Read in 3 mins

Garments capturing CO2 from the air and releasing it as nutrition for plants – the Carbon Looper is now live at Fotografiska Stockholm

Stockholm, 23 May, 2022 – The Planet First program initiated by the H&M Foundation and world-renowned The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) has recently resulted in an innovation that could potentially be a game-changer when it comes to fighting global CO2 emissions. The Carbon Looper project – clothing that captures CO2 from the air and then releases it as nutrition for plants – is now being tested by the restaurant staff at Fotografiska Stockholm.

Christiane Dolva, Strategy Lead Planet Positive at H&M Foundation, Martin Wall, Executive Chef and “Planet Keeper” at Fotografiska and Edwin Keh, CEO at HKRITA standing in front of Fotografiska's hydroponic garden, where the CO2 is released at night.
Christiane Dolva, Strategy Lead Planet Positive at H&M Foundation, Martin Wall, Executive Chef and “Planet Keeper” at Fotografiska and Edwin Keh, CEO at HKRITA standing in front of Fotografiska’s hydroponic garden, where the CO2 is released at night.

Finding ways to lower carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is an urgent planet-wide priority. It is crucial to initiate and accelerate change, and all research in this area is of the highest interest and deserves our full attention. With the Planet First program, the H&M Foundation and HKRITA aim to push the entire fashion industry toward becoming planet positive instead of depleting its resources.

“We want to find new solutions that can enable the fashion industry to become planet positive. And since change needs to happen now, we focus on impatient research to innovate at speed, with rapid iterations to identify disruptive and scalable solutions. Our Planet First program with HKRITA is a perfect example of how we inspire industry-wide change by openly sharing proof of concepts. We don’t have time for the traditional and the slow, therefore we are not aiming for perfect but to get the solutions out of the lab as quickly as possible to be tested and improved, and to inspire others and spur collaborations that can ultimately lead to scale and adoption.”

Christiane Dolva, Strategy Lead at H&M Foundation

With the Carbon Looper project, cotton garments are treated with amine-containing solution that makes the surface of the fabric captures carbon dioxide from the surrounding air. The carbon dioxide can then be released from the fabric by being heated to 30-40°C, in a greenhouse for example, where it can naturally be taken up by the plants during photosynthesis. The amount of CO2 that is captured by a garment per day, is approximately equivalent to 1/3 of the amount that a tree absorbs per day. And after only three ‘loop-cycles’, the garment has effectively climate-neutralized itself – and instead starts to have a climate positive effect. Improving and scaling this technology up is being intensely researched in parallel.

“Anything we do in the lab is only useful once it gets out of the lab. The Carbon Looper is one of a series of projects we have been working on to see if we can achieve carbon neutrality for the textile, apparel and fashion industry. We will be monitoring this test at Fotografiska to see how we can improve the technology and develop more uses for it.”

Edwin Keh, Chief Executive Officer at HKRITA

The current research phase involves live testing in collaboration with Fotografiska Stockholm, where the restaurant staff will wear Carbon Loopers in the form of aprons. The restaurant’s famous hydroponic garden in the basement serves as an excellent CO2 release facility.

“This innovation is a perfect match with Fotografiska’s overall philosophy and the ideal add-on to our circular kitchen with a focus on organic and locally grown dishes. The project not only contributes to spiking our guests’ awareness around the climate crisis but is also inspiring evidence of the jaw-dropping research being done at the moment.”

Martin Wall, Executive Chef and Planet Keeper at Fotografiska

Note to editors

  • The Planet First program with The Hong Kong Research Institute for Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), runs between 2020 – 2024 and aims to find technologies that contribute to a planet positive fashion future. The H&M Foundation donates USD 12 million, and the Hong Kong Government’s Innovation & Technology Fund match this donation, resulting in a total estimated budget of USD 100 million over five years. It is one of the most ambitious initiatives in the fashion industry to move the needle in this field.
  • Fotografiska Stockholm is an internationally renowned museum dedicated to photography and visual culture. Established in Stockholm in 2010 with the mission to inspire a more conscious world through the power of photography, Fotografiska has become a home of innovation, inclusivity and self-expression. The H&M Foundation and Fotografiska Stockholm have a clear common denominator in our respective assignments – we both aim to raise awareness of environmental and social issues and inspire positive change. We believe in the power of communication to achieve change and are therefore collaborating on several project to inspire and change the way of thinking of what is possible.
  • Visual assets free to download, use and share can be found here:

Press contact

For more information or scheduling interviews please see our press site.