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Lululemon invests in bio-based nylon

Transition will impact over half of synthetic materials used in the brand’s supply chain.

19th August 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Vancouver, Canada

Sustainable, Sports/​Outdoor

Lululemon has announced a multi-year collaboration with Genomatica to create a lower-impact, plant-based nylon.

The agreement represents lululemon’s first equity investment in a sustainable materials company and Genomatica’s largest partnership within the retail industry.

Genomatica uses biotechnology and fermentation to convert plant-based ingredients into widely used chemical building blocks, like those used to make nylon. These building blocks are converted into pellets and yarns, and the two companies will be working closely with lululemon’s fabric supply chain to incorporate this material into future products. Through this collaboration, the companies seek to create positive change within the $22 billion global nylon market by building more sustainable supply chains.

“Genomatica’s bio-based innovations, along with its distinctive track record of successful commercial applications, will help us deliver on our goals to make 100% of our products with sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions by 2030, as we move towards a circular ecosystem,” said lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald.

“The combination of biotechnology, fermentation and renewable feedstocks can provide a powerful means to disrupt the apparel industry through sustainable sourcing,” added Christophe Schilling, CEO, Genomatica. “This unique collaboration will help meet increasing consumer demand for more environmentally friendly products and set an example for consumer brand owners worldwide.”

By transitioning its nylon to renewable content, lululemon will impact over half of the synthetic materials used in its supply chain.

In October 2020, lululemon released its Impact Agenda, outlining ambitious social and environmental goals. The collaboration with Genomatica is one of the many ways lululemon is bringing new, sustainable innovation to its raw materials. Additional examples include the company’s partnership with Mylo, to use a mycelium-based leather, and LanzaTech, for polyester made using recycled carbon emissions.

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