Volume 2, Issue 14, October 2000 ISSN 1488-3988


Fibre Front:
A new section devoted to the industry around natural fibres

A) DaimlerChrysler Expands Use of Natural Fibres in Automotive Components

DaimlerChrysler Corporation announced in July that they will equip the new Mercedes-Benz Travego travel coach with a natural fibre-reinforced engine and transmission cover as standard equipment, the first natural fibre-reinforced exterior vehicle component to go into series production.

Use of natural fibres reduces weight by 10 percent and lowers the energy needed for production by 80 percent, while the cost of the component is five percent lower than the comparable fibreglass-reinforced component, according to the DaimlerChrysler Research center in Ulm, Germany.

Over the last 10 years, DaimlerChrysler has developed new applications for natural fibres in vehicle production. Until now, use of flax, sisal, coconut fibre, cotton and hemp has been limited to the interiors of vehicles -- in upholstery, door paneling or rear panel shelves.

Natural fibres are already used in many automobiles produced by the Chrysler Group in the US. Working with major suppliers, DaimlerChrysler has the goal of making new vehicles 95 percent recyclable in the next five years. In that project, natural fibres were used in door trim panel components, including the arm rest and map pocket.

Benefits of using natural materials:

The new applications of natural fibres build on Daimler Chrysler's experience in a project in Belem, Brazil. That project, which began in 1991, provides the local population with a stable, long-term source of income through the use of coconut fibres, while reducing destruction of the rainforest.

SOURCE: DaimlerChrysler Corporation

B) Kafus' Directors resign: company files for bankruptcy

Another North American fibre processor has died along the way. At the request of a petitioning creditor, the Supreme Court of British Columbia court appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. as Interim Receiver of Kafus pending further proceedings.

The petition for a receiving order was filed on August 14, a month after six executives resigned due to "a critical shortage of working capital".

Kafus positioned themselves as "an emerging global manufacturer of superior materials produced from sustainable resources". With diverse interests including kenaf, MDF fibreboard, fibre cement and organic fertiliser, Kafus was aiming for fast, exponential growth including international expansion. Though Kafus' game plan included working in a large degree with annual fibres, the company's marketing strategy placed "no market reliance on the environmental or "green" features of Kafus products. They must be equal to or superior to similar products made from conventional raw materials."

The company attributed its money problems to losses at its CanFibre plant at Riverside, California, which made MDF board from 100% urban wood waste. The company blames the plant's delayed start up "as a result of problems" with its engineering firm, Stone & Webster, which entered bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

Other losses were incurred due to the delayed achievement of full production levels of its Bio-Composites plant in Elkhart, Indiana. The plant was manufacturing natural fibre composite mats and panel products, for use in the automotive -- an agreement was reportedly signed with Ford -- packaging and construction industries

Kafus' plans included building a newsprint mill in Texas that would use kenaf for the paper fibre. The group had contracted 8000 acres of kenaf in the state in 1999.

For more information check out


C) Johnson Controls Excited About Hemp, Natural Fibres

Hemp is now part of the Eco-Cor biocomposite plastic that Johnson Controls Inc (NYSE:JCI) is using as a substrate in door trim panels for DaimlerChrysler AG's 2001 Sebring convertible. The panels are made of a blend of 50% polypropylene, 25% hemp and 25% kenaf. It is one of a growing number of substrates in the automotive industry made with biocomposites, which also commonly use natural fibers such as flax and jute. Biocomposites offer improved strength and decreased weight in structural plastic parts.

Most of the company's hemp is sourced from Canada.

Process engineers with JCI say that hemp has a longer fibre than kenaf, and allows panels to stand up in a mold having deep cavities, such as with an armrest.

JCI is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and manufactures seating and interior systems for light vehicles including passenger cars and light trucks. For more information on the company, check out

Source: Automotive Newswire

D) Management Change at Fibrex Québec

Fibrex has changed managers at its plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. Theirry Vives, is the new general manager, replacing Tim Niedermann. Al McCulloch, Vice-President, has explained that the parent company -- Quadrant Pacific Capital Corp --" has chosen not too renew Mr. Niedermann's contract, and are going for a different approach" with Vives. A Quebec resident, Vives has a background in production and processing and has five years of flax experience in Europe. Meanwhile, Niedermann --who previously operated his own mill in Maine -- has started his own consultancy firm, Bast Fibre Solutions, and has been doing some work with Durafibre/Cargill Ltd. among others.


