Textile made of cotton and polyester generates significant environmental externalities. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions. Additionally, 20% of wastewater worldwide comes from fabric dyeing and treatment. Fashion is a significant source of pollution and material waste as a staggering 87% of garments are incinerated or sent to landfill. This is compounded by the fact that new garments are typically worn about 60 times, half the average number of uses a decade ago.

Wood-based cellulosic fibres from Lenzing use 10 times less water than cotton, have a neutral carbon footprint (not taking into account carbon sequestration from forests), are highly biodegradable, and use chemicals that are recycled in a loop process. Lenzing is also developing a technology that can include 30% recycled cotton when combined with Lyocell.