MD’s Message on Fibre Products
Philip Warner, the founder and Managing Director of Ecofibre, is a committed and energetic proponent of a major hemp industry for Australia. He approaches this opportunity with vision, focusing the industry on a demand driven imperative.
Managing Director’s Message on Fibre Products
Fibre products surround us all in our daily lives, in business and industry. Fibre is used to build our homes, our furniture, our computers, our cars and our clothes. Our lifestyle and progress will continue to become more dependent on the use of fibres.
It is accepted universally that the world population will grow by at least three billion in the next 50 years. It is also likely there will be a higher disposable global income especially in the populous countries of China and India.
Consumption and overall demand for food, clothing, building materials and fuels etc, will increase more than 100%. The answer is not simply doubling the existing output of synthetics, timber, cotton, and fuel; additional sources of fibre will need to be found to fill the shortfall in supply created by an ever increasing demand.
Of the 29% of the Earth’s surface that is above water, less than 15% (4% of the Earth’s surface) is considered suitable for sustainable agriculture. Even this basic resource is decreasing due to salinity and other environmental problems. Inevitably there will be legislation, market and consumer recognition that will demand better land management and compel manufacturers to use renewable resources for biodegradable products.
Clearly the future challenge will be for agriculture to become more intensive and yet remain sustainable. Science and industry will have to innovate and conform to new laws governing trade, social and environmental guidelines. One solution is to find and refine plants that give us food and clothes, medicine and fuel, paper, building materials and plastics. The intelligent selection and use of the correct plants will help address economic and environmental issues facing us all.
After extensive research EIO has focused on the plant group called “Bast fibre crops” (Flax, Kenaf and Industrial Hemp) as those best suited for future world fibre demand. The need to maximise the production efficiency of the limited land resource will mean crops that produce both food and fibre at the same time will have the advantage. EIO has identified Industrial Hemp as that crop. Industrial Hemp is one of a few multi-functional crops that can produce commercially viable levels of both food and fibre. It is a sustainable fast-growing crop with a high biomass accumulation and carbon exchange. Industrial Hemp requires no or little pesticides, flourishes in most soils and requires less water than that used by many other high value crops. Industrial Hemp produces the longest and strongest organic fibre known to humans, and it also produces a seed that is highly nutritional for human consumption. Along with new raw materials comes the opportunity for new products, business, technological advancement, industry and other progress associated benefits that will positively affect both rural and urban communities.
Our commitment to sound resource management using our fundamental pillars of business will ensure that EIO participates in the most crucial and profitable parts of the value adding chain. Now is the time for EIO to move up a gear, and begin the process of commercialising the Industrial Hemp value chain. Our estimates have concluded that even if the global hemp industry made up only 10% of the projected shortfall in world demand for fibre in 2050, it would be an industry worth AU$12 billion annually.
Considering the breadth and scope of Industrial Hemp’s attributes, it is more likely that it has a capacity far greater than that. EIO does not have a monopoly on Industrial Hemp. Nor is Industrial Hemp the only solution available to combat the issues outlined above. However, EIO does have a competitive advantage by having the technological and strategic building blocks already in place to produce fibre, food and by-products from Industrial Hemp at a price that will compete with established products. I am sure you will see how this can be achieved as you further your research in Industrial Hemp.
Founder and Managing Director