Non-profit Textile Exchange has launched an online platform to explain the rapidly developing technologies of biosynthetics, focusing on textiles made from sugars, biomass and plant oils.
The new biosynthetics microsite is the latest in the suite of Textile Exchange’s ‘About’ series and follows on from its aboutorganiccotton.org released in 2015.
Launched alongside an accompanying ‘Quick Guide to Biosynthetics’, aboutbiosynthetics.org aims to demystify the subject and provide soundly-based information and market intelligence for businesses and interested consumers alike.
“Right now, biosynthetics are a new and emerging area for the textile industry and an exciting one for us to be exploring at Textile Exchange,” says Liesl Truscott, director of materials strategy at Textile Exchange. “We are all looking for opportunities to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. Fibres made from polymers based on plants and other biological inputs offer huge potential.”
She adds, while many of the group’s members are curious about the technology, they are asking questions about the sustainability opportunities biosynthetics offer.
“Our new microsite is a tool for communicating the big potential biosynthetics offer and their link to the Bio Economy, while also presenting the challenges and realities in terms of the sector’s stage of development and current scale,” she explains.
In 2016, Textile Exchange set up a Biosynthetics Working Group, comprised of Textile Exchange members and experts with an interest in the future of bio-based materials as a solution to transitioning out of non-renewables and textiles based on petroleum towards more sustainable alternatives.
The multi-stakeholder group, led in its incubator phase by Sophie Mather of Biov8tion, has focused on exploring the opportunities, challenges, barriers to growth, sustainability benefits and, importantly, how to get biosynthetic from R&D and proof-of-concept to market readiness and a commercially viable alternative to virgin materials.
“As pressure on resources grows, the need to innovate and commercialise a varied portfolio of renewable bio based synthetics is more important than ever,” Mather says. “The entry level communication included in the microsite will enable Textile Exchange to level set understanding across brands, retailers and supply chain partners to help expedite a collective understanding and move the agenda forwards.”
The Working Group meets in-person each year at the Preferred Fiber & Materials Round Tables day, held in Washington DC at Textile Exchange’s 2017 Textile Sustainability Conference, as well as having virtual meetings throughout the year.