Lululemon Athletica today announced a multi-year collaboration with sustainable materials company Genomatica to bring renewably-sourced, bio-based materials into lululemon’s products. This represents lululemon’s first-ever equity investment in a sustainable materials company and Genomatica’s largest partnership within the retail industry. Together, the two companies will create a lower-impact, plant-based nylon to replace conventional nylon, which is the largest volume of synthetic material currently used to make lululemon products.
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 to pellets and yarns, and the 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 says that the combination of biotechnology, fermentation and renewable feedstocks can provide a powerful means to disrupt the apparel industry through sustainable sourcing. The companies are aiming to replace the petrochemicals that make up many popular materials with more sustainable alternatives.
In October 2020, lululemon released its first-ever Impact Agenda, outlining social and environmental goals and multi-year strategies toward a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy future.
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