Nordic pulp makers are developing clean ways to turn birch and pine trees into clothes or sofa covers to help revive their industry and meet demand from fashion and furniture firms for alternative textiles to cotton.
There has been no Nordic production of viscose, the main textile fiber from timber, since the last manufacturer stopped nearly a decade ago, partly on environmental grounds.
But a 2011 spike in cotton prices contributed to increased global demand for viscose and lyocell, the other major textile fiber from wood pulp. Production is dominated by Austria's Lenzing, India's Aditya Birla and China's Sateri.
Three Nordic mills export dissolving pulp, the product that can be turned into textile fiber. The industry would like to see textile fiber factories set up at home that will meet environmental rules and appeal to local firms such as IKEA and Hennes & Mauritz which want to project a green image.