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Green Nettle Textile

Is it possible to make a business on hard-to-access, thin-soiled steep slopes where irrigation is tricky, and machines can’t reach? At first it looks impossible, but Green Nettle Textile found a solution that is as simple as it’s brilliant – you grow what would grow there naturally; stinging nettles.

Winner 2019

The innovation in a nutshell

Growing nettles to create sustainable fashion and livelihoods.

More in detail

Nettles are true survivors, requiring just some sun, a minimum of water and whatever soil you have. The crop also has another super power – the plant stalks can be turned into a sustainable linen-like fabric. Moreover, process leftovers can be used to make paper and dyes.

Besides potentially providing job opportunities and nutrients for more than 200,000 small holder farmers across Kenya alone, organic nettle fabric is a welcome, environmentally friendly alternative to conventional fabrics. It’s a true circular way of thinking, to look at nature and see how we can adopt to it, instead of the opposite.

“The mentorship that Global Change Award brings gives us opportunities to improve our production lines and, in the end, our, production costs. The grant however, will be used to prepay farmers, improve our production facilities, benchmarking and research,” says Jonah Mwangi from Green Nettle Textile.

“Winning the Global Change Award and the grant means our project will get the global recognition and credibility we need to scale up our business and engage more local partners.”

Jonah Mwangi

Team members: Jonah Mwangi, Esther Muthoni, Sophia Mwai, Susan Macharia
Country: Kenya