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Lululemon partners with sustainable innovator to produce bio-nylon products

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: lululemon

Athleticwear retailer Lululemon has announced its plan to partner with Genomatica, an innovator in sustainable material manufacturing.

The multi-year collaboration aims to bring bio-based materials into the athletic production chain. The partnership marks Lululemon’s first equity investment in a sustainable company, as well as Genomatica’s largest retail partnership.

The future of bio-nylon

The companies will be creating plant-based nylon to replace the current use of synthetics in Lululemon products. Using biotechnology and fermentation, Genomatica converts plant-based ingredients into chemicals that can be used to make this nylon. It will be working alongside Lululemon with the process of bringing the bio-nylon into the supply line for future collections.

“Our partnership with and investment in Genomatica demonstrates our commitment to being a leader in creating products that help build a healthier future for ourselves, for our communities and for our planet,” said Lululemon CEO, Calvin McDonald, in a statement. “Genomatica's bio-based innovations, along with their distinctive track record of successful commercial applications, will help us deliver on our Impact Agenda goals to make 100 percent of our products with sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions by 2030, as we move toward a circular ecosystem.”

Lululemon Impact Agenda

The Impact Agenda, released in 2020 by Lululemon, stated a commitment to social and environmental goals, including a number of multi-year strategies centred around a sustainable and healthy future. By collaborating with Genomatica, Lululemon hopes to honour this commitment by bringing innovative raw materials to its collections.

“Replacing the petrochemicals that make up many popular materials with more sustainable alternatives is a major step forward in reaching our Impact Agenda goals,” said Patty Stapp, vice president and raw material manager at Lululemon. “By transitioning our nylon to renewable content, we will impact over half of the synthetic materials we use in our supply chain. We have seen Genomatica repeatedly and successfully deliver industry-changing bio-based materials at commercial scale and are confident this partnership can truly change the way we source products while continuing to provide the exceptional quality we are known for.”

Most recently, the athleticwear brand partnered with LanzaTech to produce polyester using recycled carbon emissions. By reusing the carbon to make textiles, products can be gasified and fermented by LanzaTech in order to create a more circular life cycle for the garments.

Sustainable manufacturing