Hemp and its massive impact on the planet, explained
An Opera Campi product has a massive impact on the environment, more than any other clothing product.
On the basis of several studies and independent articles, applying the most prudent hypotheses, it was possible to determine the calculations necessary to justify the “massive impact” shown in each Opera Campi product, by clicking on the “Impact” button:
Below we list the studies and clarifications behind these surprising calculations. For any correction or criticism, please write to email@example.com
Last update: 3 december 2022.
Hemp absorbs from 9 to 15 tons of CO2 per hectare cultivated.
Even the European Commission on its official website confirmed this data.
Each KG of spun fibre absorbs 12.5 kg of CO2. We reached this conclusion through these considerations:
- Each hectare of Hemp grown produces 12 tonnes of matter,
- Only 8% of Hemp spun fibre is obtained from initial dry matter
- For our calculations we considered an average absorption of 12 tonnes of CO2 per hectare
- 80kg of spun fibre absorbs 1000kg of CO2, so each kg of spun fibre absorbs 12.5 kg of CO2
The data measured on the chlorophyll photosynthesis of the plant confirm its very high rate of CO2 absorption, compared to other fibers such as cotton, linen. Above all it adds an important variable compared to synthetic fabrics, which do not absorb CO2 at any stage. Below is the list of articles and studies to support the thesis.
- EIHA article in the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/respondents-additional-inputs/European%20Industrial%20Hemp%20Association%20(EIHA).pdf
- Studio English: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es401326a
- Interview with an agricultural expert: https://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/hemp-can-sequester-15t-of-carbon-per-hectare/
- Interview with a Cambridge researcher: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/06/30/carbon-sequestering-hemp-darshil-shah-interview/
- The Guardian Article: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/24/could-hemp-be-a-key-tool-in-fight-against-climate-change
The IPCC methodology advises against considering carbon sequestration in impact calculations, they indicate it’s impossible to demonstrate the purchased products are not burnt for 100 years to prevent CO2 from being emitted again in the environment. Opera Campi does not follow this guideline for two reasons:
- customers are aware of the circularity of the product and that Hemp is biodegradable, so few customers will trash the product with destination in waste incineration plants
- the products are continuous, even if the product was burned and an equal one would be purchased, the impact would still be negative and therefore for the benefit of the environment
CO2 emissions during cultivation
In the worst case scenario, Hemp emits 0.006kg of CO2 per KG grown in the cultivation phase.
This emission is given by the different processes that derive from cultivation (the tractor that sows) to spinning (factories).
In its calculations, Opera Campi considered 0.1 KG of CO2 per KG grown to also include emissions from fiber transportation and related emissions that the studies do not consider.
- Stockholm Environmental Institute study: https://mediamanager.sei.org/documents/Publications/SEI-Report-EcologicalFootprintAndWaterAnalysisOfCottonHempAndPolyester-2005.pdf
- Research from the Material Systems Laboratory in Boston: https://matteroftrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/SustainableApparelMaterials.pdf
2.5kg of CO2 is emitted for each KG of material, if this is dyed.
It is the most pessimistic hypothesis predicted by this Thai study. Emissions at the dyeing stage depend very much on the technology used, as well as on the energy source. There are not many studies declaring emissions during dyeing, but it is reasonable to consider such an impactful hypothesis.
Opera Campi offers several products from the Zero collection that do not include dyes.
About 0.495kg of CO2 are emitted for every meter of material produced.
The calculation represents the most pessimistic hypothesis, which depends on many factors:
- energy source used
- distance of the weaver to the producer
All the studies calculated the impact of weaving in kWh, so it was necessary to convert kWh into CO2 using a specific tool.
- Calculating the carbon footprint of a fabric: https://oecotextiles.blog/2011/01/19/estimating-the-carbon-footprint-of-a-fabric/
- Calculation of the impact of textile products: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276193965_Carbon_Footprint_of_Textile_and_Clothing_Products
By manufacturing we mean the emissions during the production of the product: accessories, seams, washing, ironing.
It is objectively impossible to determine the CO2 emissions of each product. An Indian study has calculated in a very precise way the impact of the realization of a T-shirt, determining the impact of the seam alone in 3kg. Our hypothesis is that starting from this emission. Considering a t-shirt is about 100 grams weight and require about 30 minutes to manufacture, we reproportion these data it based on weight and time necessary for the product.
By distribution we mean the phase that includes the transition from the company’s warehouse to the end customer. Being an e-commerce, Opera Campi ships all over the world and it is difficult to predict emissions. Therefore we used a very useful tool, the DHL Carbon Calculator that allowed us to calculate the emissions of a 2 kg package from Parma to Los Angeles. It is not a frequent route for Opera Campi, but it certainly represents a pessimistic hypothesis and the average emission that we could consider. The result is 13 kg. These are reproportioned for the weight of the product plus 1 kg of packaging weight. To this we have added about 7kg as an average of emissions for returns and exchanges and emissions for the packaging necessary for the product.
One of the critical points of natural fibers is water consumption. There are many studies that confirm a low water consumption of Hemp if compared to all other natural fibers.
Hemp requires an average of 900 liters per KG yarn, unlike cotton which requires 2700.
- Dutch Research: https://essay.utwente.nl/68219/1/Averink,%20J.%200198501%20openbaar.pdf
CO2 absorption for planted trees
Thanks to the high absorption of CO2 during cultivation, many Opera Campi products are potentially negatively impactful (so they absorb more than they emit).
Opera Campi openly wants to exaggerate its positive impact on the planet.
For this reason we also plant 2 trees for each product ordered: a record for any brand. Our partner Ecologi declares that its trees absorb about 50kg of CO2 each, it means almost 100kg of CO2 sequestered with two trees, but always by virtue of prudent calculations we considered 80kg of CO2 sequestered.