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Industry Trends

The Cellulose Fiber Market

Based on market on Cellulose Fiber Market Forecasts from 2021-2026

With climate change and the state of the world’s oceans, the alarm bells are ringing loudly, calling for sustainable – biodegradable and environmentally friendly – materials and stringent management and regulation of natural resources. As part of this backdrop, the ban on plastics is shifting attention to natural and man-made cellulose fibers. In particular, the textile industry sector is experiencing an accrued demand from the industrial end-user segment of the market. According to the Knowledge-Sourcing report on Cellulose Fiber Market Forecasts (2021-2016), 63% of the global cellulose fiber market is related to textiles and expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of ~7.8%.

But how are cellulosic fibers obtained? Mostly from wood pulp which brings us to trees and forests. Unfortunately, global deforestation is a contributor to climate change phenomena. However, governments are putting in place strict regulatory policies and sustainable forest management frameworks aiming at the preservation of forests and trees. Canada, in particular, is clamping down on illegal logging and timber trade to ensure that wood bought by consumers are sustainably harvested.

Getting back to the demand for cellulose fiber, the major drivers for this demand are the increase in global population and more disposable income in large economies like China, Europe and the USA.  While the cellulose fiber market is dominated by the Asia-Pacific region (75% of the market share), the North American cellulose fiber market has benefited from technical innovations that have multiplied the US production of man-made fiber/yarn/fabric/apparel by an order of magnitude from 2016 to 2019.

The fluctuations in global wood fiber prices during the last few decades have affected market growth; this has been obvious to consumers during the pandemic when the usual agricultural politics and crop success were dominated by supply chain issues, national control of raw materials, high building costs and low stocks.

However, some sectors have been thriving during this period. According to the Royal Bank of Canada, the number of new houses under construction has reached an all-time high, a 26% increase between 2015 and 2019, fueled by a 3.4% increase in construction investment in January 2021 (Statistics Canada). Interestingly, the use of cellulose fibers in walls and ceilings of houses to increase fire protection is supporting the growth of the cellulose fiber market in Canada.

Finally, federal (NRCan’s Forest Industry Transformation) and provincial (Quebec’s Innovation Bois) investments, amongst others, are supporting innovation in academia and industry from Celluforce’s commercial factory to FPInnovations’ design and pilot-scale production of biomaterials.

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