Children's ShoesEcologyNaturfaser Hanf - Vortrag Heike Hess

Report on POLOLO’s natural fiber lecture – part 4

At the end of our B2B fiber lecture in POLOLO’S Berlin based ShowRoom the natural fiber hemp and a few short explanations about the German initiative „GRÜNER KNOPF“ (“GREEN BUTTON“) were on the agenda. In Asia, the first hemp materials were said to have been available a good 12,000 years ago, said guest speaker Heike Hess, managing director of the International Association of Natural Textile Industry (IVN). The first cannabis seeds were found in Germany about 7,000 years ago. In 1937, hemp (cannabis) had been banned for the first time in the USA because it had been associated with the drug Marijuana. After the Second World War, hemp had lost importance as a material due to technical innovations. In Germany, cultivation had been banned in 1982. Despite the lifting of the ban in 1996, this prohibition phase had led to a loss of technical know-how. This lecture was also recorded on video (only in German): „Hanf – Die universell einsetzbare Naturfaser“ (c) POLOLO OHG

Almost 200,000 metric tons of hemp per year from China

Today, according to Hess, hemp accounts for just under one percent of the textile materials used worldwide. Today, China is the world market leader with knowledge and technology as well as the largest cultivation area – with an estimated 100,000 hectares, an annual output of less than 200,000 metric tons is achieved. In comparison: Europe has roughly estimated a good tenth of the cultivation area and a scant tenth of the output. Canada followed in third place.

Hemp – predominantly positive properties

Hemp is regarded as a universally applicable raw material (food or food supplements, cosmetics, textiles and others, including papers and building materials). The material properties are outstanding: The high tensile strength even increases with humidity. The absorption and release of moisture is higher than with other fibres. Hemp creases less than linen or cotton. Also there is no electrostatic charge and thus no irritation of the skin. With comparable fabric density, hemp has a higher UV protection effect than other fabrics. Only the slow rotting could be regarded as disadvantageous.

All-round usable, robust and frugal natural material supplier

Traditional cultivation does not actually require the use of fertilisers or pesticides – they are nevertheless used in industrial cultivation; growth hormones are also used. Furthermore, fungicides are partly used in roasting (water roasting) – in general, there is a high water consumption or chemical use in roasting with water or chemicals. The cultivation of organic hemp relies above all on mechanical measures, healthy soils and greater plant spacing. However, the increased cultivation of organic hemp today poses a problem: Nature reserves such as Taiga or Tundra are threatened with destruction. According to Hess, however, the use of hemp, especially organic hemp, is supported by the fact that the entire plant can be used and a high yield per unit area can be achieved. Hemp is considered a pioneer plant – it is robust and frugal.


GRÜNER KNOPF: Focus on people and environment along the supply chain

At the end of the official part, Franziska Kuntze and Heike Hess reported on the new initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): „GRÜNER KNOPF“ („GREEN BUTTON“).

Collapsed factory building in Bangladesh shook up

This initiative goes back to the fatal accident of the collapsing factory building “Rana Plaza” in Bangladesh in 2013, in which more than 1,100 people died and more than 2,000 were injured, some of them seriously. This event has shaken many people in Europe and made them aware of the intolerable conditions under which most of their textiles are produced in the countries of the so-called Third World.

A commitment to social and ecological responsibility

The BMZ then founded the “Partnership for Sustainable Textiles” in 2014 and launched the comparative portal “Seal Clarity” online in 2015. In 2019, the independent certification procedure “GRÜNER KNOPF” was launched – with the aim of slightly better protecting people and the environment along the entire supply chain.


POLOLO-Sneaker “Sol” made of hemp according to highest ecological standards, tested for harmful substances and allergy friendly

The POLOLO sneaker “Sol” made of hemp shown above, in combination with light organic cotton as inner lining, is well suited as a transition shoe. “Sol” is easy to put on because it has two Velcro fasteners. This hemp shoe is manufactured according to the highest ecological standards and is tested for harmful substances and allergy friendly. Hemp textiles are characterised by high wearing comfort – they are antibacterial on a natural basis. Hemp quickly releases absorbed moisture and thus has a cool wearing comfort, is therefore ideal for the warm season.