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Sustainability at Knomad: Renewable Energy and Protecting Natural Resources

By Erin Dollar on April 18, 2021



Better for the Earth, and better for you — we know you care about choosing sustainable yarns. Knomad is an independent brand, but our strong relationship with our partner mill in Arequipa, Perú gives us the ability to create a collection of bare yarn with an eye on sustainability. 



Environmental Certifications


For our manufacturing partners, sustainability is more than a buzzword. Peruvian mills are trustworthy partners in part because they have generations of manufacturing experience. Partnering with our mill in Peru gives us access to high-quality raw materials, as well as the ability to coordinate with suppliers and stakeholders to make sure environmental and ethical standards are met.


We work only with suppliers that have OEKO-TEX certification, which guarantees that the fibers are tested for harmful substances and are safe from a human and ecological perspective. Knomad’s partner mill is OEKO-TEX Class 1 certified, and we’re expanding to a higher level of certification later this year: STeP by OEKO-TEX. This new certification covers environmental and chemical management, social responsibility, quality control, and health and safety protections at the mill.



Reducing Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions


In pursuit of our sustainability goals, Knomad’s partner mill has established an impressive green energy program. More than 1200 solar panels have been installed at the factory, saving over 59,000 gallons of gas (LPG) in our production processes since their installation. These shifts in the mill’s energy matrix significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions into the natural environment. 


Beyond installing solar panels, the mill is actively working on several projects to reduce the consumption of natural resources. Another major focus is water treatment. Scouring is an important part of how we process our wool, but it’s an energy intensive process. Water is often heated with gas for scouring, but the mill harnesses alternative energy to power this process, including using solar power. All the water used to clean and scour the wool is treated afterwards using a natural enzymatic process, to remove any pollutants and contaminants and protect local waterways. Knomad’s partner mill is upgrading the in-house wastewater treatment process, to further reduce pollution and carbon emissions.



Building Sustainable Communities


Sustainability also means caring for the people (and animals) who make our work possible. Taking care of our community is vitally important — from the skilled workers who manufacture our yarn, to the indie dyers who use Knomad yarn to grow their creative businesses


Knomad is dedicated to supporting the next generation of indie dyers. We aim to provide education around natural fibers, and encourage dyers to adopt eco-friendly processes in their own creative studios. We are proud to support programs that offer mentorship and yarn for indie dyers from underserved communities, like The Knitting Tree’s new BIPOC mentorship program, LA In Color.


To create one hank of Knomad yarn, there are many people involved in the process. From the farming, to the industrial process: the sorting, combing, spinning, washing, and packing. Our OEKO-TEX certification guarantees that our mill follows all labor regulations, and the mill has a trade union which assists workers with contract negotiations to ensure fair wages and working conditions. 




Humane conditions also extend to the livestock that produce the wool for our yarn. We use only mulesing-free wool for our yarns, and believe it’s vital to raise animal welfare standards by using certified non-mulesed wool. Our mill is working closely with local communities to develop several projects to improve the lives of the alpaca breeders in the Peruvian highlands, and collaboratively find new ways to implement environmentally friendly technologies at the agricultural level.


Sustainability is not always easy to define. At Knomad, sustainability means partnering with mills and suppliers that respect natural resources — not just raw materials, but also human resources, and our relationship with the wider community. We want to build mutually beneficial, sustainable relationships with our production partners, taking care to ensure that natural resources are not damaged for future generations

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Erin Dollar

Erin Dollar is the artist behind the home textiles company Cotton & Flax. Her enthusiasm for printing on fabric fuels her energetic craft workshops, where she teaches intrepid students to create their own block printed fabrics. Erin is also a writer and an advocate for creative business owners. She lives in San Diego, California with her partner, two calico cats, and a closet full of half-finished craft projects.

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