FIBR'S SUPPLY CHAIN
FAIRNESS AND IMPROVEMENTS START WITH TRANSPARENCY. THE MAIN PROBLEM IN THE PERUVIAN ALPACA VALUE CHAIN IS THE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF THE ALPACA FIBER. WE'VE SET UP A DIRECT COLLABORATION WITH OUR VALUE CHAIN PARTNERS, THE START OF A 100% TRANSPARENT CHAIN.
STEP 1: COOPECAN
First, the alpaca fibre is sourced from Coopecan, a cooperative of 1.200 alpaca farmers in the South of Peru. With its strong cooperative model, Coopecan’s mission is to improve the livelihood of their farmers. They do so by paying their farmers a fair price of 30% above the market price and more importantly, by providing technical support to increase the quality and quantity of the fibre (by for example improved feeding plans, shaving techniques, selling strategies, etc.).
The fibre is transformed into tops (an intermediate yarn product of washed, combed and carded fibre) at Coopecan's processing plant in Arequipa. Coopecan's farmers are currently collaboratively investing in building their own processing plant, to be able to add value to their product and sell the finished alpaca yarns.
They are supported in their mission by organisations such as FAO, IDB, Agriterra and Oikocredit. Supporting Coopecan means supporting an organisation that shows lasting local engagement and willingness to change!
Raw fibre being sorted at the warehouse of Coopecan in Arequipa. (picture: Coopecan)
STEP 2: ITESSA
STEP 3: SOLID CRAFTS
Next, the yarn is knitted into sweaters in the Fairtrade production place of Solid Crafts in Ayacucho. A strong social enterprise empowering Peruvian women by offering them fair jobs and education.
The profits they make flow back into non-profit projects in the region of Ayacucho, in order to continue to empower the people they work with. It’s an inspiring business with a great atmosphere and ambition.
Secondly, the fibre tops are spun into yarn and dyed by Itessa, a family enterprise in Lima aspiring to be part of the FIBR-chain.
In order to stop the pollution of natural waters, harmful chemicals are avoided in the colouring & washing process through using OEKO TEX certified products.
Itessa is a rock in the FIBR value chain, directly enthusiastic about the idea and helping to create the necessary linkages.
Knitting by handmachine in the workplace of Solid Crafts in Ayacucho. (picture: Jasper Van der Linden)
STEP 4: TRANSPORT BY BOAT
Finally, the clothes are shipped by boat from Peru to Belgium. we cut down the transport emissions with >90% compared to air transport.
Slow transport for slow fashion.
STEP 5: FIBR
Let’s not forget FIBR. FIBR is set-up as a non-profit with a mission to improve the value chain of alpaca clothing. Eventual profit will be in invested in the development of the project and partners.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
By having all production steps in Peru, we keep 32% of the price you pay for a sweater in the country of origin of the raw material, fuelling local economic growth and job security.
This is different from the big brands, who outsource production to low wage facilities in countries as China or Bangladesh, having big margins and most of the profit flowing to the West.
Opm: duidelijk ons business model erbij
TOWARDS MINIMAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
YOUR NEW FIBR SWEATER IS MADE OF 100% NATURAL MATERIALS. FROM THE ALPACA YARN TO THE LABELS AND THE SEWING THREAD. BELOW WE'LL EXPLAIN YOU HOW WE MINIMIZED OUR NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
SO FAR WE COULDN'T CALCULATE THE FULL CARBON EMISSIONS OF OUR SWEATER. TO DO SO, WE'D NEED DETAILED LIFE CYCLE DATA OF ALPACAS, WHICH IS NOT YET EXISTING.
Just as cows and sheep, alpacas fart methane into the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas. Data in literature is not consistent, but based on our reading we can assume that alpacas emit a similar amount of methane as sheep.
Compared to synthetic fibre processing alpaca fibre causes less carbon emissions and is less polluting than the petroleum based synthetic fibre production.
Compared to plant based natural fibres like cotton, alpaca causes more greenhouse gas emissions, but scores better when considering pollution and water scarcity.
Our ultimate goal is to offer you a sweater dyed with natural products.
So far, we can't yet offer you natural dyed sweaters, simply because our start-up production volume is too low to set up a realistic collaboration with our prospect natural dyeing partner, Calicampo (small dyeing workshop in the outskirts of Arequipa).
Instead of increasing our crowdfunding goal, we have chosen to compromise on this for our start-up phase. Why? Our yarn processor only uses OekoTex certified products (read non-toxic dyeing agents), which seems like a good alternative to us so far!
We could not visit the plant of Itessa in real life (thanks Covid). Yes you’re reading it correct, our relation is -so far- merely built on trust. Being the only provider motivated to realise our idea and being very willing to jointly put effort in it from the first moment, we have chosen to collaborate with them.