With CleanCloud™, we make carbon emissions the starting point for the creation of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam – a material we can engineer into high-performance cushioning for running shoes. There’s also the potential to use it in other parts of the shoe, and other products, in the future.
“It’s a win-win situation: we are capturing emissions before they pollute our atmosphere and are at the same time moving away from fossil-based materials,” explains Caspar Coppetti, Co-Founder and Executive Co-Chairman of On.
“Innovation is at the heart of our brand, and after four years of intense research, we are very proud to announce this supply chain coalition with our world-class partners LanzaTech and Borealis.”
A team approach
At On, we're convinced that innovation is pivotal to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. CleanCloud™ is the result of four years of dedicated work, which began with finding the best possible partners. With a collaborative approach, we have been able to overcome the challenges of connecting multiple innovative technologies at commercial scale.
LanzaTech uses a combination of cutting-edge genetic engineering, state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, and innovations in mechanical and chemical engineering to manufacture chemicals using a process that soaks up carbon rather than emitting it.
“We are showing the world what is possible when we rethink how we source, use and dispose of carbon,” explains Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “By converting pollution to products, we can see that someday everything in our daily lives will come from recycled carbon. We are excited to be on this journey with On and Borealis to bend the carbon curve, keep our skies blue, and create a sustainable future for all.”
Borealis is a leading provider of advanced, circular and renewable plastic solutions and essential in creating high-performance, easy-to-process EVA foam for CleanCloud™. This collaboration allows Borealis to further advance its circular journey, in carbon and in plastic.
“Borealis is thrilled to be part of the unique, first-of-its-kind CleanCloud™ initiative”, says Lucrèce Foufopoulos, Borealis Executive Vice President Polyolefins, Innovation & Circular Economy Solutions. “With our creative partners On and Lanzatech, we are proud to co-create circularity in carbon, and decouple plastic from its reliance on fossil-fuels. Through innovation and collaboration, we continue re-inventing for more sustainable living.”
How we create CleanCloud™
The first step in the CleanCloud™ process is intercepting carbon emissions before they escape into the atmosphere. This is where our partners at LanzaTech come in, with technology that captures carbon monoxide emitted from industrial sources like steel mills or landfill sites.
Once captured, these emissions enter a patented fermentation process. Here, thanks to specially selected bacteria, the carbon dioxide gas ferments and becomes liquid ethanol. This is a natural fermentation process and follows similar steps to those you’d find in a traditional brewery.
The ethanol is then dehydrated (to become ethylene) before being polymerized by our partners at Borealis to become EVA – the versatile and lightweight material that we can start working with to create a performance foam for shoes: CleanCloud™.
Sustainability = Performance
At On, we believe sustainability and performance go hand-in-hand. And that innovation and technology can be the key drivers of lowering our impact on the planet.
CleanCloud™ is the next big step on our journey towards decoupling On’s growth from our carbon emissions. It follows the introduction of Cyclon, which offers fully recyclable performance running products via a subscription-only service. A Cyclon shoe produces 50% less CO2 than an average On shoe and 90% less waste in total.
The overall goal for CleanCloud™ is to exchange all bottom units from On shoes currently made from EVA with this new material. This would include the whole Cloud range and THE ROGER collection, as well as part of our active lifestyle assortment.
With these first-of-a-kind innovations, On is setting the pace for developing a circular economy in sportswear. Want to learn more about On’s sustainability journey? Check out our Impact Progress Report.