Fiber Ethics Directory ... the most comprehensive Eco manufacturer directory available;
Fiber Ethics Magazine - a quarterly print version of the fiber ethic industry
Fiber Ethics Online ... the Eco industries resource center
Fiber Ethics, 5523 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3T1

Tel: 902-868-1299, Fax: 902-868-1315,


Hemp and the Open Directory Project
By ODP editor industrialhemp

Many companies who are working in the hemp industry have the foresight to have their own web sites, but are frustrated or puzzled by the lack of traffic these web sites generate. The Open Directory Project is a resource that all web-savvy entrepreneurs should know about.

The Open Directory Project < > is a wonderful resource for business owners, consumers, and those just looking for information.

The ODP was founded in 1998 and has gone through several incarnations and ownership groups. Currently, The ODP is the basis for many search engines, including AOL Search, All the Web, AltaVista, Deja, Google, HotBot, Infoseek, Netscape, Northern Light, and Yahoo.

The ODP currently has over two million web sites listed in 316,000 categories.

The ODP releases directory updates weekly, but the other search engines update on their own schedules. The major difference between the ODP and other search engines is that the ODP has almost 30,000 volunteer editors who maintain the directory. While most of the directory is composed of web sites that have been submitted and then approved by their respective topic and category editors, some editors search for sites to add to their categories.

This difference also makes it harder to get listed and stay listed in the ODP. The editors are real people that choose to volunteer to make the web easier to navigate. They tend to be very knowledgeable about the categories and topics that they edit and will not hesitate to weed out sites that are lacking in content or for other reasons. ODP editors do need to follow guidelines set out by the ODP staff, however. They also share information and ideas with other editors about how to make the directory better.

The best way to submit a site to the ODP and get it listed is to read their page "Submitting a Site to The Open Directory Project" at <> and actually read and follow the information there. It is surprising how many submissions are made where the person who made it obviously did not read or follow any of the directions.

Here are a few good ways to insure that a submission is accepted.

Before you click on the Add URL link in an ODP category:

1. Search for your web site in the ODP first to see if it is already listed. Make sure that the category that you are submitting your URL to is the most appropriate one that you can find. A good editor should send your URL to a different category for review if it does not belong in the category it is sent to, but they do not have to.

2. Click on the Description link just below the Add URL link in an ODP category and read it. Does your site meet the submission criteria, if any is listed? If for example you are submitting a shopping site and the category description says no head shops, but you are selling drug paraphernalia, there is a very good chance that you will not get listed. Editors also make notes to attach to a URL when it is reviewed, so something like this would be noted for future reference for other editors.

3. Is your web site current? Do you have DNS problems that prevents your site from being found? Do all of you off site links work or are they dead? Being up to date is especially important for a subject like Industrial Hemp as things change rapidly.

4. Is the content of good quality?

5. Is the presentation good? Does the background prevent the text from being read? Do your links work? Do all of your graphics and pages load? Did you run a spell checker? Is your site easy to navigate? Can most people view your site without installing a half dozen plug-ins? If you use Flash in your opening is there a skip intro button? Do your pages load in a reasonable time? Are the type sizes readable? If the page editor you use has default type sizes that are too small to read, especially on other platforms like Mac or UNIX, you may not be accepted. Many of the editors are graphics or other computer professionals who do a lot of their editing from schools or work and use machines other than PC's.

6. After you have done your homework click on Add URL in the category you have chosen. Read and understand the information on the Add URL form (Submit a Site to the Open Directory) before entering the information requested. Please check your grammar and spelling!

7. Please don't try to manipulate your title or description to get a higher listing in a category. Tricks work with web robots, not people. Use the third person in site descriptions. Don't use throwaway phrases like "etc." or "and more" instead of finishing your sentence.

Here is a good example of a submission:


Title: Industrial Hemp Research Centre

Description: Information from around the world on Industrial Hemp farming techniques and current Industrial Hemp production and consumption data.

8. Once you have a site listed in a category use the Update URL form from that category to update the URL, Title, and/or Description. Don't email the editor and expect personal service, they are volunteers not employees.

