Oliver Heintz

Oliver Heintz's picture
Oliver Heintz
BARKTEX Bark Cloth

Organization: Bark Cloth Ltd.

What is BARKTEX Bark Cloth?

BARKTEX® is a contemporary take on traditional bark cloth, which is produced in a sustainable way from the Ugandan Ficus tree.

THE PROBLEM

The textile industry is notorious for its energy and water-intensive processes, as well as its use of cheap labor in the developing world. Dependency on single types of fiber has also been a barrier to broader economic development.

THE INNOVATION

Textiles that grow on trees. Bark Cloth is the basis for a wide range of BARKTEX® textiles and composites which are manufactured with low energy and water consumption, a carbon footprint less than zero, and a minor capital intensive process based on culturally aligned, socio-economically and ecologically suitable conditions. Once the bark is stripped from the tree, new bark grows in its place – a truly sustainable product. BARKTEX can be treated with numerous techniques to create a unique material reminiscent of leather.

“Bark Cloth is an agroforest-based tree bark fleece from Uganda and said to be the most ancient textile of mankind... Designers value its expressive character, unique texture, inimitable structure and sensual tactility.” – Mary Barongo-Heintz, Co-founder of Barktex

Stage of Innovation: Growth and scale

THE VISION

The team employs an innovative micro-enterprise model in Uganda that empowers women and provides food security for local farmers. They are looking to develop their business to reach new customers. Expansion of the production area towards Tanzania, Rwanda and/or the Congo will minimize the dependency on climate conditions and economic and/or political circumstances.

“Manufacturing against the tide does not mean to produce against industries but complementary to them. It offers benefits for industries: new sources of supply and different/innovative fiber products. For inhabitants of remote non-industrialized areas it offers a new and important source of income – for some stakeholders the only one. Some call it 'post-industrial manufacturing' – we call it 'complimentary industrial manufacturing'.” – Oliver Heintz, Co-founder of Barktex

Download the BARKTEX forum presentation

Related Challenge: