To deliver safer, greener chemicals for the apparel industry, Verdant Innovations wants to look 20 years ahead.
In 2022, the company burst on the scene to debut FIBRE-PURE™, its first line of specialty green sustainable chemicals geared toward textiles and nonwovens. Thus far, the line ranges from binding and coating applications used for healthcare gowns, masks and scrubs, to deodorizers and antimicrobial protection for apparel, athleticwear and performance wear.
Instead of simply providing “off the shelf” chemicals using plants, soil and natural energy from the earth’s resources, Verdant aims to add value by customizing chemicals based on client-specific requirements. A subsidiary of chemical innovator Cellulose Solutions, the company has a mission to create chemicals uniquely for individual businesses, helping brands, retailers and manufacturers to deliver products at the highest environmental safety levels.
In a recent fireside chat with Sourcing Journal, Matthew Short, business development manager, Verdant Innovations, said the company conducts a holistic Predictive R&D process based on projections nearly two decades down the road, instead of those required by today’s standards.
According to Short, Verdant actively examines current human carcinogen concerns, already eliminating the colorless liquid 1,4-dioxane from products. But the company also continuously works with an array of chemists and other PhD-level consultants to test new formulas in its own facilities.
“We don’t want to go in and just recommend chemistry without understanding how [a brand’s] entire line works,” said Short. “We can then make more educated opinions on: ‘Where do you want to apply this chemistry? Will it work, or do we want to recommend something else?’”
David Sasso, industry advisor, Verdant Innovations, highlighted that a chief concern among many brands is the impact of greener, safer more sustainable chemicals on the bottom line—both on a manufacturing and retail level.
“We understand that consumers are willing to pay more, but it doesn’t give you an idea of how much more,” Sasso said. “We have to look at true costs from the process, but also the true costs of sourcing in every supply chain. These are costs that must be considered, and I’m hoping we can bring more light and insight to working in this global environment to bring the product to the consumer at the right place at the right value.”
Sasso believes Verdant Innovations can solve that issue “systematically” for brands, but acknowledged that the value comes from beyond just the replacement chemical’s cost.
“[Think about] the product itself—did we move the needle in its performance?” Sasso said. “Are we delivering the product to the consumer at the price and value, and does it sell? That’s what we’re after in helping our customers evaluate the value.”
Although Verdant is dedicated to textiles and nonwovens, its roots were initially in pulp and paper under Cellulose Solutions founder and president Allan Short. With more than 35 years of experience in chemical innovation, and relationships in the field of textiles at North Carolina State University, the elder Short wanted to expand his influence beyond his local community, which he has impacted through numerous philanthropic efforts.
“Creating a sustainable green chemistry line made a lot of sense, because now we’re able to make an impact on a more global scale,” Short said.
Click the image above to learn more about applying Predictive R&D to promote sustainable chemical usage.