Forest-friendly fibres

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark report on land use this week served to hammer home the importance of combatting deforestation to averting the worst impacts of global warming. It was published shortly after Global Forest Watch (GFW) estimated that 3.6 million hectares of tropical forest were cleared in 2018 – equivalent to the size of Belgium.

One innovation which could help companies minimise the forest impact of their products comes from Californian start-up Lingrove, which has developed a wood-free composite material that purports to be carbon-negative and bio-based. The material, made using flax linen fibres and a sugarcane-based resin, is called Ekoa and is designed to be lightweight and highly mouldable.

Lingrove claims that the material’s life-cycle involves the sequestering of more carbon than it emits, because the flax used to make it is not cut down but rather partially stripped and then left to replenish itself. Ekoa has been manufactured since 2014 but has recently received investment from a number of SMEs and corporates, including Tesla, Burn Water and Ashley Lloyd Surfboards.

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