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Our Planet

We consciously source materials for their contribution to a more sustainable design
aesthetic, which appreciates both their natural beauty, as well as their environmental
impact throughout the lifecycle of our products.

Straw

A genuine, Pachacuti Panama Hat is hand-woven from the straw known locally in Ecuador as
Paja Toquilla, which is sustainably harvested from the leaves of Carludovica Palmata. The
plant is from from the the Cyclanthaceae botanical family and grows to around 3 to 4
metres in height.

Pachacuti’s Panama hat straw is organically
grown on a community-owned plantation.

Located within a 5600 hectare protected bio-reserve in the tropical cloud forest close to the
Ecuadorian coast. It is cultivated in a way which encourages biodiversity of native plants
and animals.

The straw we use in our Panama hats
works with Nature, not against it.

video

Our harvesting is carried out by the Associación de
Amor y Paz; the Love and Peace Association.

The plants being harvested today were sown more than 80 years ago. Cultivated plots are
called ‘toquillales’ and are located at the edge of the common land, about 17km from the
community settlement. The harvesters are linked to their plots by means of an ownership
system handed down from their parents, but the real owner is the local community.

Once the plant is established, which takes around 3 years, it can be cropped monthly, with only 6 to 8 shoots of the 10 to 12 shoots on the plant are coppiced at one time. Then the shoots are bundled together into ochos comprised of 112 shoots.) Each harvester writes his name on a leaf of one of his ochos to recognise it in the truck.

Old leaves are left on the forest floor as mulch or are used for roofing or baskets. (In the past, Shuar and Cofán fishermen made fish traps from Carludovica Palmata.)

THE PLANT CAN BE CROPPED MONTHLY FOR OVER 100 YEARS.
IT MUST BE ONE OF THE MOST SUSTAINABLE FIBRES IMAGINABLE.

CULTIVATION AND BIODIVERSITY

The environmental impact of the cultivation of carludovica is beneficial as the perennial
plant prevents erosion, contributes significantly to carbon sequestration and the straw is
grown in organic conditions. Cloud forests in particular play an important role in the
carbon cycle as they are major sinks for atmospheric carbon. Carludovica Palmata can be
cultivated without the destruction of primary forests.

Ecuador is considered one of the most biodiverse countries in the world containing 6.1% of
all species reported worldwide. which the country comprising only 0.2% of the world’s land
area. The community has been working hard to protect their area of land and to increase
sustainability and biodiversity in the area. They are now seeing a lot more birds and
animals in the area such as toucans, armadillos and monkeys, as well as the odd tarantula.

we are producing
oxygen for the world

Spokesperson for our straw harvesters: The Love and Peace Association.

MANAGING OUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Pachacuti has identified the direct and indirect environmental aspects of all of our business
activities by Eco-mapping the premises of our producer groups, analysing raw material
flows, calculating energy and water use per hat and calculating our CO2 emissions
throughout our business activities.

WASTE AND CIRCULARITY

Our Panama hats are made to last. Every hat is accompanied by an information card explaining proper hat care (don’t pinch!) If your hat should become misshapen, if the band
needs replacing, if it is dirty, or if your hat falls in the sea, we provide a full hat cleaning,
repair and restoration service. (link) Keeping your hat for longer helps to reduce carbon,
water and waste footprints.

Just as craft and food are intertwined in Latin America, materials are transformed into
sustenance. In Ecuador, our hat trimmings create compost which is used to grow vegetables
to feed the workers in our weaving association’s garden. When a Panama reaches the end
of its life, we recommend removing the ribbon to use for gift-wrapping and the hat can
simply be put on the compost heap or into your kitchen and garden recycling bin.

Academic researchers who assessed our panama hat association for the Geo Fair Trade
project scored them 10/10 on waste management. Wastewater with chemical products is
stored and purified by using internal equipment and a series of water recycling filters are
performed in external retention basins with sand.

Environmental Management Policy and Practices >