Sustainable, Renewable Feedstocks for Biopolymers

Nature looks at greenhouse gases like atmospheric carbon as a feedstock, a raw material. It’s what trees, plants, and huge structures like coral reefs, are built from. At NatureWorks, we’re doing the same thing—using our best technologies to turn renewable sources of carbon that’s in the atmosphere into a portfolio of performance Ingeo™ biopolymers.

Circular economy models, like the New Plastics Economy outlined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation identify decoupling from fossil fuel feedstocks and non-renewable carbon as an integral step in moving toward a more circular, reusable, and sustainable society.

However, the way we go about this decoupling and converting renewable carbon feedstock into biopolmyers like Ingeo matters, and we take a hard look at this in everything that we do. Currently, the first step in transforming atmospheric carbon into Ingeo involves using agricultural crops to sequester the carbon, “fixing” it as simple plant sugars through the process of photosynthesis. This rightfully brings up questions around the sustainability of our feedstocks including agricultural growing practices and land use.

More about the circular economy

Our Vision for Sustainable Feedstocks

Manufacturing Ingeo does not require a specific agricultural feedstock. That’s why we’re committed to feedstock diversification—to using the most abundant, locally available, and sustainable source of biobased carbon wherever we produce. Equally, we’re committed to critically assessing and assuring the sustainability of each and every feedstock we use. As we expand our manufacturing into new regions, we will be assessing the most important certification methods for those geographies and those agricultural feedstocks.

We are cautious about automatically viewing each next generation of feedstock as inherently more sustainable than the previous one. Whether it’s the first generation “bridging feedstock” we use today, industrially sourced corn, or cutting edge direct greenhouse gas conversion, we believe it’s vital to assure the integrity of the sustainability of every feedstock we use. 

We’ve partnered closely with select NGOs, brands, and certifiers to create a comprehensive palette of tools for certifying the renewable and sustainable attributes of the current Ingeo feedstocks.