Archive for January, 2011
The US cotton price hit a 140-year high last week of $US1.6789 a pound for near-term futures. From corn stalks to cotton bushels, soybeans and more, the story is the same: stronger-than-usual commodity prices for farmers.
Although no one holds the crystal ball, agricultural professionals estimate such prices will continue through the year due in part to supply concerns. As the U.S. economy continues to struggle, countries such as China, India, Japan and Brazil show continued growth and demand for products.
Many times, when commodity prices rise, it’s a short-crop phenomenon – producers grow more of a specific crop, meet that demand and then prices return to normal. Today’s situation has potential to stick around because farmers have more flexibility in what to grow.
“This is not so much a short crop driven thing, it may have more staying power than normal”, explains Mark Waller a professor with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in College Station. “It’s what works best for them”, he said, explaining producers can factor in input costs and more.
As commodities continue to rise, you can expect that both manufacturers and end consumers will be holding their pocket books tightly. Economically viable alternatives are the key in these tough times. We believe that our CRAiLAR Fibre Technology is the part of the solution to the ever rising price of cotton.
Click here to learn more about what we’re doing to bring affordable, sustainably-made solutions to the market.
Our CEO Ken Barker announced yesterday at the Texworld 2011 Conference in New York that the we are fully prepared to begin shipping initial orders of CRAiLAR® Flax Fibre from our Kingstree, SC facility as early as March of this year and have developed the capacity to rapidly increase production thereafter to meet the demands of our development partners and to respond to increasing interest from new customers in the denim, workwear, home furnishings and knitwear markets.
“We are fortunate to have flax fibre harvested from previous seasons available in our warehouse, which allows us to begin production immediately,” Barker said. “Additionally, our CRAiLAR® technology unlocks the potential of flax straw harvested from the oilseed industry that can potentially be processed into yarn suitable for hosiery, denim, knitwear and home furnishings. Last year’s harvest produced an exceptionally high yield, giving us the ability to increase production very quickly.”
“The fibre industry is significant in size and complexity,” Barker said. “Developing flax strains capable of accessing all sectors of the industry is critical for our continued growth. Our research project has already resulted in 200 acres of flax being planted in the Kingstree region this past winter, which will be ready for harvesting this spring, adding to our production capabilities in the upcoming year.”
We announced in November of last year that we had concluded all of the trials with our commercialization partners, and as a result had received a short-term flax fibre supply agreement from Hanesbrands. We expect to complete commercialization agreements shortly.
Today we announced that we’ve joined forces with Hanesbrands Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in a cooperative research project designed to cultivate and evaluate the viability of various flax strains for use in our CRAiLAR technology. The project takes place in South Carolina and has an initial term of one year with a renewal option for two additional years.
We have already successfully transformed flax fibres blended with cotton into sustainable yarns and fabrics that posses unique properties such as moisture management and shrinkage resistance, with the comfort and price parity of cotton. The new partnership with Hanesbrands Inc. and the USDA-ARS is a strategic step in our optimization of flax fibres as the foundation for the next phase of our proprietary CRAiLAR technology. Success of the project will result in the achievement of producing a viable, natural substitute to synthetic fibres that effectively blends with cotton to create new markets and new uses for natural fibres.
“We’ve announced previously that we had created a viable sustainable complement to cotton using flax fibre in our CRAiLAR process,” said Ken Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies. “This new research we’re conducting, in partnership with Hanesbrands Inc. and the USDA-ARS, allows us to identify the best possible flax strain and agricultural practices suited for the needs of the apparel and related fibre markets, and will maximize the effectiveness of our CRAiLAR process.”
The project, led by ARS, the chief in-house scientific research agency of USDA, is part of the agency’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) program — the primary tool linking government and industry researchers in cooperative research work. ARS scientists will collaborate with NAT and Hanesbrands Inc. to assess various flax varieties and their viability for cultivation in the South Carolina region, as well as which crop conditions, harvesting and processing techniques will produce the highest possible yield of consistently superior fibres. Testing will take place at two ARS research facilities in Florence and Clemson, S.C., after which we will convert the resulting flax crop into textile-grade fibres.
The all-natural, 100%-organic CRAiLAR process is the first to successfully remove the binding agents from flax that contribute to its stiff texture by processing the fibres in a patented enzyme wash using dedicated equipment. The result is a fibre that has both the tensile strength of flax and the sought-after qualities of cotton. Spinning trials facilitated by NAT and Hanesbrands Inc. earlier this year have proven that CRAiLAR-treated flax can be spun on existing cotton spinning machinery.
Along with Hanesbrands, we have jointly committed to provide approximately $100,000 per year in in-kind contributions to help fund the project which is expected to benefit local farmers — creating new business opportunities and potentially establishing flax as a major winter crop in the South Carolina region — and to create job prospects for the people of Kingstree, S.C.
Today, Texworld USA kicks off their fabric fair at the Javits Center in NYC.
Texworld USA is the largest sourcing event in North America for apparel fabric buyers, R&D and product development specialists, designers, merchandisers and overseas sourcing professionals. It gives buyers an opportunity to meet with mills and manufacturers from around the world.
Along with many other influential speakers, our very own CEO Ken Barker will be discussing Fibre Innovation. This years line up also includes reputable speakers from the eco textile industry and will cover a variety of topics from sustainability, fibre innovations, colour forecasting and sourcing within North America.
- “An Eco Index for Everyone” – featuring Karla Magruder, president of Fabrikology, Jamie Bainbridge, Director of Fabric and Product Development at Nau Inc. and many more.
- “Fibre Innovations”, a panel discussion with Karla Magruder, president of Fabrikology; Kenneth Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies and Steven Usdan, founder of MDC Group.
- “Crossing the Bridge to Spring/Summer 2012″ by Laurie Pressman, director of marketing and sales development, Pantone.
- “Color Trends: The West Coast Perspective on Color and Lifestyle Trends”, with Fran Sude and Arnold Sude of Design Options.
- “Spring/Summer 2012 Youth Culture” by Andrea Praet, Trend Director of Stylesight USA.
- “Sourcing North America: Discover New Resources” by Susan Power, Publisher of AboutSources.
Studies show there is a growing disconnect between company perception and reality. Despite growing business sustainability action, a recent report finds that only 16% of managers on the front line feel there is consumer trust in their company and its actions. With corporate perceptions at such alarming low levels, there is a sustainability opportunity in rebuilding business faith.
In 2011, the issue of trust opens the door to a multitude of business sustainability action. As a result, our sustainability consulting considers the ‘executive leader’ role is sure to expand to include new touch points with key business stakeholders. Business sustainability efforts will include:
• Rebuilding corporate image post recession within the consumer and investment community.
• Actively engaging in the environmental and social conversation as global reforms take shape.
• Engaging with depressed supply chains leaned by cost cutting actions to reshape and retool for the future.
• Tuning into workforce values as employees shift focus to job security and benefit stability.
Beyond the company’s ability to capitalize on expanded eco awareness and innovation, stakeholder engagement, particularly in this recovering economic climate, is essential to establishing credibility with a shifted market place. A forced business agenda is being replaced with an active business dialog. Place trust atop your 2011 business sustainability agenda.