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Asahi and Sage partner with NFW

Mirum alternative leather is made from natural rubber and fibres, plant oils, natural pigments and minerals.

26th October 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Peoria, IL. USA

Transport/​Aerospace, Clothing/​Footwear

Asahi Kasei is to invest in US-based startup NFW, a producer of non-petroleum-based leather alternatives for car interiors.

In close cooperation with Sage Automotive Interiors, an Asahi Kasei company and a leading global provider of functional materials for automotive interiors, the partnership will support global OEMs in reducing their environmental footprint.

Based in Peoria, Illinois, NFW was founded in 2015 and has developed the only platform capable of producing precision-engineered, natural leather, foam and textiles to replace animal and petrochemical-based materials.

Certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as having 100% biobased content, Mirum, the company’s patented leather alternative, is made from natural rubber and fibres, plant oils, natural pigments and minerals. The material offers superior durability and quality that can replace traditional animal-based or synthetic leather products without the use of any polyurethane or other coatings.

Since its acquisition by Asahi Kasei in 2018, Sage has strengthened its business activities in Europe and China through mergers and acquisitions, in parallel to expanding its lineup of growth-potential materials such as suede and synthetic leather.

“The cooperation with NFW will enable Asahi Kasei and Sage to assist global automakers in reducing the environmental burden of their cars,” said Dirk Pieper, chairman of the Sage board. “By jointly developing and manufacturing a non-petroleum-based and fully circular leather alternative, the Asahi Kasei Group is taking a leading position in revolutionising the market for car interior materials.”

The cooperation with NFW is the first project within Asahi Kasei’s Care for Earth investment framework, announced in April 2023. It has allocated up to $100 million for investments worldwide in early-stage startups that aim to solve issues in environmental fields such as hydrogen, energy storage, carbon management and bio-based chemicals in the period to 2027.

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