Unilever & Genomatica’s palm oil alternatives, biobased World Cup soccer balls, mistletoe as natural glue, and more: The Digest’s Top 8 Innovations for the week of June 23rd

June 22, 2022 |

#1 Unilever and Genomatica partner for palm oil alternatives

In San Diego, biobased chemicals producer Genomatica and consumer giant Unilever have announced a joint venture aimed at commercializing alternatives for palm oil and fossil fuel ingredients in cleaning and personal care products.

Supported by a $120-million investment by the two companies, the unamed JV will develop an alternative, plant-based ingredient using biotechnology for what the companies estimate is a $625-billion addressable market. For Unilever, one of the world’s biggest soap and detergent manufacturers, this is the largest investment in biotechnology alternatives to palm oil to date.

Under the terms of the agreement, Genomatica will deploy its biotechnology platform and is already starting to scale the process for its advanced technology to produce the ingredients. Initial estimates have shown that companies could reduce the carbon footprint of palm-derived ingredients by up to 50% with this technology-driven, plant-based alternative.

“Biotechnology has the potential to revolutionize the sourcing of our cleansing ingredients and ensure Unilever is a future-fit business—for consumers, shareholders and the planet we all share,” says Unilever’s Chief R&D Officer Richard Slater in a press statement. “This new venture will sit at the intersection of science and sustainability, meaning we can continue to grow our business without relying only on palm oil or fossil fuel derivatives, while also making our supply chains more resilient from having access to ingredient alternatives.”

More on the story, here.

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