Fibershed has developed an initiative to coordinate and implement a manufacturing strategy that will regionalize the production of textiles and contribute to climate solutions.
The Regional Fiber Manufacturing Initiative will:
- Address the gaps in regional infrastructure to support producers and brands
- Help garner resources and capital for existing supply chain partners
- Identify and cultivate supply chain entrepreneurs
- Educate and attract investors who are interested in supporting a regional fiber manufacturing ecosystem
The Initiative is made up of committees of local and international experts to focus on core issues of:
- Material Production, from soil to fiber
- Manufacturing, from fiber to fabric
- Consumer Connections, from fabric to wearer
- Business Services, supporting financial structures to help the efforts above
The Stewardship committee and Chiefs of Staff are the backbone of the Initiative.
Local economies that generate basic human needs for their population and are based on an ethic of land stewardship are key to solving the climate crisis. Since 2013, Fibershed has been working toward a north star goal of a material culture that sinks carbon into our soils, while providing a range of right livelihoods within our community.
Moving atmospheric carbon into our soil at measurable rates is essential to solving the climate crises. This is the urgent responsibility of our generation.
For carbon drawdown benefits to make a significant impact on our global emissions budget, we have to thoughtfully design how and where we will process the fiber that is grown on carbon farming landscapes.
During Fibershed’s 2013 collaboration with the Silver Lab at UC Berkeley, we analyzed every part of growing and making a wool shirt in seven different scenarios. Every facet of regionalizing the supply chain made a considerable difference on the footprint of the shirt.
Through the Life Cycle Assessment we discovered what it takes to make a “carbon negative garment”:
- Sinking carbon through agricultural practices on fiber-producing landscapes must be paired with shortening the distance traveled in supply chains
- Manufacturing and processing mills must operate off of renewable energy
- Workers need housing that allows them to live within walking or biking distance from their livelihood
The big picture from all of this data gathering and number crunching won’t surprise most of you. We are far from the first organization to spell this out. We stand on the shoulders of community organizers and local economy visionaries around the globe.
We share in the knowledge that creating local textile cultures is the responsible direction. And yet, it’s an uphill battle to reclaim textile sovereignty within our current culture and economic system that prioritizes cheap labor at any cost.
To regionalize our fiber system, we need finely crafted business models that are operationalized by a trained and diligent workforce. This is the work that the Regional Fiber Manufacturing Initiative will organize and nourish.
The goods that we consume create a higher carbon footprint than the energy it takes to build, supply power to, and move people around in our towns and cities. This means that addressing the rate of consumption and consumption choices are both critical tasks in tackling the climate crisis.
The City of Oakland, California, was the first in the country to analyze consumption emissions, and we see this as a growing and necessary trend for cities and suburbs across the country.
Climate Beneficial™ goods can meet our basic human needs while reigning in our consumption footprint. And we need a thriving regional manufacturing system to make it happen.
From February through June, the RFMI will:
- Map the regional textile ecosystem to identify where capacity exists and where it does not. Envision ways to fill supply chain gaps.
Beginning in July through September:
- Prioritize opportunities and conduct due diligence
Starting in October:
- Garner financing and resources for ripe opportunities
To support or request more information about the RFMI, please email Marisol@Fibershed.com
|Adrian Rodrigues is a founder and managing partner of Hyphae Partners where he helps companies build regenerative business models. He is also a lecturer on food innovation at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business and is helping design and teach an entrepreneurship intensive for farmers at the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Previously, he has worked at Patagonia within its Venture Capital arm Tin Shed Ventures helping author a standard for Regenerative Organic Agriculture and exploring Regenerative Organic Land Funds. He is a graduate of Berkeley Haas’ full-time MBA program. At Haas, Adrian was a portfolio manager of the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund, a member of the Center for Responsible Business’ Student Advisory Board, and co-taught a speaker series on Transformations in the Food Industry. Prior to Haas Adrian worked at Morgan Stanley for six years and helped long time horizon investors manage their asset allocations. Adrian received a B.A. in English from Williams College, studied English literature at Exeter College, Oxford University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He’s an avid chef, backyard farmer and budding yogi.|
|François-Jérôme (FJ) Selosse is a founder and managing partner of Hyphae Partners, where he helps connect impact investment capital to regenerative businesses and projects. As a former fellow at the Environmental Defense Fund and member of the sustainability team at TPG Capital, he has helped private companies design and implement sustainability strategies. He is a graduate of Berkeley Haas’ full-time MBA program. At Haas, he focused on researching and designing blended financial structures that catalyze and align development, conservation and agricultural stakeholders. Prior to his MBA, FJ spent seven years working for investment banks and investment funds to manage and invest capital across industries and asset classes. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Statistics from the Ecole Polytechnique in France, and a M.S. in Financial Engineering from New York University. When he is not spending time with his 2-year old daughter Margaux, FJ can be found protecting his backyard garden from ravenous Bay Area squirrels.|
|Nicholas Wenner works as an engineer to design regenerative materials and manufacturing systems. His experiences range from crafting natural leathers in the mountains of Eastern Washington to designing and making modern products using 3-D modeling and CNC machining while earning a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Recently, Nicholas led the development of materials and manufacturing processes with MycoWorks to create a leather-inspired material from fungi. He aims to bridge the wisdom of the past with the possibilities of today to foster mutually supportive relationships between modern humans and the world that sustains us.|
|Marisol Valles is the Deputy Director for Fibershed. She is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience in non-profit and hospitality management graduating with a BA from San Francisco State University. Through her solid management, a keen eye for detail and consistent application of policy, Marisol oversees the operations and human resources for the organization.|
|Rebecca Burgess is the Executive Director of Fibershed. She is the author of the best-selling book Harvesting Color, a bioregional look into the natural dye traditions of North America, and Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy, released in 2019. She has built an extensive network of farmers and artisans within our region’s Northern California Fibershed to pilot the regenerative fiber systems model at the community scale.|