Go Natural

Prevent - reduce - compensate CO2e.

It is our aim to continuously reduce and prevent the negative environmental impacts of products, raw materials, production processes and logistics. This is why we are offering ever more biobased, biodegradable and recycled materials. This will allow us to create CO2e-neutral supply chains.

To achieve this, we look closely at each and every stage of the value chain: Where do our raw materials come from, how are they transported, how are our own production processes designed, how do our yarns reach our customers?

We get actively involved at all stages of this value chain wherever there is a technical solution to reducing or outright prevents environmental impacts. Where we have reduced the impact as much as feasibly possible, any remaining unavoidable emissions are compensated for. This allows us to offer a climate-neutral product.

Analysis

The analysis counts

How do we calculate the carbon footprint?

The CO2e footprint of each yarn comprises several components. The raw materials used play a central role. Even natural raw materials can cause relatively high emissions at the start of the chain, but are biodegradable at the end - and this is before any additional CO2e emissions have been considered.

It is important to precisely analyse the individual CO2e footprint of each individual product in order to make it climate-neutral, step by step. To do this, we use the “cradle-to-customer plus waste“ methods. This comprises all steps in the process: how high are CO2e emissions for extracting the raw materials, packaging, logistics processes, production of the product, delivery of goods to the factory gate of the customer as well as emissions associated with disposal of the product and its packaging.

100% wool, white
75% wool/25% PA dyed

Actions

Activities for reducing greenhouse gases

Emissions are generated at all stages of the value chain, from the raw materials to the finished textile. We are already taking steps at our production facilities to reduce the CO2e output of our production processes.

Photovoltaic systems installed on roofs

Photovoltaic systems installed on roofs

The surfaces on the roof of Zwickauer Kammgarn are already being used to produce electricity.

Switching from oil to gas

Switching from oil to gas

Compared to oil, gas emits less CO2 per kilowatt hour of heat energy produced. This makes natural gas a more environmentally-friendly alternative. A further benefit for the environment and climate is that gas is easily combined with renewable energies or environmentally friendly biogas can be used. Fuel costs with gas are expected to be lower and more constant over the long-term.

Pre-treating sewage

Pre-treating sewage

At its location in Wilkau-Hasslau, Zwickauer Kammgarn GmbH has a state-of-the-art dyeworks for cross-wound yarns, combed yarns and some fibres. The wastewater is pre-treated and monitored both internally and externally.

Investing in our machinery to reduce power consumption

Investing in our machinery to reduce power consumption

Investing in our machinery to optimise quality and processes as well as reduce power consumption

Use of energy-efficient IT clouds

Use of energy-efficient IT clouds

Zwickauer Kammgarn GmbH is already using a cloud solution that is powered by 100 % renewable energy and is aiming to have an entirely CO2-neutral electricity supply by 2025. Compared to local servers, the cloud server requires just 16 % of the energy. The switch to using a cloud server has brought an 88% CO2 saving.

Increase in electric cars and charging stations

Increase in electric cars and charging stations

Company car regulations of the Peppermint Group set down CO2 limits for each group of authorised users. These limits are regularly reviewed and adjusted. We are increasingly procuring electric cars to the extent possible.

Zwickauer Kammgarn GmbH has its own electric car charging stations on company premises that is used for use by our own fleet of vehicles, visitors and employees.

 

Sheaths made of recycled paper

Sheaths made of recycled paper

We do not use plastic bags for individual spools if requested.

Environmentally friendly packaging

Environmentally friendly packaging

Boxes and intermediate layers are mostly made from recycled paper. We do not use stretch film around our products when placed on palettes.

We require transparency from our supply chain partners in matters of sustainability and CO2e neutrality. We offer a dialogue with our customers on issues of CO2e neutrality in how we process our yarns through to the completed end product.

Sustainable
products

Green responsibility

Sustainable products from ZKS

Everything we do revolves around responsibility for people, animals and the environment. Based on this ideal, we choose our suppliers and raw materials and build carefully selected partnerships. We offer our customers sustainable product innovations with transparency in the supply chain and production processes.

The expertise of the ZKS Group starts with researching raw materials and procurement of these from the global market. Selecting the optimum spinning technology, dyes and dyeing methods are key factors for producing a high-performance yarn. We are already able to offer sustainable alternatives for many conventional materials that are both ecological and economical.

Our existing certifications and those which we are aiming to gain for the basis for further developing individual sustainable business models with our customers.

