Danish luxury label Ganni and California-based materials science platform Rubi Labs have debuted a revolutionary enzymatic yarn made from captured carbon.
Ganni and Rubi announced the world’s first yarn made from carbon emissions during the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen this week.
The announcement builds on a pilot project the two companies launched in February, which also saw carbon turned into a textile as Ganni ups its sustainability efforts through its Fabrics of the Future program. Rubi’s technology harnesses enzyme-driven biochemical reactions on a mass-production scale to digest carbon emissions and produce carbon-based, resource-neutral textiles.
“We created Rubi to ensure our planetary future by restoring Earth’s ecological balance with reimagined supply chains that are symbiotic with the planet – starting with fashion, which is the third most CO2-polluting supply chain on the planet,” Neeka Mashouf, CEO and Co-Founder of Rubi Labs, said in a statement.
Rubi aims to extend its cutting-edge technology to all areas of manufacturing — from buildings and packaging to food, medicine, and other advanced materials. The company says this will lay the foundation for a new breed of global supply chains that are inherently planet-positive.
Mashouf says that in thinking about who Rubi wanted to team up with to make the first-ever materials with its carbon capture technology, Ganni was the “obvious choice.”
“Ganni has been instrumental in helping us to bridge the relationship between brands and manufacturing partners in order to build a future where entire manufacturing plants can truly be reinvented, starting with our upstream carbon-negative textile technology,” Mashouf said. “Their commitment to a planet-positive future perfectly aligns with our mission and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with them to help bring our product to life.”
Nicolaj Reffstrup, Ganni’s Founder, says Ganni’s ultimate goal has always been to be able to create “a truly climate-neutral product.” He says Rubi’s technology driven by carbon sequestration puts the label one step closer to that goal. “Fabric innovations, like Rubi, will play a crucial role in getting fashion to the point of decarbonization, but for this to happen brands need to place bets, take risks and invest in innovations,” Reffstrup said. “There are still a lot of things we don’t know the answer to, but working with innovative partners like Rubi gives a lot of optimism for what the future could look like.”
Ganni has been working to improve its supply chain and create a more sustainable business. Last September, it became the first luxury fashion label to earn the highest B Corporation score for its eco commitments, which includes a 50 percent absolute carbon reduction by 2027. The label is working to ensure 100 percent of its collections are made from certified recycled, organic, or lower-impact fabrics. It has discontinued virgin animal leather in its RTW line and will be phasing out virgin animal leather from shoes and accessories by 2023.
Also unveiled during the Global Fashion Summit, SaaS company TrusTrace launched a new roadmap on product traceability. The Traceability Roadmap, launched in conjunction with Fashion for Good, dives deep into the challenges and solutions for brands aiming to achieve transparency in their supply chains. It follows the launch of the TrusTrace Traceability Playbook.
“The TrusTrace Traceability Roadmap serves as a guide for brands, suppliers, and ecosystem players to understand, and implement traceability effectively,” Kathleen Rademan, Director of Fashion for Good’s Innovation Platform, said in a statement. “It helps companies choose useful digital and physical tracing solutions to meet their business, policy, and ESG needs.”
“In just a few short years, supply chain traceability has become recognized as the central tenet of sustainable transformation,” said TrusTrace CEO and Co-Founder Shameek Ghosh. “Brands that want to communicate product information with consumers, adhere to certification criteria, abide by current and incoming regulations, and avoid greenwashing can only do so by tracing their complex network of suppliers and manufacturers. Yet despite its importance, there is still a lack of understanding on implementation.”
Better Cotton, the world’s largest cotton sustainability initiative, also turned the focus to traceability during the Summit. It is debuting efforts to trace cotton in Uzbekistan — the sixth largest cotton producing country — in partnership with the vertically integrated operations of Navoi-based Navbahor Tekstil. Using a digital platform, the partnership will detail the movement of Better Cotton from a licensed farm through the ginning, spinning, weaving, and manufacturing processes.
“I’m excited to participate in this week’s Global Fashion Summit, discuss Better Cotton’s role in the pilot and outline its broader ambition,” Alan McClay, Chief Executive Officer, Better Cotton, said in a statement. “This pilot has been a collaborative effort and will go some way in informing the development of our own traceability system. Traceable materials and transparent supply chains are of utmost importance to leading retailers and brands, and we’re well-positioned to support their goals.”
Also during the event, LVMH’s head of image and environment Antoine Arnault addressed the luxury group’s reluctance to join existing climate efforts. “We prefer acts to pacts,” Arnault said during the event.
”I know we were very much criticized a few years ago when we did not sign the famous Fashion Pact,” Arnault told Summit attendees. “It was, in our opinion, not the right thing to do at that time to be associated with the actors of fast fashion.”
But Arnault said collaboration, particularly in the luxury sector, is critical. ”What I think is important is that we aggregate the leaders of this industry, the luxury industry, to work together,” Arnault said. “This is a hand that I’m putting to all our competitors to try to find the right standards, the right way of doing business.”
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