The Future Is Now: Pioneering the Sustainable Materials Revolution


This post is by Collab Fund from Collab Fund


Join us as we explore the frontiers of material science in our new series “From The Lab.” This is a joint post between the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Collaborative Fund as part of a research alliance. Our alliance aims to bridge the gap between laboratory know-how and industrial scale application of new technologies. Graphic featuring the name of the series From the lab and highlighting the partnership with the Wyss Institute. As we stand at the crossroads of ecological crisis and tech innovation, the call to redefine our material advantage grows louder. Our planet’s heartbeat races with the demand for more – more energy, more products, more consumption. Global resource use has skyrocketed, tripling since 1970 without a significant increase in material productivity. In the face of dwindling natural resources and a polluted planet, we must revolutionize how we extract, manufacture, and dispose of materials.

Global Material Productivity is at an All-Time Low

When measuring global progress in terms of resource productivity – material, energy, CO2 emissions, and labor – material productivity ($US of GDP per kg of material use) has shown the slowest growth (and even slight decline!) over the last decade (Figure 1). A chart showing global resource and labor productivity from 1970–2017. This means that as the world’s population and needs have increased, not only has our ability to extract and use materials failed to meet these demands, but we have also been producing greenhouse gasses (GHGs) in unprecedented amounts. At our current rate of GHG emissions, we are on track to see hotter temperatures, more severe weather, a rising ocean, and decreased biodiversity. These changes to our (Read more…)