Highly innovative production processes, some spanning across many stages within the Peppermint Group, we provide solutions beyond the yarn itself.

Become sustainable

Product advantages

Use regional wools

Use regional wools

Traditional sheep farming countries are Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa. Sheep are sheared on the farm in the country of origin.

Raw wools/greasy wools and packed in bolts and sold to wool washing and combing companies. Washing and combing of wool is usually done in a single process in the combing works. The largest washing and combing works are located in China, India, Argentina, Uruguay, Czech Republic and Italy. These produce wool tops that are packed into bolts and delivered to spinning mills/Zwickauer Kammgarn GmbH located in Germany and the Czech Republic. The relatively long transport routes associated with this supply chain are a burden on the environment.

ZKS also uses a certain amount of regional wools from Germany, France, England and Benelux. Sheep from these regions are not traditional wool sheep. The harvested wool is relatively rough and are use for special purposes. The supply chain is transparent and sustainable.

Use of mulesing free wools

Use of mulesing free wools

Mulesing is the removal of skin around tail of the sheep without the use of pain killers. It is commonly used in Australia as a way to prevent flystrike.

Merino sheep are bred to have extremely folded skin in order to maximise wool production. Moisture collects in these folds of skin as well as faeces and urine in the folds around the rear orifice. This thus promotes flystrike. Alternative methods are selective breeding, research into flystrike resistance, insecticides and vaccinations, i.e. biological means of combatting flies.

Flystrike is not an issue in South America. As such, wools from there are always mulesing free.

Use of organic wool

Use of organic wool

Zwickauer Kammgarn GmbH uses wools from organically controlled livestock. And we go even further. We buy exclusively GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) combed tops to ensure comprehensive sustainable transformation from the farm to yarn.

Our dyeworks (cross-wound and combed) is also GOTS-certified and therefore exceeds the legally required standards for the wellbeing of people and the environment.

Use of organic cotton

Use of organic cotton

For the further processing in the spinning mill and dyeworks, Zwickauer Kammgarn GmbH uses cotton from controlled organic farms.

Just like our wool tops, here too we process exclusively GOTS-certific (Global Organic Textile Standard) wool yarns with transformation certificates from field to yarn.

Our dyeworks (cross-wound and combed) is also GOTS-certified and therefore exceeds the legally required standards for the wellbeing of people and the environment.

GOTS certification

GOTS certification

Global Organic Textile Standard

GOTS certification aims to guarantee the organic status of textiles and provide consumers with credible reliability that the product is what it says it is.

This leading, globally recognised standard for all stages in the processing of clothing and home textiles sets down strict environmental requirements and defines social criteria that must be observed along the entirely of the textile supply chain.

In 2020, the number of GOTS-certified companies worldwide grew 36% to 10,388. These together employ more than 3 million people in 72 countries.

Use of recycled PES

Use of recycled PES

Recycled polyester is differentiated between pre-consumer waste and post-consumer waste.

Pre-consumer waste is where residual materials from fibre and filament production processes are fed back into the production process.

Post-consumer waste is where PET bottles are sorted based on condition and colour, cleaned, and then shredded (bottle flakes). These flakes are melted down and spun out again.

Both methods have the benefit of reducing waste and requiring less crude oil for new production.

Use of recycled PA

Use of recycled PA

The options available to us are a mixture of more than 50% pre-consumer waste that is fed back into the production process. What remains is basically virgin PA.

Use of biodegradable PA

Use of biodegradable PA

Modified PA66 polymer that degrades into biomass and biogas in industrial composting plants.
(ASTM D 5511)

Use of biobased and biodegradable raw materials

Use of biobased and biodegradable raw materials

Most of the plastics currently used are based on crude oil. Biobased raw materials includes renewable natural raw materials. These are mostly plant-based. Industrial plants (corn, rapeseed, sunflowers, sugar beet, castor beans) are used in the production of technical oils and industrial starch for creating biobased fibres.

Wood has long been used for producing cellulose fibres. Linen, flax and hemp as well as cotton are all processed into textiles. In the aquatic sector, algae is also used.

Biobased plastics are not necessarily biodegradable.

Biodegradable plastics are made of polymers that can be broken down under certain conditions by microorganisms using enzymes (usually in industrial composting plants). This is described in more detail in various standards (EU norm EN 13432).

