says it enhanced existing partnerships and forged new ones to promote progress towards broader goals. Its co-operation with Infinited Fiber Company now explores the retrofitting of viscose production with the start-up’s carbamate technology. A comprehensive study of the textile waste landscape in China in partnership with the China Association of Circular Economy is planned to commence early next year.

The report presents for the first-time related targets for RGE’s two viscose business groups in the coming decade. Sateri is set to have a product with 50% recycled content by 2023, and to reach 100% by 2030. It also aims for 20% of its feedstock to contain alternative or recycled materials by 2025. Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) will source 20% of its feedstock from alternative or recycled materials by 2030. In the area of closed-loop manufacturing, all existing Sateri and APR mills will meet EU-BAT emission limits by 2023.

Allen Zhang, President of Sateri, said: “I am very pleased with our progress in the past year. We have advanced quickly in spite of the challenges brought on by a global health pandemic. As a large and growing fibre producer known for product quality and cost-competitiveness, volume is both an advantage and disadvantage; while we are well-placed to scale solutions, we are currently constrained by the readiness of circularity-specific technology and, in the case of textile recycling and non-wood feedstock, the availability and volume of alternative feedstock. But with clear goals towards 2030, we are committed to accelerating our efforts.”

RGE is the world’s largest viscose producer, through its business groups Sateri and APR, with a strong presence in Asia where textile demand growth intersects with the textile production hub, presenting a real opportunity to drive change, the company says.

RGE was founded in 1973. The assets held by RGE companies today exceed US$20 billion. With more than 60,000 employees, it has operations in Indonesia, China, Brazil, Spain and Canada and continues to expand to engage newer markets and communities.

Download the full progress report

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