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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Nike, NASA, State Department & USAID Seek Innovations To Revolutionize Sustainable Materials

Nike last week partnered with NASA, USAID and the U.S. Department of State to bring together some 150 materials specialists, designers, academics, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and NGOs to catalyze action around one of the world’s biggest challenges — the sustainability of materials and how they are made.

Nike last week partnered with NASA, USAID and the U.S. Department of State to bring together some 150 materials specialists, designers, academics, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and NGOs to catalyze action around one of the world’s biggest challenges — the sustainability of materials and how they are made.

The two-day LAUNCH 2020 Summit highlighted the importance of innovation and collaboration in making breakthroughs in developing sustainable materials that can have a major impact on people and the planet, Nike says.

“Innovation is most powerful when it’s activated by collaboration between unlikely partners, coupled with investment dollars, marketing know-how and determination,“ said Mark Parker, President & CEO at Nike. “Now is the time for big, bold solutions. Incremental change won’t get us where we need to go, fast enough or at a scale that makes a difference.”

The summit also unveiled the LAUNCH 2013 Challenge Statement, an open call for innovation to transform the system of producing fabrics. In August the 10 strongest innovations will be selected and participants will take part in an immersive program to provide access to capital, creativity and capacity. The competition is open to individuals and teams.

Materials have a significant impact on the planet, Nike says. It is estimated that around 150 billion garments were produced around the world in 2010 and by 2015 the global apparel industry is expected to produce more than 400 billion square meters of fabric every year — enough to cover the state of California.

Also speaking at the LAUNCH 2020 Summit was Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the Women’s Marathon in 1984 and Ron Garan, Astronaut and LAUNCH Innovator. They both shared their passion for the environment and their unique view on the need for collaboration to achieve seemingly impossible goals.

Three years ago LAUNCH selected and helped accelerate Ron Garan’s innovation on clean water. Independent of his work with NASA, Garan developed a concept to deliver clean water, energy and sanitation to poor communities, through the combination of sustainable development and carbon credits. As part of the LAUNCH process Garan was exposed to experts with the investment dollars and business acumen to bring the innovation to life. The Carbon for Water project has now successfully distributed one million filters that provide clean water to 4.5 million people in Kenya.

Nike recently joined 32 other multinational companies, including eBay, IKEA, L’Oréal and Limited Brands, in signing a “Climate Declaration” urging federal policymakers to take action on climate change. By taking part in the declaration, the companies asserted that a bold response to the climate challenge is one of the greatest American economic opportunities of the 21st century.

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