How Sorona Producer CovationBio Aims to Be Even More Sustainable

CovationBio has released its first sustainability report to reinforce its commitment to further sustainability efforts in four key areas outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), less than a year after launching as an independent biomaterials company.

Those four areas include decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), responsible production and consumption (SDG 12), climate action (SDG 13), and commitment to life on land (SDG 15). The report by the Delaware company is a high-level assessment of its performance in these areas, and lays the groundwork for a plan of action that supports the company’s mission to make high-performance biobased materials like Sorona, a partially bio-based polymer, and Susterra, a 100 percent plant-based propanediol, accessible to all. Both materials are used in different clothing applications, Sorona in athleisure and athletic wear, swimwear, outerwear, suiting and faux fur for such brands as Stella McCartney, Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer, and Susterra in outdoor apparel and footwear. Names of companies using Susterra are confidential.

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CovationBio sustainability leader Lauren Johnson said integrating the company’s business and sustainability strategies was a natural. The company, she noted, is not a new player in the biomaterials arena but the team’s fervor has been renewed.

“Although CovationBio is a new name in the world, our team, our people, our products have been in the business of more sustainable materials for almost 20 years,” she said. “Our products are designed to be biodegradable, sustainable, and scalable.”

CovationBio has reported making considerable progress in the seven months since its founding, according to areas covered in the report. In the category of decent work and economic growth, it reported an excellent safety record in the first few months. CovationBio outlined only minor injuries in the workplace and said a committee has been named to determine the root cause of these in order to eliminate them.

As a responsible energy consumer and producer of biomaterials (SDG 12), CovationBio is planning to up the proportion of renewable electricity it uses to power its manufacturing locations which now rely on fossil fuels. At the end of 2022, it sourced all of its electricity from the grid, with local mixes ranging from 6.5 percent and 13.7 percent renewables.

In climate action (SDG 13), CovationBio is creating a plan to reduce direct emissions from its sites and lessen its carbon footprint. It measured a total of 94,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) from its own manufacturing locations and the electricity it purchases. It is already planning to investigate low to zero GHG options for electrical power and steam to reduce GHG, and it is committed to working with organizations like the Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI) to support reduction of reliance on fossil fuels.

In its commitment to life on land initiative (SDG 15), CovationBio initiated a partnership last year with Truterra, the farmer-led organization whose goal it is to improve stewardship of U.S. agricultural land.  CovationBio sources from 49,902 acres of land enrolled in Truterra, on which it cultivates all the corn feedstock used to make Sorona polymer and Zemea and Susterra propanediols. A sustainable agriculture business of Land O’Lakes and program delivery partner, Truterra engages farmers who work at improving soil health, increasing crop yields, decreasing fertilizer use and employing a range of regenerative agricultural methods. Last year it joined a partnership with Primient Covation, formerly DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts, which it acquired June 1 and renamed.

Founded in 2022 in Newark, Del., CovationBio builds on its Dupont legacy of groundbreaking scientific innovation and continues to deliver novel solutions at scale across multiple industries, including apparel, carpeting, cosmetics, food and packaging.

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