Patagonia Inc., a leading designer of core outdoor, surf and sport-related apparel, equipment, footwear and accessories, and Yulex Corporation, a clean technology company developing agricultural-based biomaterials
for medical, consumer, industrial and bioenergy products, announced today the introduction of a guayule-based wetsuit, a renewable biorubber that is the first alternative to traditional fossil-based Neoprene.
“When we started to build wetsuits we knew that neoprene, by nature of its production, was the
most environmentally harmful part the product. Our initial approach was to use innovative
materials, like wool, that are highly insulating and allowed us to use as little neoprene as possible.
But we quickly realized that we needed to create a new material that could be a true alternative to
neoprene,” notes Jason McCaffrey, Patagonia’s surf director. “After four years of working
together, Patagonia and Yulex have co-developed a unique material that allows us to make a
wetsuit that is 60% guayule (plant) based. Our goal is to have the formula be 100% plant based,
but we feel that for now this new material is a big enough step forward to let the world know it is
possible to buy something cleaner. This is just the first step; it’s our hope that other brands see
this as interesting and join the effort to innovate and implement alternatives to traditional
neoprene that is used in wetsuits.”
Yulex’s biorubber material is made from guayule, a renewable, non-food crop that requires very
little water, is grown domestically in the US, uses no pesticides, and in comparison to traditional
neoprene, has a very clean manufacturing process.
Initially, the new suits will be available in Japan only. In Spring 2013, surfers will be able to order
custom suits out of Patagonia’s wetsuit facility in Ventura, CA, with a global rollout to follow.
“Yulex commends Patagonia for supporting the advancement of a sustainable, low-carbon future
by embracing agricultural-based, biomaterials to replace petroleum-based synthetics,” said Jeff
Martin, CEO, president and founder of Yulex Corporation. “Patagonia is guiding the action sports
industry to a new level and setting an example for the importance of sustainable practices. Yulex
views this partnership as a major step towards a future where use of our renewable, guayulebased
biomaterials is the industry standard for consumer, medical, industrial and bioenergy
Patagonia, Inc., based in Ventura, California, is a leading designer of core outdoor, surf and
sport-related apparel, equipment, footwear and accessories. With sales last year of $540M, the
company is noted internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and
environmental activism, contributing over $47.5M in cash and in-kind donations to date.
Incorporating environmental responsibility into product development, the company has, since
1996, used only organically grown cotton in its clothing line. Committed to making its products
landfill-free, the company’s entire product line is recyclable thorough its Common Threads
Initiative. The company also advocates corporate transparency through its interactive website,
The Footprint Chronicles, which outlines the environmental and social footprint of individual
products. Patagonia was featured as The Coolest Company on the Planet on Fortune Magazine’s
April 2007 cover.
About Yulex Corporation
Yulex Corporation has developed a portfolio of biomaterials derived from the U.S. grown guayule
plant. The company’s technological innovation is designed to replace traditional tropical or
petroleum based rubber for consumer, industrial and medical markets, with the residual
agricultural materials utilized as a feedstock for bioenergy. Yulex collaborates with customers to
develop and market highly differentiated, premium performance products in an ecologically
responsible, sustainable manner. For more, visit http://www.yulex.com.