Walmart, the world’s largest omnichannel retailer, has signed manufacturing and brand pilot agreements with Rubi Laboratories to leverage the California-based start-up's carbon capture and conversion technology to disrupt supply chains and deliver affordable apparel from carbon emissions.
The initial manufacturing pilot will explore how Rubi’s modular reactor systems could integrate on-site to CO2-producing facilities at manufacturers in the Walmart supply chain to capture and convert CO2.
The output will then be used to produce a prototype apparel collection using Rubi’s fabric made from carbon emissions. Walmart will test Rubi’s cellulose fibre performance by designing and developing a sample apparel collection that has a focus on accessibility to the masses.
Inspired by how trees use CO2 to grow, Rubi uses biochemical processes powered by enzymes at an industrial scale to “eat” carbon emissions and make carbon-negative, resource-neutral textiles. Its patent-pending, cell-free biocatalysis process captures and converts CO2 from the waste streams of manufacturing facilities into cellulose. The converted cellulose is then used to create lyocell yarn, which can be used for clothing and materials.
Walmart explores carbon-capturing clothing technology with Rubi
Andrea Albright, executive vice president of Sourcing at Walmart, said in a statement: “Walmart’s collaboration with Rubi could reimagine the apparel supply chain by leveraging technology to create textiles from carbon emissions. This technology could play an important role in our journey towards zero waste and zero emissions.
“We see the opportunity to use our scale and reach to have a positive impact wherever we operate, and we’re committed to accelerate this impact through our products, services, and business practices. Walmart’s joint effort with Rubi underscores this commitment.”
Neeka Mashouf, co-founder and chief executive of Rubi Laboratories, added: “At Rubi, our goal is to ensure a thriving future by restoring Earth’s ecological balance with reimagined supply chains.
“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.”
The collaboration with Walmart comes just four months after Rubi announced an additional 8.7 million US dollars in Series Seed funding and its initial strategic partnerships with global fashion brands H&M, Reformation, Ganni, and Nuuly.