Imagine getting paid for your trash.
That’s what hundreds of Filipino farmers are experiencing thanks to Ananas Anam. Not only are the farmers earning higher incomes, but their waste is reforming the notoriously dirty leather industry.
In the Philippines one-third of the country’s workforce is engaged in agriculture. According to the Philippines Statistics Authority, agriculture is one of nine basic sectors with the highest poverty incidence; one-third of farmers are with income levels below the official poverty threshold. On the island of Luzon pineapple farmers are earning more income by taking pineapple leaves and processing them into fibers that form the base material for Piñatex.
Piñatex is the brainchild of Dr. Carmen Hijosa. It’s a vegan alternative to leather and it’s captured the attention of crafters on Etsy as well as big brands such as Hugo Boss and H&M. The patented fabric’s main ingredient is the strong fibers that form the core of pineapple leaves.
Fashion is a wasteful and environmentally destructive industry, consuming vast amounts of water, energy, and toxic chemicals. Experts peg the economic cost to the planet at $180 billion per year. Piñatex is a natural, sustainably sourced and cruelty-free material that is better for people and better for the planet, too. Globally, the pineapple industry generates about 40,000 metric tons of pineapple leaves which are usually burned (contributing to air pollution) or left to rot (creating methane.)
Thanks to a loan from Beneficial Returns, Ananas Anam has now installed five decorticators in the province of Laguna – the heart of Luzon’s pineapple country. Decorticating is the process of extracting the cellulose fibers from the leaves and, with a little training, farmers can process tons of these fibers generating substantial additional income.
Social enterprises like Ananas Anam are at the forefront of using market forces to reduce poverty while simultaneously preserving our environment. Our loans help these enterprises grow and increase the scale of their impact.