The Material Innovation Initiative is advancing the next-gen materials revolution by connecting science and big ideas. We are a think tank focused on research, knowledge-sharing, and fostering connections to fast-track the development of environmentally preferable and animal-free materials. We work to cultivate a global market for next-gen materials across the fashion, automotive, and home goods industries.
We envision a world where the materials we interact with every day, from our shoes to our car seats, are produced in a way that allows the planet, animals, and future generations to thrive.
Our mission is to accelerate the availability of high-quality, high-performance, animal-free, and environmentally preferred materials with a focus on replacing silk, wool, down, fur, and leather and their synthetic alternatives.
Why does OUr Work Matter?
To ensure a thriving planet for all species and to protect against the existential risk of climate change, it’s critical that the materials industry moves away from unsustainable materials. MII was founded in 2019 on the premise that a market-driven shift toward animal-free and more sustainable materials is urgently needed. We believe that consumers do not buy materials because they come from animals or petrochemicals; they buy them based on their performance, aesthetic, price, and availability. If the market provides consumers with products that meet these needs, plus have the added benefits of being more sustainable and animal-free, consumers will purchase these products. Until we create sustainable and humane “next-gen” materials that outperform and replace current animal-based and unsustainable materials at sufficient scale, the earth will continue to be exploited with tremendous ethical and environmental consequences.
Learn more about the impact of the materials industry on people, animals, and the planet
Next-Gen Materials that are high-performing, animal-free and more sustainable
MII is dedicated to advancing sustainable, animal-free next-gen materials to replace incumbent materials like leather, wool, silk, down, fur, and exotic skins. We also seek to replace current-gen materials, which are primarily sourced from petrochemicals, and to drive fiber and material innovation that improves the circularity of other materials.
Next-gen materials represent a multi-billion dollar market opportunity; reduce or eliminate harm to people, animals, and the planet; and meet the needs of both consumers and brands.
These materials can be derived from sustainably sourced plants, algae, fungi (especially mycelium, a root-like structure of many fungal species), microbes, cultured animal cells, recycled plastic, textile feedstock, and other sustainable sources. Next-gen materials use a variety of biomimicry approaches to replicate the positive aesthetic and performance properties of incumbent and current-gen materials, while eliminating their negative externalities.
What Sets us Apart?
Conducting world-class research, knowledge-sharing, and facilitating connections
By conducting world-class research, sharing knowledge, and facilitating connections, we are committed to being a trusted knowledge partner for material companies, scientists, brands, investors, entrepreneurs, and others interested in enabling the development of a global market for sustainable materials
We focus our work through three core programs
- Science & Technology —We provide critical open-access scientific research and guidance for industry partners, stimulate new startups to fill white space opportunities identified by us, foster a network of researchers, and develop best practices for environmental impact analysis.
- Innovation —We analyze the state of the next-gen materials industry, disseminate research data and insights to industry stakeholders, and facilitate connections amongst startups and investors to accelerate the growth of the next-gen materials industry.
- Brand partnerships —We help brands invest in, source from, and partner with next-gen materials companies, offer positioning advice and marketing support, and make introductions to next-gen material companies.
Who We are
- A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
- Non-partisan and independent
- Conscious consumers
- Knowledge partners
- Nerds, data-lovers
- Critical thinkers
- Straight-talkers (we won’t just tell you what you want to hear)
Who We Aren’t
- An incubator for startups
- An academic or scientific institution
- A fashion, automotive, or home goods company
- A material innovation lab
- A material manufacturer
What We Do
- Conduct Research
To identify and assess innovative next-gen materials and technologies
- Share Knowledge
To spur investments and partnerships and scale next-gen material innovations
- Drive Connections
With brands, material companies, scientists, and entrepreneurs to create a dynamic network of leaders in the next-gen materials industry