On, a Swiss brand of performance sports, has unveiled a new sustainable initiative called ‘CleanCloud’. It will use carbon emissions for foam production in its running shoes. This is as On seeks to get away from petroleum-based resources.

On will be using carbon waste to make running shoes. This is possible by working with LanzaTech (biochemicals and process) and Borealis (polymer innovation). The goal is to use carbon emission to create a shoe’s bottom unit, specifically EVA foam.

The four-year-old sportswear brand is known for its innovative approach in footwear and has been working on CleanCloud for the past four years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company claims it has been able to overcome the difficulties of connecting these technologies on a commercial scale through a collaborative approach with LanzaTech, Borealis and others.

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LanzaTech technology is used to capture carbon monoxide that has been released from industrial sources such as steel mills and landfills. These emissions are then subject to a patent fermentation process. The carbon-rich gas is naturally fermented by specially selected bacteria and converted to liquid alcohol by the bacteria. This natural fermentation process is very similar to conventional alcohol production, says On.

The ethanol is then dehydrated in order to make ethylene. EVA is then polymerized by Borealis to be EVA (a copolymer ethylene-vinyl alcohol acetate). This is the lightweight and versatile material On uses to make a shoe performance foam.

On teams up with Borealis and LanzaTech to create the sustainable initiative “CleanCloud”

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Caspar Coppetti is co-founder of On and executive cochairman. He stated in a statement that it was a win-win situation: “We are capturing emissions before polluting our atmosphere, and we are moving away fossil-based materials.”

“Innovation is the core of our brand. After four years of intensive research, we are proud to announce our supply chain alliance with our world-class partners LanzaTech & Borealis.”

On is the first footwear company to investigate carbon emissions as a primary material for a shoe’s bottom unit. Its goal is to swap all EVA bottom units with CleanCloud. This includes the entire Cloud range, The Roger franchise collection and part of its active lifestyle selection.

The Swiss brand added that it plans to apply the process to other products and parts of its shoes in the future.

Jennifer Holmgren is the chief executive of LanzaTech. She stated that “We are showing people what’s possible when we rethink the way we source, use, and dispose carbon.” We can convert pollution into products and see how recycled carbon will eventually be used in every aspect of our lives. We are thrilled to embark on this journey together with On and Borealis in order to reduce carbon emissions, preserve our skies, and ensure a sustainable future.

Lucrece Foufopoulos is executive vice president of polyolefins innovation and circular economy solutions at Borealis. We are proud to work with Lanzatech and On, our creative partners, and create circularity in carbon. This will help plastic reduce its dependence on fossil-feedstock. We continue to invent for more sustainable living through innovation and collaboration.”

After its successful public listing at New York Stock Exchange in mid-September when it raised 746 millions US dollars, this is the Swiss brand’s first major announcement. It adds to its sustainability initiatives by launching the Cyclon, a fully recyclable running shoe made of bio-based materials.

On was founded by Olivier Bernhard, a former World Champion and his friends and fellow amateur runners David Allemann & Caspar Coppetti. Its lightweight, cushioned running shoes have made it a major player in the market for athletic footwear. The brand’s footwear is available in over 60 countries across Europe, North America and South America.

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