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Introducing Innovative Products Using Sustainable Flax Fiber
Description/achievement of initiative

HanesBrands commits to develop and commercialize the incorporation of flax fiber into select products that have traditionally been 100% cotton or cotton/poly blends, beginning with socks.

Implementation methodologies

because of the long history Hanes has in delivering highly sustainable cotton products, the target will be achieved by concentrating our cotton sourcing from the eastern United States, avoiding water scarce regions and taking advantage of the most advanced farming techniques available, while also reducing the energy footprint from shipping. As the “green consumer” market segment grows, Hanes has recognized that their customers rely on them to deliver a superior product. It saw an opportunity to introduce product innovations that could partially replace polyester fiber and could lend additional benefits to traditionally 100% cotton products, such as superior wicking and increased product durability. While opening up great potential to differentiate the HanesBrands and grow revenues, flax also offers multiple ecosystem benefits. Flax is biodegradable and can be grown in cold climates (or off season), allowing for increased crop rotation and helping farmers use less land. This can alleviate deforestation as farmers seek to meet increasing demands. Flax also grows quickly and needs less irrigation, pesticides and herbicides, helping to stabilize and protect local water sources.

In 2009, Hanes began working with NAT on the development of this fiber innovation and will begin producing their first flax-inclusive sock products in 2012. Finance support will be sponsored by Hanesbrands.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure


NAT (Naturally Advanced Technologies)
Progress reports
Develop and market new products that incorporate flax fiber as a compliment to cotton and polyester fiber, beginning with Hanes socks.
Work closely with Naturally Advanced Technologies and farmers to establish an agronomic case for the introduction of flax to their farmlands.
Assist Naturally Advanced Technologies in developing a facility that will be capable of processing millions of pounds of fiber annually.

Basic information
Time-frame: - 2014
NAT (Naturally Advanced Technologies)
Contact information
United Nations