Korean chemical industry shifts toward green materials

2024.05.14 08:29:01 | 2024.05.14 08:31:17

[Courtesy of Kolon Industries Inc.]이미지 확대

[Courtesy of Kolon Industries Inc.]



South Korea‘s chemical industry is increasingly involved in the production as well as the research and development of eco-friendly materials for consumer goods as consumer awareness of climate change continues to grow.

Chemical industry sources revealed a surge in the market for eco-friendly materials used in consumer goods on Monday. According to Hyosung Group, the global eco-friendly fiber and fashion market is valued at 23 trillion won ($16.8 billion), with a recent average annual growth rate of 12.5 percent. Projections indicate that the entire eco-friendly fiber industry, including the fashion market, will hit a staggering 75 trillion won by 2030.

Kolon Industries Inc. has been producing synthetic suede products using recycled plastic since 2021, with around 20 percent of its synthetic suede products made using recycled plastic as materials. “Recycled materials are about 30 percent more expensive than conventional petroleum-based materials, but we are seeing robust demand for eco-friendly products that has led to the expansion of these products in sales,” a company official said.

[Courtesy of Hyosung TNC Corp.]이미지 확대

[Courtesy of Hyosung TNC Corp.]



Hyosung TNC Corp. is ramping up its marketing efforts for environmentally conscious consumers by integrating eco-friendly products under its Regen brand. These efforts include collaborations with popular fashion brands such as North Face, K2, and Discovery Expedition. Regen currently accounts for 4 percent of Hyosung TNC’s textile division sales, and the goal is to increase this share to around 20 percent by 2030.

LG Chem Ltd. and SK chemicals Co. also provide eco-friendly materials to fashion brands, with LG Chem supplying bio-circular balanced poly-olefin elastomer and other eco-friendly materials for insoles to China‘s Descente. These shoes will be launched in China in the second half of 2024 under LG Chem’s eco-friendly product label “LETZero.” For its part, SK chemicals provided Ecotrion, a material derived from corn, for Blackyak‘s latest line of hiking shoes.

By Kim Hee-su and Chang Iou-chung

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