Posts tagged ‘Cotton Crisis’

The ‘Snicker Factor’ Aside, Hemp is Serious Business

A great article in Sunday’s edition of the Globe and Mail on the benefits of industrial hemp.

“Manitoba Harvest is now one of the world’s largest hemp food manufacturers. Its sales growth has averaged about 50 per cent every year since 1998. It currently makes 68 per cent of its sales in the United States, 30 per cent in Canada and 2 per cent in Europe and Asia.

In addition to health food stores, it is penetrating mainstream grocery chains in the United States and collaborating with Maple Leaf Foods Inc. on hemp-based research and development in Canada. Manitoba Harvest has provided product and technical support to Maple Leaf’s majority-owned subsidiary Canada Bread as it experiments with hemp bakery products, Mr. Fata said.”

To check out the full article, which includes great coverage on NAT, click here.

11/07/2011 at 6:15 am Leave a comment

Behind the Rising Price of Polyester

For years, the primary indicator of polyester fiber or filament cost was the fluctuation in petroleum prices.  If the price of a barrel of oil increased, so did the price per pound of the base synthetic ingredient: polyester staple fiber (PSF).

“This last eight months has been different,” says Alasdair Carmichael, president of the Americas division of the U.K.-based PCI Fibres. “Oil has been increasing, but the rate of increase at the fiber level has been greater than the increase at the oil level.”  A new factor has come into play in the past year, and it’s surprised industry watchers.  The price increases this year are demand-driven, Carmichael says, and the additional demand is due, in large part, to a shortage of cotton.

CLICK HERE to read the full story in Specialty Fabric Review.

01/06/2011 at 9:09 am Leave a comment

Hemmed in by Cotton, Hanes Eases into Flax

A big thanks to Rachel Dodes of the Wall Street Journal for an excellent write up on our partnership with Hanesbrands Inc.

Touching on the issue of rising cotton prices and the development and benefits of new cotton/flax blend products,we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Click Here to See Naturally Advanced Technologies in The Wall Street Journal

12/04/2011 at 7:20 am 2 comments

The Cost of Cotton Explained

Yet another great article in this month’s edition of Textile Insight.  “Finding Order and the New Normal in a Chaotic Marketplace – The Cost of Cotton”, written by Textile Executive Karla Magruder, explains the factors behind the astronomical cotton prices we’re seeing today.

Click here and flip to pages 39 thru 40 to learn more about what’s behind the price hike.

17/02/2011 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Stronger Than Usual Commodity Prices are Here to Stay

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.

27/01/2011 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

The Fibre Price Sheet

The economic climate is still recovering, yet retail trends seem to be rolling along in step with the changing seasons. But what is really going on in the retail industry?  Fibre prices are escalating and the front of house is trying to retain its steady compusure while the back of house is scrambling to make production ends meet.

“Once these higher fibre prices filter through the supply chain, it’s going to be painful,”  said Gary Raines, vice president of economics and analysis with FCStone Fibers & Textiles.  “Who’s going to crack first?  Will consumers willingly pay higher year-over-year prices for apparel?   I’m not sure.  2011 is shaping up to be unlike any year we’ve seen.  There is a major disjoint between retail trends and what’s happening on the fibre side.” – WWD.com

Both synthetics and cotton will soon be out of the question if prices continue to rise at such a dramatic rate.  Iti’s now time that farmers, designers and manufacturers begin to look for economically vialable alternatives.

Our own fibre, CRAiLAR® Flax is soft like cotton, has a similar color, possesses similar performance traits and is cool and comfortable to wear year-round.  CRAiLAR® Flax and cotton look the same, fit the same and wash the same.  Still, CRAiLAR® Flax fibres shrink less than cotton fibres do, wick moisture better, and have increased dye uptake meaning they take less chemicals to reach the same color levels.

With cotton prices currently well over a dollar per pound, flax is a cost-effective raw material for fibre
production.  We estimate that we will be able to provide CRAiLAR® Flax at approximately $0.90 per
pound making it an economically viable complement to cotton.

The revolutionary all-natural CRAiLAR® process is non-polluting and consumes a lot less energy and
water than it takes to produce other natural fibers.  While CRAiLAR® Organic Fibres are strong and
durable like petroleum-based synthetics, they’re made from earth-friendly flax or hemp.  The processing
chemicals used within the CRAiLAR® process have been approved for use as textile auxiliary agents
according to the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS).  GOTS approved inputs are screened for
prohibited toxic chemicals such as aromatic solvents, heavy metals or fluorocarbons as well as
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).  All substances must also comply with strict toxicity and
eliminability standards.

06/01/2011 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

Concern Over Cotton Crisis Deepens

We’ve been hearing alot about the rise of cotton prices these days.  In the past year, prices have risen by more than 50%, reaching 14 year highs of more than a dollar per pound.

Devastating floods in both Pakistan and China, two of the worlds largest cotton suppliers, have led to a supply falling far short of demand.  Predictions of a bumper crop in India this year have dissolved as reports indicate that  heavy rains have raised concerns of damage to cotton crops.  India has compounded concerns after its textile industry called for a export ban until next year to ease supply issues.

The above factors have led us to an imbalance of supply and demand.  When the economic downturn occurred, farmers turned from growing cotton to more profitable crops such as soya and corn.  Considering that cotton has only one yield each year, it will take some time for stock levels to build up again.

Graham Burden, of Sustainable Textile Solutions, believes that more cotton will be available next year but that demand will continue to grow and as a result he predicts that we will see a 5-8% increase early next year.  He states that cotton is the main component of cheaper priced goods such as t-shirts, socks and underwear and that the prices of these items will mostly be affected.

So, is there a solution to the cotton crisis?  YES!  With the use of our patented CRAiLAR process,  we have created the first sustainable, commericially viable complement to cotton.

“This is an industry first,” said Ken Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies.  “With cotton prices currently close to $1/ per pound, flax is a cost-effective raw material for fiber production.  Our recent spinning trials with CRAiLAR-processed flax have been highly successful, which further validates the feasibility of flax as a practical, economically viable complement to cotton.”

Flax is easy to grow with minimal use of herbicides, pesticides and engineered irrigation and is abundant in the U.S. and Canada, which significantly reduces costs from a supply-chain perspective as compared to other natural fibers.  The CRAiLAR process can also be used with the stalk portion of the oilseed flax plant — traditionally cultivated for food and industrial applications — which would normally be discarded during processing.  Making use of this byproduct, in addition to processing fiber-variety flax, further enhances CRAiLAR’s sustainability factor.

The all-natural, 100%-organic CRAiLAR process is the first to successfully remove the binding agents from flax that contribute to its stiff texture.  The process bathes bast fibers in a proprietary enzyme wash that transforms them into soft, yet strong and durable textile fibers, which can be used in both fashion and industrial applications.  Fibers made through the CRAiLAR process have the comfort and breathability of cotton, with the strength, moisture-wicking properties and shrink-resistance of sturdy bast fibers. NAT’s recent trials have proven that flax can be spun on existing machinery to produce a yarn that can be used alone or blended with other fibers.

We are currently in the advanced stages of developing partner relationships with industry giants that produce goods with fashion and industrial textiles. Spinning trials are currently underway.

“The opportunity is tremendous” added Barker.  “Our ability to economically commercialize flax fibers in partnership with brands who have such broad consumer bases means, for the first time, sustainability can be affordable to everyone.”

05/10/2010 at 9:36 am Leave a comment


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