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Walmart manufacturing

Why Walmart’s $250 Billion Pledge Will Make US Manufacturing More Sustainable

Walmart manufacturingThe Walmart US Manufacturing Innovation Fund has invested about $3 million in projects that aim to make domestic manufacturing more cost-effective and sustainable, bringing its grants awarded total to $10 million.

The fund, which launched in 2014, is a collaboration between Walmart, the Walmart Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors. It focuses on making it both easier and more competitive to manufacture household goods in the US. It’s also part of the retail giant’s larger commitment to invest $250 billion in American manufacturing by 2023.

An estimated 1 million new US jobs will be created through Walmart’s manufacturing initiative, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

An earlier Innovation Fund investment, for example, went to Cornell University, which developed a textile recycling technology that turns post-consumer textiles into new products and also reduces energy and water consumption in the process.

In its third and final round of grants, announced yesterday, the Innovation Fund has awarded about $3 million to six research and academic institutions.

The grant recipients were selected for their ability to address two key challenges to domestic manufacturing:

  1. Reducing the cost of textile manufacturing, including home textiles and apparel, in the US by addressing obstacles throughout production.
  2. Improving common manufacturing processes with broad application to many types of consumer products.

The 2017 Walmart US Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant winners are:

  • Washington State University to establish an environmentally friendly process to recycle cotton waste by fiber regeneration using a wet spinning technique.
  • North Carolina State University to create a universal and sustainable commercial textile dyeing method that doesn’t use salt or alkali; doesn’t produce effluent; and produces more than 95 percent savings of both energy and water.
  • Clemson University for development of sustainable polyester fibers that achieve a high level of water and oil repellency.
  • Oregon State University to develop a sustainable, cost-effective dyeing and printing of smart fabrics process.
  • Texas Tech University to support research on various aspects of textile manufacturing, dyeing efficiency and specialty finishes.
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell to develop magnetic dyeing technology to address the technical and environmental issues of current dyeing techniques.
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