Canadian Plastics

Genomatica and lululemon collaborate to develop plant-based nylon for apparels

Canadian Plastics   

Materials Research & Development Sustainability

Nylon is the largest volume of synthetic material currently used to make lululemon products.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/eshana_blue

In a company first, Canadian-American multinational athletic apparel retailer lululemon athletica has entered into a a multi-year collaboration with biotechnology maker Genomatica to bring renewably-sourced, bio-based materials into lululemon’s products.

Together, the two companies will create a lower-impact, plant-based nylon to replace conventional nylon, which is the largest volume of synthetic material currently used to make lululemon products.

The collaboration represents lululemon’s first-ever equity investment in a sustainable materials company and Genomatica’s largest partnership within the retail industry.

Genomatica uses biotechnology and fermentation to convert plant-based ingredients into widely used chemical building blocks, like those used to make nylon. These building blocks are converted to pellets and yarns, and the companies will be working closely with lululemon’s fabric supply chain to incorporate this material into future products.


“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 per cent of our products with sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions by 2030, as we move toward a circular ecosystem,” lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald said.

In October 2020, lululemon released its first-ever Impact Agenda, outlining its environmental goals. Other development deals that forward its agenda, lululemon said, include the company’s partnership with Mylo, to use a mycelium-based leather, and LanzaTech, for polyester made using recycled carbon emissions.


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