Himalayan Wild Fibers (HWF), a US LLC with production in Nepal, is bringing a new sustainable fiber to developed textile markets. We are increasing the value of a natural resource—the wild-growing Himalayan stinging nettle plant—through improved manufacturing and focused marketing. In doing so, we expect to create significant social and environmental impact in Nepal. 80-85% of our product cost is the purchase of raw material collected by subsistence farming families that live in the foothills of the Himalayas. These families live more or less outside of a cash economy and this is often the first money they have ever earned. They use it to buy food and medicine, to educate their children, to gain access to water supplies and sanitation, and to improve their farms.
The farmers collect our raw material during their off season from a plant growing in the foothill forests that has been under-utilized and under-valued. It regrows annually so is sustainable, and in paying for its bark we increase the value of the forest, which inhibits deforestation. Cutting the plant stalks encourages more than 100% regrowth, thus increasing the green vegetation that functions as a CO2 sink and exhales oxygen into the thin Himalayan air, considered by many to be an environmental hotspot.
We are a "not just for profit" company, founded with a commitment to income generation. We discovered the environmental benefits of using this plant during research. All of our investors are commited to turning the company over to Nepalis when the time is right, based on a number of factors.