Chemicals giant Covestro, previously known as Bayer MaterialScience, has signed Chinese PU coated fabric producer, Kunshan Xiefu New Material Co, to its Insquin Partner Manufacturer Program.

Through the deal, the two companies will collaborate to promote sustainable polyurethane (PU) materials in sectors such as fashion apparel and footwear.

Launched in July, the programme connects manufacturers and brand owners across the PU-coated fabric supply chain. Partners must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to sustainability and transparency, using Covestro’s waterborne, PU coating technology and industry-leading processes to meet the sustainability needs of brand owners.

Xeifu is the second company to earn a place in the programme, after Korean PU synthetic materials manufacturer Duksung Co Ltd.

“A growing number of brands and retailers are becoming interested in sourcing sustainable materials, and further, they need more assurances about the origins and integrity of those materials,” said Nick Smith, global head of textile coatings for Covestro. “The programme was developed to link these brands with manufacturers capable of efficiently delivering innovative materials and sustainability best practice. We are proud to welcome Xiefu to the programme and look forward to supporting the growth of sustainable PU-coated textiles for the fashion apparel and footwear market worldwide.”

Under the programme, Covestro will provide technical support to help Xiefu further develop its use of the Insqin technology. Xiefu will also receive verification of its production processes and management systems via a globally recognised third-party audit.