Elite Eco-Fiber Closer to Production: Crailar

Crailar is a new fabric being developed in Canada by Hemptown and the National Research Council of Canada. In a previous post, we noted that Hemptown recently secured 1.4 million in financing. Crailar is made using an innovative enzyme technology for processing textile and industrial hemp. It is expected to produce millions of bales of organic, soft white fiber. It is projected to cost less than conventional cotton, and will be grown in Canada. In addition to economic benefits, Crailar is highly environmentally sensitive, grown organically without the use of pesticides or the enormous fresh water irrigation required by conventional cotton.

Based on future prices, it is estimated that Crailar’s production costs would be $0.42 USD [$0.52 CAD] per pound versus $0.62 USD [$0.76 CAD] for conventional cotton, and $1.50 USD [$1.85 CAD] for organic cotton.

Hemptown and Crailar adhere to a "triple Bottom Line" philosophy: human rights of employees, the environmental impact of the company’s operations and fiscal responsibility.

The product is named after the town of Craik, Saskatchewan, where the enzyme is being tested. Initially, Crailar technology will be licensed and produced in Craik in 2006-2007, with clothing products and raw fabric anticipated to start shipping to department stores in Spring 2007. More than 2,500 hectares of hemp were grown in Canada last year, according to the Saskatchewan Hemp Association.

More information on Crailar.

Hemptown's press release: Crailar (PDF)