The Swiss sports brand has created a supply chain coalition with LanzaTech, Borealis and Technip Energies to transform captured carbon into running shoes.
This week, Swiss sports brand On unveiled
Cloudprime — the first shoe made from carbon emissions. This is a significant
step in On’s journey to move away from petroleum-based resources by creating a
new foam material called
— made from carbon emissions. On is the first company in the footwear industry
to explore carbon emissions as a primary raw material for a shoe’s midsole —
specifically ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam, which could also be used in
other shoe parts and products in the future.
With its bouncy, foam-like
(read: petroleum-based) EVA has become a popular material for footwear,
particularly soles; but a growing number of brands — including
and Timberland — have begun incorporating
plant-based alternatives for increased sustainability. On is the first company
to turn captured carbon into EVA.
“It’s a win-win situation: We are capturing emissions before they pollute our atmosphere and are at the same time moving away from fossil-based materials,” explains Caspar
Coppetti, On’s co-founder and Executive Co-Chairman. “Holding the first-ever shoe made of carbon emissions in my hands is a huge
milestone – not only for On, but for the whole sports industry. Five years ago, this was
barely a dream. Imagine what can happen in the future as we unlock the potential
of alternative carbon sources with further research and in collaboration with
the best partners.”
On’s ambitions are high: The brand envisions a near future where every On product is
fossil free and fully
CleanCloud is the result of five years of dedicated work, thanks to a unique
supply chain partnership with LanzaTech, Borealis and Technip Energies — a
symbiotic approach that will be key to overcoming the challenges of developing
this complex technology at a commercial scale.
Best-in-class examples of purpose in action
Hear more from LanzaTech — one of over 10 featured innovators changing the course of business as we know it — at SB’22 San Diego.
With expertise in synthetic biology, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence and
machine learning coupled with engineering, LanzaTech
has created a platform that converts waste carbon into new everyday products
that would otherwise come from virgin fossil resources. The company has
continued to expand applications of its game-changing carbon-capture and
-transformation technology and partner with major companies to scale its
impacts. In the past year alone, the startup has joined forces with Coty, to
for fragrance production; with lululemon, to develop polyester made from
with Bridgestone Americas — to develop the first dedicated end-of-life
and with Danone, to turn captured carbon directly into monoethylene
a key building block for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin, fibers
and bottles. And in January, LanzaJet — LanzaTech’s sustainable fuels technology
arm — received a $50M capital
from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund to help scale and lower costs
of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.
“Today, we continue our journey to show the world that recycled carbon is a
resource, rather than a
says LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren. “As we increasingly convert pollution into
the products we use in our daily lives, we will reduce the need to extract more
carbon from the ground! The partnership between On, Borealis, Technip and
LanzaTech will change how the world thinks about sourcing carbon — enabling us
to bend the carbon curve, keep our skies
and create a sustainable future for all.”
Technip Energies is a leading engineering and technology company in charge of
dehydrating ethanol into the gas, ethylene — the most important building block
of widely used plastics.
“Technip Energies is proud to be supporting On in this exciting project to make
CleanCloud a reality,” says Bhaskar Patel, Technip’s SVP of Sustainable
Fuels, Chemicals & Circularity. “The application of our Hummingbird
to produce bio-ethylene is one step to a more sustainable future. We look
forward to working with the On team to scale up and help bring CleanCloud™ to
“Borealis is thrilled to be part of this unique value chain collaboration,” says
Lucrèce Foufopoulos, EVP of Polyolefins, Circularity and Innovation &
Technology at Borealis — a leading provider of
advanced, circular and renewable plastic solutions essential in creating
high-performance, easy-to-process EVA foam. “With our creative partners On,
LanzaTech and Technip Energies, we are proud to co-create circularity in carbon
and decouple plastic from its reliance on fossil-based resources. Through
innovation and collaboration, we continue re-inventing essentials for
Here’s how it works: LanzaTech captures carbon monoxide emitted from industrial
sources such as steel mills before being released into the atmosphere. Once
captured, these emissions enter a patented fermentation process. Thanks to
specially selected and naturally occuring bacteria, the carbon-rich gas ferments
naturally and is converted to ethanol in a process similar to that of
conventional alcohol production (e.g., beer brewing). Technip then dehydrates
the ethanol to create ethylene, which is then polymerized by Borealis to become
EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) in a form of solid small plastic pellets — the
versatile and lightweight material that On uses as a performance foam for shoes.
On is also collaborating with circular startup
Novoloop on the CleanCloud
outsole, by utilizing the world’s first chemically upcycled thermoplastic
(TPU) from post-consumer plastic waste. The outsole was put under rigorous lab
and athlete testing, meeting specifications comparable to fossil-derived TPUs
with a significant carbon footprint reduction. For the upper, On is
collaborating with young French startup Fairbrics to
create a polyester-based textile made from carbon emissions.
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