9. Do not SPAM the ODP. Submitting your web site to multiple categories will upset most editors, and if you are already listed you may be removed. Also do no resubmit a listing every week, this will not help either. Not all web sites are accepted. Don't expect to get email back from an ODP editor.

10. Remember, the editors are people with other things in their lives besides the ODP; work, school, businesses to run, family, and friends.

Your thought and hard work will pay off with more and better quality hits after your web site is listed in the Open Directory Project.

ODP editor industrialhemp can be most likely be found on the internet, listing your web site.

Japanese Hemp Distributors
(Letter received September 26, 2000 8:24 AM)

I went through your web site quickly (sorry very quickly). Great! I like it.

Do you know the list for Japanese hemp distributions for all over Japan (not all the shops though) at in English, I guess it would help Canadian hemp companies' distribution.

Those shops and companies are waiting for new good items in good price, conveniently. (Not many people speak English well.)

Real value and cheap cost one would be the best, my idea.

Just an idea. I hope to work.

Hemp in Japan is just now growing. Please keeping teaching us what you guys experienced.

Yorosiku - Onegai - Shimasu!

a hemp farmer in Japan,
Takashi Okanuma,

Recommended: Sources of Web News

Looking for more news? has a great news service, which mails out 2-3 times a month as headlines permit. Probably the most comprehensive roundup of mainstream news coverage of hemp. To subscribe to the Global Hemp News digest send an e-mail to: with subject line: Subscribe.

Also, out of New Zealand: check out NZHIAI'S Monthly email Newsletter. As New Zealand works towards a regime allowing for trial corps and eventually regulation, it will be interesting to what they come up with. Email: for more.

Minnesota's Institute of Local Self Reliance also publishes the Carbohydrate Economy Electronic Bulletin, monthly bulletins that report on what's happening in and around the plant matter-based product industry. Highly recommended. To subscribe email: , subject line: Subscribe to CE Bulletin.

A response to globalism: The ISLR has also introduced their New Rules Project. Building on the premise that "community matters," the New Rules Project identifies public policies that build economically vital and politically vibrant local communities. The project publishes a quarterly journal, The New Rules; books addressing local retail issues; and electronic bulletins with late-breaking news on specific issues. Check out for more info.


Upcoming Events

October 26-29, 2000: CHFA Expo East, Toronto, Ontario

Annual East Coast Event of the Canadian Health Food Association. To be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

October 29-30, 2000: Nutraceutical & Functional Foods Update, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Produced by the Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network. For more info and full schedule check out

For further information, contact: Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network, 105 North Road, Saskatoon, SK. S7N 4L5 Tel: 306-652-2782 , Fax: 306-933-7208, email:

November 2-4, 2000: North American Industrial Hemp Council, Annual Meeting and Conference 2000, Rosemont, Illinois

To be held at Radisson Hotel O'Hare in Rosemont IL .This fifth annual meeting and conference of the North American Industrial Hemp Council (NAIHC) is an opportunity to learn more about annual industrial fibre crops and to network with notable North American and European agricultural and industrial experts. Exchange ideas, discuss opportunities and explore the economic potential of industrial hemp for farmers and industry. The conference will allow farmers, researchers, industry and public policy makers to form educational networks for the advancement of industrial hemp as a renewable agricultural fibre.

A membership business meeting on November 2, 2000 will precede the conference session on Nov 3-4. The trade show will run for all three days.

For more information and full schedule check out or contact NAIHC - Theresa, PO Box 259329, Madison, WI 53725-9329 Tel: 608-224-5137, Fax: 608-224-5111 Email:

November 9-11, 2000: Alberta Horticulture Congress and Prairie West Trade Show, Edmonton, Alberta

To be held at the Mayfield Inn. Fifty technical sessions and 220 booth trade show Theme "Growing for Tomorrow" Produced by Alberta New Crops Association. Contact Shirley Alton 780-415-2324 for details.

January 26-28, 2001: 20th Annual Organic Conference, Guelph, Ontario

20 Years & Growing. Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ann Clark "The Road Ahead for Organic Agriculture". Two day exhibition on : January 27th and 28th; 95 exhibitors are expected. Contact Tomás Nimmo or check out

TBA, 2001:'s Hemp Summit, Washington DC.

Catch a great list of North American Trade Shows at:


Contact Arthur Hanks, Hemp Report Editor, at with details

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