FIBR'S SUPPLY CHAIN
FAIRNESS AND IMPROVEMENTS START WITH TRANSPARENCY.
WE'VE SET UP A DIRECT COLLABORATION WITH THREE LOCAL PARTNERS IN PERU, 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 Agriterra and Oikocredit. Supporting Coopecan means supporting an organisation that shows lasting local engagement and willingness to change and grow!
Raw fibre being sorted at the warehouse of Coopecan in Arequipa. (picture: Coopecan)
STEP 2: ITESSA
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.
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.
During peak season, Solid provides jobs to +100 women in Ayacucho. Since they have mainly customers in Europe, the knitters have less work outside winter clothing production season. By ordering the FIBR sweaters in low season, we create extra hours of work during this period and contribute to the job stability for the Solid knitters during the whole year.
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 Belgian non-profit.
FIBR’s fully on-line sales and no marketing and overhead costs in the first year permits lower margins, making the end price lower than same quality products.
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.
- 100% BABY ALPACA-
Your FIBR sweater is made of 100% natural material. That means NO SYNTHETIC FIBRES (as polyester) are used.
Synthetitc fibres make up 60% of global fashion industry and are actually plastics made of petroleum derivates. DIRRRTY.
- OEKO TEX DYES-
By using OEKO TEX certified dyes- which are non toxic chemicals- we AVOID THE USE OF HARMFUL PRODUCTS and the pollution of Lima's already scarce natural waters.
- 100% COTTON-
LABELS AND SEWING THREADS are pure cotton. To limit the amount of materials, the labels only tell you the bare necessities.
- MINIMAL PLASTIC-
We limit as much as possible the number of plastic bags used for shipping by PUTTING UP TO THREE SWEATERS IN ONE BAG INSTEAD OF ONE.
Once in Belgium, the sweaters are DELIVERED TO YOU WITHOUT PLASTIC.
Together with Solid Crafts, we researched the possibility to pack our shipments in compostable plastic bags. We couldn't find a supplier in Peru, so that's why we use virgin plastic.
- CONTAINER SHIP-
By transporting the sweaters from Peru to Belgium by boat, we cut down the transport related CO2 emissions with >90% compared to air transport. It might take a bit longer, but worth the waiting if you ask us!
WHERE DOES YOUR MONEY GO?
By having all production steps in Peru, we keep a larger share 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 such as China or Bangladesh, having big margins and most of the profit flowing to the West.
FIBR’s fully on-line sales and no marketing and wage costs in the first year permits lower margins, making the end price lower than same quality products.
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 burp and 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.
There is some confidential financial information we can’t access yet as a small new brand- so we don’t know exactly how money is spent on each item inside Coopecan and Itessa. But let’s take the transparency challenge step by step.