Tree-Kånken & Pine Weave
Q&A with Product Developer Johanna Mollberg (JM) and Global Sustainability Director Christiane Dolva (CD).
Tree-Kånken features a new material called Pine Weave. What is it and why is it special?
JM: Pine Weave is a hardwearing biobased fabric where we have achieved volume-based traceability of the raw material.
What makes Pine Weave different to most existing plant-based materials like Viscos, Lyocell, or Tencel?
JM: First and foremost, we have a deep knowledge of the raw material source for Pine Weave, as well as a direct dialogue with all of our partners in the supply chain. Similar to other plant-based materials, Pine Weave is made from wood chips that are boiled down to a cellulose mass, which then goes into the lyocell process. The lyocell process is a closed-loop, solvent-spinning technique where over 95% of the chemicals and water used are recycled. The dissolved cellulose pulp is pushed through spinnerets, washed, dried, and spun into yarn. Pine Weave however, is different to most existing plant-based materials because it is stronger and more durable. Pine Weave uses filament fibres rather than staple fibres. It is also coated in a mix of PU and wax, which further prolongs the lifetime of the fabric.
How is using wood different from using synthetic materials?
CD: Wood is a renewable material that grows naturally, sustained by sunlight and nutrition from the ground. Synthetic materials today are derived from oil, which is a fossil-based and non-renewable raw material. As such, we are exploring alternatives to fossil-based materials by looking at other biobased and plant-based options, as well as finding the right application for the right products.
Where does the wood used in Pine Weave come from and what trees are used?
JM: The wood we source for making Pine Weave comes from a cultivated forest of spruce and pine located in Sweden. As much of the trunk as possible is used for timber. Branches, twigs, roots, and wood with defects that does not qualify as timber are used for the pulp that is the basis for Pine Weave. Anything that remains from the pulp process (lignine and hemicellulose) is used for bioethanol.
Is it better for the climate to use wood as a raw material?
CD: Forests absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and act as a form of carbon storage. That in mind, we need to preserve untouched forests and carefully manage the ones we are cultivating. Products made from wood-based raw materials can act as carbon storage if we ensure they are durable, have a long lifespan, and have a solution for the end of their long lifecycle. When wood-based materials replace fossil-based materials, the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere is reduced in comparison to accessing and using fossil-based materials. We believe that in the transition from a fossil-based linear society to a bio-based circular society, wood-based, cellulosic fibres are part of the solution.
What are the next steps for developing Pine Weave as a material? Can you see it leading to developments for other alternative and more sustainable materials at Fjällräven?
JM: Definitely! We have learnt a lot while developing Pine Weave, much of which we will take with us moving forward. We have some exciting ideas in the works right now. We are just starting out though, so it is too early to know where they will take us.
CD: We are eager to explore alternative materials that are spurred by Fjällräven’s focus on sustainability, including recycled materials, the different types of – and uses for – wool, as well as plant-based materials. Apart from material innovation, we also focus a lot on experience-sharing and collaboration with other brands and industries. We do so through associations like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the Swedish Textile Initiative for Climate Action. Together, we try to move towards a more sustainable future by finding or creating new solutions, materials, and production methods.