Symbiotic manufacturing could breathe fresh air into supply chains

In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Walmart is collaborating with Rubi to pilot innovative technologies to reimagine supply chains 

Rubi Labs (Rubi) is creating a new way of manufacturing that exists in harmony with the planet. It is ensuring the planetary future by reimagining supply chains in a way that is symbiotic with the planet. In an arguably unlikely partnership, the company is working with Walmart, the world’s leading omnichannel retailer. 

Together, Walmart and Rubi will explore the integration of Rubi’s innovative, patent-pending carbon capture technology. It will test the symbiotic manufacturing process that converts captured carbon emissions from waste streams into textiles. Specifically, the partnership will consider how Rubi’s on-site reactor technology can be integrated with Walmart’s sourcing and manufacturing infrastructure.  

Andrea Albright, Walmart’s Executive Vice President of Sourcing, said: “Walmart’s collaboration with Rubi could reimagine the apparel supply chain. By leveraging technology to create textiles from carbon emissions, this technology could play an important role in our journey towards zero waste.” 

The output from the tests will be leveraged to produce a prototype apparel collection using fabric made from carbon emissions. Eventually, the project could disrupt supply chains, delivering affordable apparel made from carbon emissions to Walmart customers. 

This collaboration comes just four months after Rubi announced an additional $8.7 million in Series Seed funding. The California start-up has already secured initial strategic partnerships with global fashion brands including H&M, Patagonia, and GANNI. 

The environmental impact of symbiotic manufacturing  

Inspired by how trees use CO2 to grow, Rubi uses biochemical processes powered by industrial-scale enzymes to “eat” carbon emissions. This leads to producing carbon-negative, resource-neutral textiles. Rubi’s biocatalysis process converts CO2 from manufacturing waste streams into cellulose, which then creates lyocell yarn. 

“Our goal is to ensure a thriving future by restoring Earth’s ecological balance with reimagined supply chains,” said Neeka Mashouf, Co-founder and CEO of Rubi. “Walmart’s ability to mobilize positive impact across its supply chain of US collaborations could be massively impactful in scaling our production.” 

Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Canopy, a not-for-profit environmental organization, recently shared her thoughts online. “The impact of Rubi’s technologies, combined with the market pull of global brands like Walmart, has the potential to accelerate the needed transformation of today’s ‘take, make, waste’ supply chains.”  

Finally, while Rubi is starting with textiles for the fashion industry, its symbiotic manufacturing process can be applied to all areas of manufacturing. This includes buildings, packaging, food, and medicines, which could completely reinvest planet-positive global supply chains across the entire industry.