服裝和化妝品行業都是廢棄物的重要來源，塑料微粒、穩定劑和紡織品整理劑等化學物質常用于制造布料和護膚產品。初創企業Evolved by Nature致力于用可持續的替代品取代這些有害合成添加劑，香奈兒將投資該公司（金額未披露），獲得了少數股權。
根據Evolved by Nature公司的說法，其標志性產品活性絲（Activated Silk）產自于真實的蠶繭，可以用于生產織物、化妝品和醫療產品。或許有一天，這種環保絲甚至可以用于生產香奈兒475美元一條的圍巾。
Evolved by Nature公司的總部設在波士頓，由生物醫學工程師瑞貝卡·拉庫蒂爾和化學家格雷戈里·阿特曼于2013年創立。他們的產品是液態純絲，由廢棄的蠶繭采用再生技術制成。自從2014年首次申請專利以來，該公司已經獲得了天然絲蛋白的數十種分子組合專利。
Evolved by Nature的投資人包括卡夫集團、杰夫·維尼克和羅伊·P·迪士尼。該公司拒絕透露它籌集的資金總額。
Chanel Inc. is the latest retail giant to make a public nod toward environmentally conscious products, investing in an eco-friendly chemistry company as part of an effort to make luxury items less damaging to the planet.
Both the apparel and cosmetics industries are major sources of waste, and chemicals often used to make fabrics and skincare products, such as microplastics, ingredient stabilizers, and textile finishers. Startups like Evolved by Nature, to which Chanel will pay an undisclosed sum for a minority stake, seek to replace these harsh synthetic additives with sustainable alternatives.
Evolved by Nature’s trademarked Activated Silk is derived from actual silkworm cocoons, which can be used in fabrics, cosmetics, and medical products, according to the company. Someday, the eco-friendly silk might even find its way into one of Chanel’s $475 scarves.
While people can debate whether planet-friendly proclamations by corporations are a substantive shift or window dressing, the fashion, health, and beauty sectors have been making their interest clear. Brands have sought to market themselves as friends of the Earth, and the bigger players are beginning to move that way, too.
As for Chanel, this isn’t the first time the French luxury house has sought to establish its green bona fides.
It made another sustainability investment late last year with Finnish biodegradable plastic packaging alternative Sulapac. The fashion house made earlier moves within the existing silk industry, too: In 2016, the label acquired four high-end French silk companies to shore up its supply chain. And last year, Chanel published a report on how it addresses sustainability issues, a first for the 100-year-old, privately held retailer.
Evolved by Nature, based in Boston, was started by biomedical engineer Rebecca Lacouture and chemist Gregory Altman in 2013. Their product is pure silk in liquid form, a regenerative technology made from discarded silkworm cocoons. The company has patented dozens of molecular combinations of the natural silk protein since filing its first application in 2014.
Existing backers include Kraft Group, Jeff Vinik, and Roy P. Disney. The company declined to say how much total funding it has raised.
Evolved by Nature said it will use the fresh funding to “explore innovative material, mechanical and optical enhancements of different fabrics.” It’s unclear how the technology will be specifically integrated into Chanel’s products, which range from handbags to haute couture. Altman said the Chanel link-up is still in the research-and-development stage.
“For them to believe in us enough to make a financial investment says we’re certainly doing the right thing,” said Altman.