Renaissance Fiber Sustainability Mission
Reversing the textile industry’s environmental impact is key to Renaissance Fiber’s mission. Renaissance Fiber’s operations mimic the natural ecology of the American Southeast coastline, enabling our proprietary processing technology to be Ecologically Invisible and carbon negative. Renaissance Fiber aims to not only minimize the negative impacts of the textile supply chain, but to also lead the industry with a net positive impact. Far from hyperbole, Renaissance Fiber is constantly striving to improve on this commitment to sustainability in every new partnership and venture. Our commitment to science-based and transparent operations ensure we remain accountable, not just to our partners and certifications, but to our legacy as a sustainable business, and obligation as individual stewards for a healthier planet for future generations.
Renaissance Fiber and the Environment
“Renaissance Fiber is built on natural science. We are a cleantech company committed to legitimate, long-term carbon negative operations and a net-positive environmental impact.”
Our company is confronting the environmental impact of the textile industry head on. We produce natural fiber through simple amplification of natural cycles. This allows us to interface in a gentle and biomimetic way with ecosystems: We can use their natural behaviors without upsetting them, and we can do this at scale. What does this mean for the textile industry at large? It means that seekers of clean materials and clean supply chains can now obtain them.
One of the most important environmental concerns is atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), and we can address that directly. First, our operations can be made carbon-neutral. The processes are not overwhelmingly intensive, and simple engineering solutions are readily available. More important, though, is that substantial CO2 uptake is a natural chemical outcome of our methods. This has captivated us at Renaissance Fiber, and is a focal point of our growth plans. It is indeed possible to effect carbon capture and storage through our process, and in doing so, becoming carbon-negative in a defensible and meaningful way.
Ultimately, Renaissance Fiber sees an opportunity to not only minimize the negative impacts of the textile supply chain, but to have a rare, net-positive environmental impact.
Renaissance Fiber and Traceability
Renaissance Fiber is science-based and data driven. We have built an extensive data collection system, and are developing new analytical methods to ensure our words are reflected in deeds. Our database is meant to enable us as well as brands, spinners, consumers, and our partners to make comprehensive decisions. The data also serve as the basis for industry certifications, life cycle assessments, and other third-party analysis, all of which we are pursuing, to ensure transparency and accountability, and reduce uncertainty.
About this page: Collecting and analyzing data, and communicating it clearly requires time and resources. This work is underway and will continue. The information presented here will expand and evolve as our operations develop and results become available. Please check back regularly for updates.
About Hemp and Sustainability
Hemp produces a high-quality bast fiber (like flax, ramie, jute, kenaf, & bamboo) that provides rigidity to its stalk. It comes from the outer layer (skin, or phloem) of the plant’s stalk, and has played a large and important role in human history -- rivaling flax as the chief textile fiber of plant origin until the middle of the 19th century. Humans have used hemp for thousands of years, with remains of hemp cloth dating back to the 5th millennium BC in China.
Hemp Has Superior Textile Material Qualities
Hemp grows rapidly to full size, and its fiber is perhaps the strongest natural fiber known. It is also one of the most durable natural fibers on earth. Hemp alone can produce a fabric with wonderful drape that’s comparable to new linen, softening with each wash and wear. Also like linen, hemp moves easily with the body, wrinkles less, and is breathable and easy to wear across different seasons. Hemp clothing can be softer than traditional cotton and offers enhanced comfort while providing fast drying capabilities. It also blends readily with other fibers, and is suitable for processing by modern, cotton-based spinning and processing machinery.
Hemp Is Agriculturally Sustainable
Hemp has a reputation for agricultural sustainability. This derives primarily from its land use characteristics versus typical yields for comparable natural fiber crops.
INPUT/YIELDS: Hemp requires inputs on par with cultivation of corn or other grain crops; but its yields are far greater than those for cotton.
GROWTH CYCLE TIME: Cultivation time for fiber is short, limiting the need for excessive preventative or preservative amendments.
WATER USE: A well-set stand of hemp for fiber is able to use available water more efficiently than other natural plant fibers
DIVERSITY OF GROW GEOGRAPHIES: Hemp can grow in almost every state of the United States (certainly in the lower 48). This aspect of its agricultural diversity means that we are limited only by our ability to innovate utilities for the raw materials it can provide.
Hemp’s sustainable limitations derive primarily from the efficiency of processing into usable material. Methods for wet processing are often energy intensive and require large amounts of suitable water. Effluents must also be controlled to prevent discharge of toxic or damaging material into watersheds – much like a municipal water treatment plant.
Our technology addresses these limitations directly. This includes not only the sustainable use of water for processing, but the use of air as well, through reduction in emissions associated with energy production and use, while simultaneously minimizing cost.
Hemp Has Broad Utility
Hemp is unique amongst cash crops in that every part of the plant has utility and potential market value. In addition to being used for fabric, hemp oil and seeds go into food and beauty products. Hemp can be used for building products, paints, inks, paper, composite boards, clutch pads, plastics, fuels, bio-diesel, and Eco-solid fuel. In fact anything that can be made from a hydrocarbon fossil fuels can be made from a carbohydrate, but for the past century, strong lobbies from the multiple industries that could be impacted by hemp have continued to keep the growth of this useful plant legally banned.
Hemp is Now Federally Legal to Grow
Hemp is a version of the cannabis sativa plant selectively bred to have only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (a.k.a. THC), which distinguishes it from marijuana. The 2018 Farm Bill, which contained the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, was signed into law on December 20, 2018, and effectively ended prohibition of domestically grown hemp. This law was removes hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) from Schedule I controlled substances and making it an ordinary agricultural commodity.
By redefining hemp to include its “extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives,” Congress explicitly has removed popular hemp products (even including hemp-derived cannabidiol, known as CBD) from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Accordingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration no longer has any possible claim to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products. This should give comfort to federally regulated institutions - banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites and advertising platforms - to conduct commerce with the hemp and hemp product industry. Hemp farmers now may finally access needed crop insurance and can fully participate in USDA programs for certification and competitive grants.