Use of biodegradable raw materials made from 100% renewable resources

Use of biodegradable raw materials made from 100% renewable resources

Biodegradable plastics are usually broken down using oxidation and hydrolysis processes into water, carbon monoxide or methane and biomass. The biodegradability depends on the chemical structure. More details can be found in various standards.

 

Use of natural raw materials

Use of natural raw materials

Natural raw materials can be animal-based or plant-based. Alongside traditional sheep’s wool, other animal types of animal hair such as cashmere or angora are spun into yarn. In the plant-based sector, alongside cotton, materials such as linen, help, jute and flex have long been used.

While the production of viscose (cellulose fibres) from wood releases harmful toxins into the environment, a direct dissolving process for the production of Tencel/Lyocell that doesn’t use any toxic solvents in a closed circuit has been developed. Silk production is another process entirely using the cocoon of the silkworm.

Chlorine-free wool finishes

Chlorine-free wool finishes

Conventional felt finishing of wool based on chlorine-based treatments.

With consideration for the environment and as part of our GOTS-certified dyeing and finishing processes, we use exclusively chlorine-free combed wool tops.

This ensures that our sustainably produced yarns, and the fabrics for which they are used, have optimal care properties

CO2e-neutral

CO2e-neutral

Prevent - reduce - compensate CO2e

We look separately at each phase of the entire value chain from procurement of raw materials to our own production activities through to final delivery to customers, including all transport routes. We precisely analyse the composition of the CO2e footprint of each product.

Our goal is, using targeted measures in the procurement and production steps, to increasingly reduce our CO2e output.

Furthermore, we have decided to use a carbon compensation scheme for our products and processes together with ClimatePartner.

TRIWITEX® made from 100% pure natural fibres

TRIWITEX® made from 100% pure natural fibres

Our innovative TRIWITEX® spinning method combines this with the exclusive use of natural raw materials.

The use of a very finely spun fibre yarn instead of a filament is also possible. Natural, durable, long lasting.

Think ahead together

We provide you with help in the sustainable transformation of your product range.

Partnerships

Strong partnerships

Climate-neutral yarn

The various sources of emissions for our yarns are precisely analysed, calculated and compensated for in collaboration with ClimatePartner. We have a targeted range of projects to deal with emissions relating to raw materials and production processes.

All projects meet the highest standard classes in the voluntary compensation market. For our customers this means they receive a ClimatePartner compensation certificate with an ID number that allows traceability and can also be used when advertising the end product.

  • Responsibility for the environment
  • Increasing the value of your product
  • Promotional added value for your product
  • Traceable transparency for the end consumer

Calculating the exact CO2e footprint for your product takes around three to four weeks and is carried out parallel to the production process.

Example compensation certificate on climatepartner.com

Meaningful
compensation

Is it just about the yarn?

Meaningful compensation

The compensation projects we have selected in collaboration with ClimatePartner reflect a direct relevance to our yarns. These projects are also displayed on the digital compensation certificate at ClimatePartner.com.

Ocean protection / Plastic Bank worldwide

Sadly, far too much plastic and synthetic fibres continue to find their way into the world’s oceans. Plastic Bank pays local communities a certain amount of money for plastic collected from the sea.

Alongside natural materials, which are the bulk of what we use, and increasing demand for biobased and biodegradable as well as recycled materials, we continue to use fossil-based synthetic fibres. Once our products leave ZKS, we no longer have any influence over how they are transported. By choosing to support this project, we want to take on responsibility for these products also.

Reforestation in China & Forest Protection in Peru

Sheep farming and shearing for the wools we use takes place primarily in Australia, South America, New Zealand and South Africa. The raw wool is packed into bales and is sent for washing and combing - mostly in China, India, Argentia and Uruguay.

We would like to promote a natural balance between meadow and forest in countries where sheep are bred and take on some responsibility for the subsequent processing steps. We have therefore decided to compensate for these CO2 emissions with reforestation projects in China and forest protection in Peru.

Our team

Where everything comes together

We develop unique textile solutions in collaboration with our clients. Our highly motivated team is happy to help you.

Managing Directors

Beate Wilms

Managing Director Sales

Hans-Joachim Gierse

Managing Director Operations

Sales

Matthias Schulz

(Weaving / knitting yarn D, SK, TR, I, F, USA, LT, A)

Harald Zohren

(Technical weaving / knitting yarn D, NL, GB)

Antje Seidel

(Weaving / knitting yarn)

Angela Karpe

(Weaving / knitting yarn)