The alliance between Walmart and Rubi Labs aims to explore the transformation of captured carbon emissions from manufacturing waste streams into textiles, a move that aligns with Walmart‘s sustainability goals and presents an opportunity for cost-effective, eco-friendly apparel, and other products made from carbon emissions.
It will involve the implementation of Rubi’s patent-pending on-site reactor technology in a series of pilot projects.
These projects will integrate CO2 capture and utilisation technology within the manufacturing infrastructure of Walmart’s sourcing and manufacturing collaborators. The data and insights gathered from these pilots will be used to develop a prototype apparel collection, using Rubi’s fabric derived from carbon emissions.
The collaboration will explore two main pilot projects.
- The first will focus on integrating Rubi’s modular reactor systems into manufacturing facilities within Walmart’s supply chain to capture and convert CO2 emissions.
- The second pilot will involve testing Rubi’s cellulose fibre performance in a prototype garment, with an emphasis on ensuring accessibility for the broader market.
Andrea Albright, executive vice president of sourcing at Walmart, noted the potential of this collaboration to change the apparel supply chain by incorporating technology that transforms carbon emissions into textiles.
Rubi’s approach draws inspiration from natural processes such as how trees absorb CO2 to grow. The company employs biochemical processes powered by enzymes on an industrial scale to convert carbon emissions into cellulose, which, in turn, is used to produce lyocell yarn. This sustainable material can be used in clothing and other textile-based products.
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Walmart has long been committed to sustainability and has actively engaged with suppliers, NGOs, and climate action leaders to drive positive environmental changes in global value chains.
The company has set ambitious renewable energy goals and has already made significant progress in reducing carbon emissions through its Project Gigaton initiative.
Nicole Rycroft, executive director of Canopy, a not-for-profit environmental organisation focused on forest and climate protection, acknowledged the potential of this collaboration to drive today’s “take, make, waste” supply chains and contribute innovative solutions to the global marketplace.
Rubi’s vision extends beyond the fashion industry, as they aim to apply their technology to various manufacturing sectors, creating a positive impact on a broader scale, including buildings, packaging, food, medicine, and advanced materials.
Neeka Mashouf, co-founder and CEO of Rubi Labs added: “Walmart’s ability to mobilise positive impact across its supply chain of diverse US collaborations could be massively impactful in scaling our production and delivering on our commitments. We’re thrilled to collaborate with them.”