Reinventing the material world, powered by plants
We’re disrupting the linear economy with materials that start natural, and stay natural, without compromise.
At the core of our work is this truth: More new plant matter grows in an average day on earth than the sum total of all the petroleum-derived materials man-kind produces in a year. Plant matter is the only material that can scale to replace plastic. Nature produces 100 gigatons of cellulose each year.
Unlike fossil fuels, which are a scarce and finite resource, plants are both abundant and renewable. Plants are inexhaustible in their abundance on Earth and unrivaled in their ability to meet the needs of the world’s population. Leveraging the strength and abundance of plants will provide the world with a sustainable and circular material supply chain that makes use of this renewable resource.
Alternative, durable fabrics can be grown from soybeans – and someday even dandelions. Both can be grown and harvested sustainably across America (and other regions across the world). This also increases the profitability of farms as we find new higher-value uses for their crops.
We know that agricultural practices today are far from perfect. While we acknowledge this challenge, scalable, highly-productive, and regenerative agricultural operations have been proven. The shortcomings of today’s systems should not blind us from realizing the unrivaled potential of soil systems to capture atmospheric carbon. Enhancing soil systems is very likely the most powerful tool available to humanity in our fight against climate change.
Our Plants, Not Plastic® approach, when combined with regeneratively sourced ingredients, catalyzes critically important shifts in land stewardship, labor conditions, and industry’s role in the climate crisis.
Regenerative agriculture is an umbrella term for multiple agricultural practices that center the long-term well-being of farmers, land, water, soil, and the farm ecosystem. Many of these practices come from indigenous techniques and are regionally specific. Regenerative practices restore nature’s capacity for self-renewal while increasing on-farm productivity. Some desired outcomes from these practices are increased soil water-holding capacity and carbon stocks, increased biodiversity, and increased resilience to extreme weather and market fluctuations.
In practicing regenerative agriculture, there is a shift in values: from a farm as a medium to optimize yields from the highest value crop to viewing a farm as an ecosystem with diverse, mutually beneficial interactions between plant, animal, fungal, microbial, and human life.
Learn more about NFW's efforts to support the shift to regenerative agriculture on our blog.
At NFW we mix, mold, and shape plants and other abundant natural ingredients (e.g., clay) directly into high performance materials like MIRUM and CLARUS. We are scaling disruptive, highly efficient manufacturing that circumvents the vast and invasive petrochemical refinery system, thus significantly reducing carbon emissions that are inherent to plastic-based materials.
At the core of the current global material crisis: crude oil–derived plastics that cannot ever be truly circular or low carbon. Our reliance on fossil fuels to make textiles, foams, and pleathers needs to change if we are to lower global carbon emissions. Many “new” alternative materials, heralded as the answer to our material crisis, are hiding the use of high footprint plastics, such as polyurethane (PU) and bio-polyurethane (bio-PU) that come from and/or require petrochemical refinery technologies.
Today, impact assessment tools such as Higg MSI willfully exclude end of life impacts while keeping key data hidden as trade secrets. We believe this is a colossal mistake that makes it impossible to honestly approach the task of holistically reducing carbon emissions and overall impact. Because the underlying assumptions are scientifically inconsistent and/or incomplete/wrong (e.g., end of life matters), the process is flawed from the start. There is increasing evidence that the greenhouse gas emissions of the petrochemical extraction and processing system are vastly underestimated in the databases that make up LCAs. Methane emissions from fossil resource extraction and water use associated with fracking are good examples of impacts that presently are underrepresented in published LCAs. NFW is working with industry leaders on quantifiable metrics on issues ranging from biodiversity, inequality, pollution (e.g., elimination of toxic microplastic pollution), accessibility, and carbon emissions, just to name a few.
By harnessing the inherent circularity of nature, NFW is enabling humanity’s transition from being petroleum-dependent to being plant-powered. Our material solutions are truly sustainable and inherently free from plastic.
True sustainability requires us to meet civilization where it’s at. Any solution to combat climate destabilization or to counter the plastics calamity must be able to scale to meet the needs of our growing population. We envision a future material-economy fueled entirely by natural materials, not crude oil. Furthermore, we envision that this future does not ask consumers and brands to make tradeoffs between costs, aesthetics, and sustainability.
When we recycle natural textiles through CLARUS® technology, we can clothe more people with the same amount of arable acreage. When MIRUM® is more attractive than a polyurethane-coated-fabric, we are displacing a finite petrochemical-based material that sheds microfiber pollutants with an alternative that’s harvested from rubber trees. Our feedstocks and raw materials can be cultivated sustainably across the globe.
NFW’s beautiful and practical nutrient-based materials are highly scalable, low-carbon solutions that are transforming industries.
100% NATURAL INPUTS
MIRUM: At last, a climate-friendly, plastic-free option
MIRUM® is a categorically new, plant-based material that is perfect for footwear, fashion, automotive, and accessories. MIRUM®’s miraculous customizability means it can look like leather or carbon fiber — you decide. MIRUM is a high-performance solution for designers and brands looking to shrink their footprint and expand their creative palettes. At the end of its life, MIRUM® can be recycled into new MIRUM® or ground up and returned to the earth: At last, a climate-friendly, plastic-free option.
CLARUS: High-performance meets sustainability
NFW’s technology imbues 100 percent natural yarns with previously-unachievable performance. Quick-drying, moisture-wicking, warp-knit compatible: CLARUS® makes it possible naturally. The CLARUS® platform works with both recycled and virgin fibers, closing critical gaps in the circular economy. CLARUS® runs on closed-loop green chemistry that enables new efficiencies while delivering unequaled performance. It’s a waste-not-want-not kind of breakthrough.