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Sage Automotive Interiors, NFW partner

Company News, News | October 24, 2023 | By:

Sage Automotive Interiors has partnered with Peoria, Ill.-based startup, NFW, a producer of a plastic-free, plant-based leather alternative for car interiors. This strategic partnership between Sage Automotive Interiors, part of the Asahi Kasei Group, and NFW, a leading global provider of innovative and functional materials for the automotive interior — enables another major step to support global automotive OEMs in reducing the environmental burden of the automobile lifecycle.

NFW was founded in 2015 and has developed the only platform capable of producing precision-engineered, all-natural (zero plastic) leather, foam, and textiles to replace animal and petrochemical-based materials. MIRUM®, the company’s patented leather alternative, is made from natural rubber, natural fibers, plant oils, natural pigments, and minerals. MIRUM is bio-neutral and can be safely returned to the Earth or recycled by NFW at the end of its lifetime. The material offers superior durability and quality that can replace traditional animal-based or synthetic leather products without the use of any polyurethane or other coatings.

Sage is engaged in the development, manufacturing, and sales of innovative functional materials used in automobile interiors globally. Since its acquisition by Asahi Kasei in 2018, Sage has continued to strengthen its business activities in Europe and China through mergers and acquisitions in parallel to expanding its lineup of growth-potential materials such as suede and synthetic leather. As one of the leading global suppliers in the car seat fabric market, Sage has a strong presence among automakers and suppliers.

Luke Haverhals, CEO and founder of NFW, said: “Over time, our partnership with Sage will allow consumers to apply the same decision-making process that they use in their homes, in their cars as well — the most sustainable option will be available to them. The kind of impact that matters to the planet has to happen at scale, not just around the edges.”

Dirk Pieper, Chairman of the Sage Automotive Interiors Board of Directors and Lead Executive for the development and growth of Asahi Kasei’s overall automotive product offering, stated: “The cooperation with NFW will enable Asahi Kasei and Sage to assist global automakers in reducing the environmental burden of their cars. By jointly developing and manufacturing a plastic-free, plant-based, and fully circular leather alternative, the Asahi Kasei Group takes a leading position in revolutionizing the market for interior mobility materials.”

First project within the “Care for Earth” investment framework:

The cooperation with NFW is part of Asahi Kasei’s “Care for Earth” investment framework, which was announced in April 2023. Asahi Kasei has committed itself to investing $100 million worldwide in early-stage startups that aim to solve issues in environmental fields such as hydrogen, energy storage, carbon management, and bio-based chemicals over a 5-year period up to the fiscal year 2027. As introduced in its medium-term management plan titled “Be a Trailblazer” in April 2022, the car interior material business is one of Asahi Kasei’s “10 Growth Gears” that are to drive future company growth and provide more than 70 percent of operating income around 2030.

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