Posts tagged ‘Levi Strauss’
We are pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement with Carolina Eastern Precision Ag, of Pamplico, S.C., to provide agronomic consultation to our company and our contractors in the region. Under the terms of the agreement, Carolina Eastern will assist us in the recruitment of growers and contractors, and advise on all cultivation related to flax that will be turned into our branded CRAiLAR fibre including seeding rates, fertilization and weed control. We plan to contract more than 15,000 acres of flax, grown as a winter crop, in the first year. The harvest will be the first used under a purchasing agreement with HanesBrands for CRAiLAR Flax fibre announced in March 2011. This follows an 18-month pilot program with HanesBrands and the United States Department of Agricultureʼs Agricultural ResearchService (USDA – ARS), which verified the opportunity for flax growth in the region.
By the first quarter of 2012, we anticipate we will build an integrated facility in Williamsburg County capable of producing 300,000 lbs. of CRAiLAR Flax fiber per week. S.C. is one of two flax fibre producing regions we’ve strategically chosen for the location of facilities. “This announcement is a culmination of a two-year process that took a significant amount of effort from South Carolinaʼs Department of Commerce, the USDA – ARS, Williamsburg County, and HanesBrands,” said Jason Finnis, our founder and COO. “We are confident in the experience and relationships that Carolina Eastern brings to our team,” continued Finnis, “And we anticipate that their teamʼs knowledge of the region, from both the agronomic and economic standpoints, will allow us to quickly and smoothly ramp up production demand to bring CRAiLAR Flax to market”.
The Carolina Eastern team will be led by Charles “Russell” Duncan, who spent 27 years as an agricultural extension agent in the Pee Dee area of S.C. with Clemson University. A native of S.C., he worked in Clarendon, Florence, Marion and Williamsburg counties during his tenure, and served as administrator for the Clarendon and Williamsburg offices. He is currently serving as chair of the International Certified Crop Adviser board, a national program of the American Society of Agronomy, which has established benchmarks for education, experience and ethics in agronomy.
“CRAiLAR Flax fibre is one of the most well-researched agronomic opportunities weʼve seen in South Carolina in my entire career,” said Duncan. “Between their partnerships with a well established end-user in HanesBrands, along with institutional research and the potential for local financing, we are excited about the opportunity we will be presenting in coming months and hope for a long-term opportunity to be established among farmers looking for winter crop alternatives.”
Farmer Field Day
A farmer field day, to be held on Wednesday, August 3 in Kingstree, S.C., is expected to attract more than 100 farmers in the region who are interested in growing an alternative cash crop to wheat in the winter months. We will be hosting this event with Carolina Eastern, and it will be supported by the USDA office in Clemson, S.C., HanesBrands and Arbor One Farm Credit. We intend to leverage regional sustainable agricultural initiatives to fund a portion of the capital requirement to grow better established in this region.
CRAiLAR Flax Fiber Production in South Carolina
We have recently completed winter growing trials in a combined study with the USDA – ARS and HanesBrands, and have identified the varietals that will produce the best fibre yields in a growing season that traditionally can only produce winter wheat. Dr. Jonn Foulk, Research Scientist, USDA – ARS, assisted with the research. He has studied flax production in the region for nearly a decade, “As a winter crop, we found that South Carolina offers significant upsides to growing varietals of flax that are needed to produce CRAiLAR fiber,” said Dr. Foulk. “The climate is ideal, the fertilization and weed control are minimal and the winter rainfall provides adequate irrigation. Additionally, production in the southeastern U.S. has the potential to enhance rural economic growth and to supply a natural domestic source of fibre to industries.”
In August 2010 we signed a ten month sublease on a facility in Kingstree, S.C., where we’ve scaled-up flax fibre production by conducting the decortication process of CRAiLAR Flax fibre. The facility was originally established to conduct processing of flax fibre under a USDA initiative.
Companies with which we are currently engaged in purchasing or development agreements include Georgia-Pacific, Levi Strauss & Company, Cintas Corporation, Ashland Inc. and HanesBrands.
We are pleased to announce that we have entered into a short term CRAiLAR® Flax fiber development agreement with Levi Strauss & Co. beginning in April 2011 to support evaluation of processing CRAiLAR flax fiber in woven casual apparel products, specifically denim and non-denim, bottom and top weight fabrics.
“Levi’s and Dockers are the quintessential denim and casual wear brands,” said Ken Barker, CEO of NAT. “We are very excited to be working with a company like Levi’s because it aligns with our broad strategic goal of identifying and partnering with the most important brands in categories upon which we believe can make the greatest impact. I have great confidence in the ability of CRAiLAR to make a performance and economic impact for Levi’s products.”
Last month, we announced a 10-year purchasing agreement with Hanesbrands. This was the first commercialization agreement for our CRAiLAR flax fiber. We also announced a short term purchasing agreement with Georgia-Pacific to further evaluate the use of our CRAiLAR in formed materials.
A new coalition of some of the world’s biggest clothing brands, which together amount to around 60% of global apparel sales, has agreed to develop a new environmental hang-tag for clothing that will allow shoppers to immediately assess the environmental impact of their purchases. The news of a brand new ‘Sustainable Apparel Coalition’ was revealed by Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor brand Patagonia, in early November. His company has been working with the likes of Wal-Mart, C&A and Levi Strauss on the new project after a meeting at Wal-Mart where the idea was first raised. “We have been working with Wal-Mart to ‘green’ its business which has ultimately led to the formation of a new coalition of retailers and brands which make up between 50 – 60% of world clothing sales”, he said.
Non-disclosure agreements have already been signed and it’s expected that the European/US outdoor eco-index and Nike’s Considered Index Tool will be put at the disposal of the other non-outdoor brands involved in this ground-breaking project. The formation of the new coalition will be officially announced in January 2011.
Chouinard told Ecotextile News that the coalition also includes household names such as JC Penney, Nike, Gap, Coles and “many others” who are working towards “an eco-index for consumers so that they can instantly identify the sustainable credentials of a product”. He said the new consumer label project is expected to take two years to finalize and complete – a very ambitious time-scale. “The industry has decided to take this step in advance of government legislation”, Chouinard told us, “the brands wanted to take the initiative before governments did”.
The coalition is sure to have a revolutionary effect on the global textile supply chain and provides an interesting insight into current brand thinking but it also raises some concerns within the textile sector about how this new eco-textile label can be both policed and certified. “The opportunity for greenwashing is an obvious concern”, said one textile NGO, “they will need the involvement of credible, third-party organizations to help develop the new label system”. The brands will also have to map their entire supply chains – a huge undertaking on its own.
To ensure this project is transparent, Ecotextile News calls for the full engagement and involvement of the relevant NGO’s in the USA, Europe and Asia. In particular this includes the new Textile Exchange in the USA, the RITE Group in Europe and perhaps the SFBC in Hong Kong. Regional consumer protection organizations should also be engaged to ensure it actually delivers what it sets out to achieve.
~Reported by John Mowbray of Ecotextile News~