Biosynthetics Round Table
BIO SYNTHETICS ROUND TABLE
The 2019 Biosynthetics Round Table Summit will take place in Vancouver, BC between 15-18 October (exact date and time TBC) during Textile Exchange’s 2019 Textile Sustainability Conference.
October 15-18, 2019
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2018 BIOSYNTHETICS ROUND TABLE IN MILAN
More than 80 stakeholders with different expertise and backgrounds including suppliers, brands and researchers participated in the multi-stakeholder Biosynthetics Round Table Summit at Textile Exchange’s Textile Sustainability Conference in Milan on October 22, 2018, which was kindly sponsored by Fulgar and Virent. The meeting was hosted by Norrøna’s Brad Boren, Chair of Textile Exchange’s Biosynthetics Working, with support from Sophia Opperskalski of Textile Exchange.
See Full Agenda
The Biosynthetics Round Table started with a presentation of the results of the recent Biosynthetics Stakeholder Consultation, which was conducted by Textile Exchange in 2018 and included responses from over 130 participants, revealing an increasing interest in biosynthetics.
Part 1 of the meeting focused on feedstocks for biosynthetics. Federica Zanetti, Assistant Professor from the University of Bologna presented castor as feedstock for biosynthetics, while Ralph Lerner and Bob Rozmiarek from Virent shared insights into diverse sugars. thinkstep gave an overview of impact assessment and the role of LCAs.
PART 2: FIBER
Next was a Q&A with experts on fiber and materials. Ding Hao from Dupont, Jaimie Bainbridge from Bolt Threads, Ralph Lerner from Virent and Andrea Lorenzetti and Alex Panizzon from Fulgar shared their experiences. Invista shared insights into the challenges related to biosynthetics and shared the experience of their biobased lycra.
During the break, participants had the opportunity to touch and feel the different fiber innovations. This included products made from biobased (or part biobased) feedstocks including Sorona® (bioPTT) from Dupont, EVO® (bio PA) from Fulgar, biopolyester (based on bio PX produced by Virent), manmade spider silk from Bolt Thread and more.
PART 3: WORKING SESSIONS
These input sessions were followed by two working sessions, with Claudia Richardson from Patagonia and Mattias Bodin from H&M as thought starters, sharing their perspectives.
WORKING SESSION #1 – THE NEXT 5-10 YEARS – WHERE DO WE WANT TO BE?
The first working session discussed the question “The next 5-10 years – where do we want to be?”. Participants discussed the importance of impact data to identify “preferred biosynthetics”, the potential use of blends, mass balance to scale uptake, and the importance of policy measures such as carbon taxes.
WORKING SESSION #2 – THE NEXT YEAR – WHERE TO FOR THE Round Table IN 2019?
The second working session covered the question “The next year – where next for the Round Table in 2019?”. The proposals for action included, among others, the definition of “preferred biosynthetics”, the expansion of the aboutbiosynthetics.org portal including case studies, find supplier / clients and material snapshots, the establishment of a living-document as a stepping stone towards a sustainability standard for biosynthetics, and more information on recyclability, biodegradability and impact assessments.
Textile Exchange wants to thank again the sponsors Fulgar and Virent, as well as all participants of the Biosynthetics Round Table, and very much looks forward to continuing these discussions.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2017 BIOSYNTHETICS ROUND TABLE IN MILAN
- The aim of Textile Exchange’s new microsite is to be the go-to resource for reliable, well referenced information on biosynthetic raw materials through to fibers, fabrics and products, and to be easily understandable for a general audience.
- Not all biosynthetics are equal when comparing life cycle assessments. Choice of feedstock and processing routes are of key importance.
- A roadmap of biosynthetics is needed so a strategic approach can be applied to the work required for this to become a more mainstream preferred fibre.
- There are many factors that effect the scale up of biosynthetics including, but not limited to: driving economies of scale across industry; sustainable attributes; performance properties; and integrity. These need to be addressed in order to be able to scale up biosynthetics. For companies, it is important to start seeding bio synthetics as a part of their preferred material portfolios.
- The integrity landscape regarding biosynthetic remains confusing right now – what can be done to demystify it? Do we need standards or certifications? If yes, what should they cover? Biosynthetics differ quite vastly from one another, so it might be difficult to create broad standards.
- It is important to look at the end of life options for biosyntehtics as they vary greatly. Closed-loop and recyclable options are important.
- The group carried out a mapping exercise to prioritize actions needed from the industry to scale biosynthetics between now and 2030. Some of the short-term priorities identified include: investment in innovation, information sharing (such as through Textile Exchange’s new microsite), LCAs, and feedstock/ traceability certification.
OUTCOMES & NEXT STEPS
Textile Exchange’s Biosynthetics microsite (version 1.0) to be launched in Q4 2017.
- Priorities for the Working Group going into 2018 (funding permitting) include:
- Education – further develop products and tools such as webinar series and additional information/resources to be added to the Fiber & Materials webpages and new microsite.
- Development of an online discussion platform (or more fully exploit LinkedIn for group discussions).
- GMO consensus – continue the dialogue on the use of GMOs in biosynthetic and reach a consensus within the Working Group.
Team work and collaboration are key in bringing initiatives like this to their full potential. We are always looking for partners for the 2018 PFM Round Tables, and you can explore the available collaboration opportunities by contacting us.
JOIN OUR 2017 BIO SYNTHETICS ROUND TABLE IN WASHINGTON DC
WHEN: Thursday, October 12, 2017 (following TE’s 2017 Sustainability Conference)
WHERE: The William F. Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland (15 minutes outside of Washington, D.C.)
REGISTRATION: Click here to register
Why a biosynthetics round table?
Textile Exchange’s Biosynthetics Round Table kicked off in 2016 and the inaugural in-person meeting in Hamburg attracted much interest from attendees wanting to learn more about this lesser-known fiber. Biosynthetics is part of Textile Exchange’s work due to its potential to offer a replacement made from renewable rather than fossil fuel based feedstocks. The topic is gaining traction in the industry now, but there are still many questions. Our Round Table (driven by the priorities of its members) attempts to make sense of the opportunities and challenges we face as an industry, including the sustainability of the feedstock production, and innovations in future feeder materials.
The focus of the Biosynthetics Round Table to date has been the creation of a microsite that gathers and synthesizes available information and resources on biosynthetics with the goal of enabling this relatively new alternative to fossil-fuel based synthetics to become better understood and a more sustainable choice.
learn more about biosynthetics
Definition: A biosynthetic material consists of polymers made from renewable resources, either wholly or partly.
In January 2018, Textile Exchange’s Biosynthetics Round Table launched a new microsite, AboutBiosynthetics.org, along with an accompanying “Quick Guide to Biosynthetics“. These resources aim to demystify biosynthetics and provide soundly based information and market intelligence for businesses and interested consumers alike.