Image credit:
Messe München GmbH
Image credit:
Messe München GmbH

Material innovations - How bio-based materials & packaging can minimize the CO2 backpack

We need your consent to enable the rating function!

This feature is only available when corresponding consent is given. Please read the details and accept the service to enable rating function.


Leather from fungi, cellulose from bacteria - there is a lot going on in the development of sustainable materials. It makes sense that these are a more than urgent necessity in times of climate change. Especially for the outdoor industry, whose makers and customers want to respect and protect nature.

The whole range of innovative materials

Visitors to OutDoor were able to discover the latest material developments in the Material Lab. The materials developed by Studio Nima founder Leonhard Nima showcased the entire range of innovative, bio-based materials from material inventors from all over the world.

Leonhard Nima is considered a visionary sustainability pioneer who, as the founder of Studio Nima, is developing environmentally friendly materials with the aim of revolutionizing the textile industry.

Leonhard Nima inspires visitors during the Material Lab Guided Tour
Image credit:
Messe München GmbH

Fabrics made from waste, algae, cores and shells

Leonhard Nima presented more than 20 recyclable materials, including rubber alternatives made from walnut shells or olive pits (Kuori Materials), leather alternatives made from hemp (Revoltech) or yarn made with mud (Spinnova).

Nima's Material Lab turns all the showcase materials into an infotainment experience by vividly illustrating the development steps of hemp leather and co.

"Presenting innovative materials in an inspiring way"

"In our Material Lab, we highlight the entire life cycle of these new materials. We show how the raw components are developed in various stages and finally refined into the final product," Leonhard Nima explains his concept in an interview with "In this way, we want to ensure that all these materials are presented in a tangible and inspiring way."

At the panel talk "Inspired by nature: circular material innovations for a sustainable transformation", also at OutDoor, Leonhard Nima gave further insights and outlooks on the latest developments in innovative materials that have what it takes to become a transformation booster.

Visitors to OutDoor are inspired by the innovations in the Material Lab
Image credit:
Messe München GmbH

Leather alternative made from hemp

Together with Materialscout founder Efrat Friedland and Revoltech co-founder Lucas Fuhrmann, Nima provides insights into the progress that can be made with the materials of hope. For example, a leather substitute product from Revoltech, which is made from hemp, requires only 0.3 percent of the CO2 emissions generated by conventional leather production.

In recent years, the outdoor industry has increasingly focused on alternative fabrics and materials in order to reduce the ecological footprint of its products. Manufacturers are experimenting with all kinds of recycled, biodegradable and renewable raw materials to replace polyester and nylon.

The latest materials could be experienced up close in the Material Lab
Image credit:
Messe München GmbH

The market will continue to grow

But what is the current market situation and future prospects really like? A study by Grand View Research has determined that the market for sustainable textiles will grow by around 9.5 percent annually until 2027.

"Because consumers are placing more and more value on environmentally friendly and ethically responsible products, this is putting pressure on the industry to develop alternatives to conventional materials," explains Susanne Müller, Professor of Textile and Clothing Technology at Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences.

Why the proportion of sustainable materials is guaranteed to grow

Alternative materials currently only make up a relatively small part of the market - 10 to 15 percent. Purely biodegradable materials are therefore still in their infancy. At the same time, however, the prospects are promising, as stricter regulations and growing consumer awareness are driving development forward.

Even outdoor top dogs such as Patagonia and The North Face are increasingly focusing on sustainable innovations. Patagonia, for example, has committed to sourcing 100% of its materials from recycled, renewable or responsibly sourced sources by next year.

Dr. Susanne Müller's forecast is: "Technologies for the development and production of alternative materials are developing rapidly, and with increasing pressure from consumers and legislators, the proportion of sustainable materials in the outdoor industry will certainly grow.

Topics in this article