Partnership Hopes to Develop – and Drive Adoption of – More Sustainable Nylon

by | May 22, 2018

H&M and 11 other companies have come together in an effort dubbed Project Effective, a collaboration meant to produce more sustainable fibers and plastics for commercial use – and to increase adoption of sustainable materials – by using renewable feedstocks and bio based technologies. One of the key objectives of Project Effective is to develop a more sustainable nylon. The nylon will be validated by brands that use it to make apparel and carpet textiles.

The project, led by polyamide 6 (nylon 6) producer Aquafil and bioengineering leader Genomatica, is one of the broadest industrial-driven efforts to “reshape entire product value chains and drive economic growth,” the companies say, adding that it will “pave the way toward the industrial production of bio-based nylon.”

In addition to Aquafil, Genomatica, and H&M, participants include Carvico, Vaude, Balsan, Circular Change, Life Cycle Engineering, Bio-Mi, Südzucker, Fundación CIRCE, and Novamont.


Brands Onboard from the Start

Early involvement of major consumer brands like H&M give the project a unique advantage by bringing their expertise in customer- and industry-driven perspectives. This brand participation is expected to “facilitate broader and faster adoption of sustainable technologies and products,” according to the group. “Brands will better understand what monomers, polymers and sustainability initiatives are commercially available, enabling them to develop more effective plans with suppliers regarding bio-based ingredients and materials.”

The initiative is funded in part through a grant from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking, a public/private partnership between the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program and the Bio-based Industries Consortium.

“More renewables in product value chains means more impact,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “More and more manufacturers and brands get it; more and more are taking action.”


Power of Partnerships

The group is the latest in a long line of partnership efforts geared toward improving environmental responsibility by harnessing the power of various stakeholders across an industry. Some of these efforts, recently covered by Environmental Leader, include The Recycling Partnership, Waste Free Oceans, and the Circular Fibres Initiative.

Partnerships enable organizations within an industry to leverage their various areas of expertise and power of scale to drive make change possible. “Together we will drive new waves of healthy industrialization, economic growth, and greater sustainability – better than we can individually,” says Giulio Bonazzi, Chairman and CEO of Aquafil.

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