Interview with Mr Kenneth C Barker

Mr Kenneth C Barker
Mr Kenneth C Barker
CEO & Board Member
Naturally Advanced technologies (NAT)
Naturally Advanced technologies (NAT)

Recently, you have come up with CRAILAR Organic fiber solution. Please tell us what is it all about.

CRAiLAR® Organic Fibers are the foundation of the first truly sustainable yarn in the apparel industry, and are poised to become the revolutionary next step in sustainable fibers, providing an economically sustainable complement to cotton.

Our technology was developed to work on all bast fiber crops. Hemp was the initial focus as it is an emerging industry in Canada. Flax is a bast fiber crop so the CRAiLAR® process works very well without any modification. CRAiLAR® is a versatile technology and also performs well on jute, kenaf, and other similar crops. At the end of April of this year, we announced that we had successfully spun not only a hemp-cotton combination but we'd also successfully spun a flax-cotton combination. We found the CRAiLAR® flax to be of very high quality and ideally suited for fine knit items such as T-shirts. While hemp is also well suited for knit garments, the legal issues surrounding the crop in the USA combined with the farming learning curve that will be necessary to begin the agricultural supply chain, make commercialization of this fiber more difficult than flax.

Our recent spinning trials with CRAiLAR® flax have been highly successful, which further validates the feasibility of flax as a practical, economically viable complement to cotton. Therefore a strategic shift of focus from hemp to flax was announced earlier this year.

Hanesbrand - the biggest consumer of cotton in US, is heard to have entered into a short-term CRAiLAR Flax Fiber Supply Agreement with NAT. Can you provide the gist of this agreement?

The companies recently completed spinning trials using the CRAiLAR flax fibers, and the supply agreement allows for Hanesbrands to pre-purchase CRAiLAR Flax fiber from Naturally Advanced Technologies for additional product testing. The agreement calls for Hanesbrands to purchase up to $375,000 of CRAiLAR Flax fiber between December 1, 2010 and early 2011.

Hanesbrand is into 100% cotton garments. Can you help us understand why would it choose hemp to cotton? How cost effective this subsitute could be?

CRAiLAR, such a unique and timely fiber being that it's sustainable, cheaper and with performance benefits will make an impact not only on the consumer but any bottom line.

Biotechnology has evolved as wonder working technology. In the context of textile sector, how evolved it is?

Our strategy is to develop CRAiLAR® technology divisions that integrate proprietary biotechnology with current industry practice, and to commercialize those divisions with industry leading, strategic partners. Produced from bast fibers including hemp and flax, CRAiLAR® technologies are based on abundant, environmentally sustainable renewable resources. CRAiLAR® technologies provide economically attractive and performance oriented solutions to water and pesticide intensive feedstocks as well as petrochemical-based feedstocks, for industries such as textiles, pulp & paper, bioplastics, biofuels, medical and composite materials.

Biodiversity is next environmental issue, industry leaders believe. Is it so?

NAT is committed to unlocking the potential of renewable and environmentally responsible biomass resources. As vital resources, such as water, are quickly disappearing the global economy is demanding solutions. We remain committed to being a part of the answer.


Published on: 13/12/2010

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

F2F NewsLetter

Subscribe today and get the latest information on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel.

 Fibre2Fashion Monthly Newsletter
 Upcoming Trade fairs & Events Monthly
 F2F Weekly Insights
 Technical Textiles eNews Weekly