The world’s first bio-based spandex (elastane), ‘creora® bio-based’, has been successfully developed by South Korea-based comprehensive fibre manufacturer Hyosung TNC. Made using a natural material derived from corn instead of coal, the product reduces carbon emissions by 23% compared to conventional products. ‘creora® bio-based’ spandex, with a global eco-certification, uses a material derived from corn that has received an eco-friendly certification from the US Department of Agriculture and replaces a part of the raw materials extracted from coal.
Corn-derived material has long been used for general fibre, wrapping paper, cosmetics and liquid detergents, but was not preferred for high-function textiles such as spandex, as it was not possible to provide unparalleled flexibility and durability due to technological inadequacies. Hyosung TNC, which has been conducting R&D studies for more than a year, developed bio-based spandex for the first time in the world and made it suitable for sale.
Bio-based spandex reduces water use by 39% and carbon dioxide emissions by 23%
According to the Life Cycle Analysis, an assessment technique based on international standards for environmental impact, when ‘creora® bio-based’ is applied to products, water use can be reduced by 39% and carbon dioxide emissions by 23% compared to conventional spandex products. In June 2022, ‘creora® bio-based’ received the Eco Product Mark, a global eco-friendly certification from SGS (formerly Société Générale de Surveillance), the world’s leading international standards certification institute. The Eko Product Mark is awarded to products that use eco-friendly raw materials, do not harm the human body, and are produced with eco-friendly methods with ESG (environmental, social and governance) oriented management.
Hyosung Chairman Cho Hyun-joon signalled the group’s intention to collaborate with global brands, expressing that they will drastically expand their eco-friendly product business. Hyun-joon said: “We will play a pivotal role as an industry leader by steadily developing the next-generation eco-friendly textiles including biodegradable fibre.”
Hyosung TNC has announced that it will initially start production of bio-based spandex at production bases in Korea, including facilities in Gumi, and then increase its production through global production bases such as those in Vietnam. The company also aims to continuously increase the use of natural raw materials in its products by collaborating with global fashion brands.
Global demand for biomaterials is growing
After the European Union recently announced the full-scale adoption of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) in 2025, there has been an increase in global demand for eco-friendly biomaterials. Data Bridge, a global market survey institute, expects the global biofiber market to grow at an average annual rate of 5.5% by 2029.