Innovative Materials and Systems
PANGAIA was born with a vision of innovation and science. Our team of scientists and partner laboratories around the world are researching breakthrough Innovative Materials and Regenerative & Circular Systems that empower our Earth Positive ambition.
Diversifying material options by introducing new and lower impact alternatives to the textile industry is crucial to limiting global warming and protecting biodiversity.
Exploring new systems such as regenerative agriculture and circular business models are also new frontiers that we are beginning to explore.
Informed by our 7 impact pillars, we will be driving responsible innovation that has a positive impact on people and planet across 5 key research pillars.
From design to production, we endeavor to source raw materials responsibly and to ensure our products have a lower impact than those conventionally available today. We currently have 2 ways of assessing materials before we determine if they are the right fit for our supply chain and values:
Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs):
Our LCAs provide insight into the environmental impact of our product’s production cycle, from raw materials to manufacturing and distribution. In partnership with Green Story, we work with our suppliers and fellow innovators to measure, interpret and then reduce the environmental footprint of our products.
Our LCAs measure cradle-to-gate impacts across 13 impact metrics which include global warming potential, water and energy consumption, human toxicity levels, freshwater ecotoxicity, and ozone layer depletion, to name a few. The analysis of each metric spans upstream fiber, yarn, fabric, dyeing, textile finishing, and garment assembly processes.
Each metric is important, and over time, we are building out a data framework capable of drawing meaningful insights across all measurements. For now, we have chosen to prioritize our attention on Blue Water Consumption, Global Warming Potential and Primary Energy Demand.
Preferred Material List (PML)
This tool was introduced in 2021 with the purpose of evaluating materials across a variety of areas. We consider as broad a scope as we possibly can when evaluating materials and plotting them against our PML. These include end-of-life pathways, visibility of the supply chain and raw material inputs, LCA results, certifications, chemical and water intensity, recycled and diverted waste streams, geographical provenance, end-use of the material, and performance against conventional alternatives.
The points below explains our classification of categorisation:
These are materials that encompass the most progressive standards in their category, often bringing benefits to more than one sustainability issue at once. They are at the forefront of innovative systems, which makes them special, rare, and more challenging to access today. We’re on a mission to scale their positive impact.
These materials offer commercially accessible solutions to our greatest impact concerns. They are often the best solutions available today and act as important stepping stones toward their future Champion replacements.
Middle of the Pack
These materials meet reasonable baseline requirements when it comes to impact considerations and are frequently readily available in today’s textile industry, which make them a dominant category in our portfolio today.
Laggards & Drop Outs
Laggards are those materials that we only ever use if they are critical to a functional purpose or if no better alternatives exist today. We see them as short-term compromises while we look or invent better alternatives.Drop Outs are materials we will never consider. Their harmful impacts far outweigh any reasons to use them.
As well as exploring and evaluating new innovative materials and processes, we acknowledge the need to develop new systems to achieve our climate goals and create an Earth-positive future. Two examples central to that idea are regenerative agricultural systems and circular systems.
Regenerative Agricultural Systems
Regenerative agriculture encompasses holistic practices that create net beneficial impacts on ecosystem services. These activities must provide net beneficial economic and social impacts for farmers and local communities to ensure sustainability over the long term.
What regenerative outcomes we want to achieve
Livelihoods - Optimum economic yield, poverty reduction, contribution to SDG 12 - Responsible Production and Consumption & SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
Community empowerment - Farmers are knowledgeable on ecosystem services, contribution to SDG 13 - Climate Action
Soil health - Net increase in soil organic matter
Climate - Net increase in social organic matter, GHG emission reduction at farm level, net zero carbon trajectory.
Water - Net reduction in water usage, water runoff management, contribution to SDG 9 - Industry Innovation & Infrastructure.
Biodiversity - Increase in proportion of farmland that supports biodiversity, contribution to SDG 15 - Life On Land & SDG 14 - Life Below Water
The 6 principles of our Regenerative programs
Current linear business models are resource intensive - meaning they take resources away from the planet without any net benefit or return. We need to shift our business models to reduce environmental harm by decoupling growth from resource consumption and pollution. By employing circular models, we want to minimize resource consumption, eliminate waste and extend the life of our products.
We are shifting to a system where we:
There are several paths we are exploring and our approach to circularity is currently focused on:
Read more about our thinking relating to material classification, evaluation and innovation in our: