The future of hemp production is at a defining moment. Restrictions on this commodity and its crops that were once stigmatized are being lifted around the world, and people are increasingly aware of the concerns accompanying input-intensive agriculture. There is a lot of excitement about the potential sustainability of this fiber crop, but growing, sourcing or carrying hemp will not be a solution in itself, it will all depend on how that hemp is grown.
As there are few conventional pesticides permitted for hemp production worldwide, the industry can develop production practices from scratch that work in harmony with nature. TE encourages governments, brands, and farmers to implement systems that will result in high quality raw materials with low toxicity inputs and maximum environmental benefits.
If habits do not change, the same negative impacts on these communities and the environment may well occur from practices that are common in conventional agriculture today. And that begs the question, if the promise of hemp’s sustainability attributes begins to wane, will the market still be interested in the fiber? Consumers and brands were attracted to the fiber’s “natural” reputation, with the result that they might simply move on, looking for the next innovation to come along.
It is a material with great sustainability potential, and the industry has the opportunity to shape all stages of production. By working collegially and applying past learnings, we can all leverage its holistic benefits to achieve our climate and nature goals as a society.
The complete study is available on the website of Textile Exchange .