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Nike Joins NASA and USAID to Develop Sustainable Fabrics


NikeNASAU.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. State Department have launched a challenge to create new, sustainable materials. It's an effort to bring collective genius, unprecedented networks and new resources to overcome some of humanity's toughest sustainability challenges, they say. "LAUNCH System Challenge 2013 seeks innovations that will transform the system of fabrics to one that advances equitable global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet's resources," the group says.

Specifically, they are looking for:

  • Fabric materials that have positive social and environmental impact, such as multi-purpose synthetic and bio-synthetic materials; smart and/or self-healing materials; fabrics that efficiently and effectively enable recycling; and applications that eliminate toxins in fabrics.
  • Processes for manufacturing fabrics that use low or positive environmental impact approaches, with a bias toward inclusive business models that positively develop human capital, respect rights and deliver shared value:

  • Solutions that increase energy, water and raw material efficiency in the manufacturing process.
  • Manufacturing processes and technologies that enable maximum conversion of materials and minimum consumption of natural resources.
  • Solutions that put workers at the heart of the innovation process.
  • Zero waste or closed-loop systems that eliminate waste and create equitable, empowered workforces.
  • Scalable innovative business models that are sustainable and equitable. 
  • Manufacturing processes that reuse waste.
  • Programs that support local micro, small and medium enterprise inclusion across the system of fabrics.
  • Information and data exchanges that build entrepreneurial capacity and worker inclusion, enabling greater participation in value chains.
  • Data generation and capture technologies and mechanisms to increase transparency across the value chain.

Launch System Challenge was started in 2010 to find solutions to difficult sustainability challenges of various kinds and so far have focused on water, energy efficiency and beyond waste. Check it out!

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