The goal of this groundbreaking partnership is to reduce carbon emissions by absorbing them and then using them in the production of textiles and clothing.
Experimenting with new ideas and questioning “what if?” is one of the many things that keeps me interested in working at Walmart.
Consider: what if cheap apparel could be crafted from carbon emissions?
Doesn’t even make sense, does it? To that end, Walmart and Rubi Laboratories have just unveiled a series of pilot projects to investigate the feasibility of capturing carbon emissions from Walmart’s supply chain’s manufacturers and facilities and using them to create a waste-free prototype of a clothing item.
Seeing the Rubi facility’s carbon capture process in action earlier this year on a visit was like seeing a magical creation; the carbon was suddenly appearing out of nowhere. However, the science is the most fascinating part. Trees were the first step. Neeka and Leila Mashouf, the creators of Rubi, were inspired by the way trees “eat” CO2 to produce the cellulose they need for growth, and they devised a means to simulate this natural process in the lab. Like trees, their patented method sequesters carbon dioxide and transforms it into cellulose, which is then used to make something we can all use: clothing. The end results are carbon-negative, resource-neutral textiles that may be repurposed for a variety of purposes.
Innovation is crucial to developing a reliable supply chain and ensuring continuous service. Walmart is the first company to execute both manufacturing and brand pilot agreements with Rubi, and I couldn’t be more pleased about how their technology could revolutionize the garment supply chain.
The manufacturing pilot will test the collection of carbon emissions at some of Walmart’s own facilities, and will evaluate how Rubi’s technology could be incorporated at a wider scale in the Walmart supply chain. The prototype garment made from Rubi fiber will be put through its paces in the brand pilot, with the end result being sample garments. If this line of clothing does well, we may decide to expand it into a full line of merchandise for our stores.
Neeka Mashouf, co-founder and CEO of Rubi Labs, has stated, “At Rubi, our goal is to ensure a thriving future by restoring Earth’s ecological balance with reimagined supply chains.” As we look to scale our manufacturing and fulfill our obligations, Walmart’s capacity to mobilize good impact across its supply chain of various U.S. partners could have a huge impact. We’re very happy to work with them.
When it comes to sustainability, Walmart is committed to doing “more good” rather than “less harm” in all of the places it operates. Our clients are looking for the best value and pricing in the products they buy from us, thus we are also prototyping a clothing line that can be mass produced and widely distributed. We believe that customers will be eager to take part in these pilot projects because they represent the possibility of developing garments that offer value and contribute to a better environment for everyone.
As we move forward on our path to being a regenerative company, Walmart is doing our part to ensure that the sustainable choice is also an accessible one. This necessitates taking on challenging issues and developing novel answers all along our supply chain. In addition to clothing, we think these pilots could have far-reaching effects on fields as diverse as packaging, construction, food production, and even the development of whole new raw materials. The potential is immense, and we can’t wait to see where this path leads us as we strive for a better, more equal future.