Sustainable siesta - organic hammocks

La Siesta

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

La Siesta is a family-owned German company headquartered in Rhineland-Palatinate. The company produces various types of organic-cotton hammocks for different purposes and areas of application.

Their innovation meets the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

9: Industry, Innovation and infrastructure

12: Responsible consumption and production

17: Partnerships for the goals

Author

Gereon Droste

Gereon Droste

School

Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK)

Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK)

Professors

Julia Hufnagel

Julia Hufnagel

Katharina Spraul

Katharina Spraul

Innovation

The innovation of the company was to concentrate not only on the sustainable aspects related to the production itself, but to take a rather holistic approach by focusing on sustainable materials, infrastructure, partnerships and social responsibility in the direct environment of their suppliers. Their motivation is based on the fact that they see the hammocks as a cultural asset of South America that is worth conserving.

The company's hammocks are mainly produced in Colombia. Since it was not possible to purchase certified organic cotton according to GOTs standard directly in Colombia, the company had to build up a corresponding infrastructure there. This required close cooperation with local authorities, companies and farmers in order to have all elements of the production chain certified. This included very detailed requirements for the use of the cultivated fields, the replacement of pesticides by natural means and the operation of the processing plants. But the effort was worth it, as Cornelius Grisar points out: “We are the first and only company to produce GOTs-certified hammocks in South America”.

And this also offers a new opportunity for other companies. ‘If someone else turns up and says: “I am producing jeans or anything else according to GOTs from Colombia”, then he actually already has the entire infrastructure’, says Cornelius Grisar.

In addition to building the infrastructure, the company has also established a close relationship with the local farmers and suppliers and influences the direct environment of the producers and suppliers by financing social projects like the non-profit organization “Centro La Siesta”, which helps endangered children and has the potential of improving their future.

Sustainable siesta - organic hammocks

Receipt of the Gots certificate with representatives of Fatelares

Inspiration

The company's ecological footprint has always been very important to the founders. For them, this starts with the selection of raw materials. La Siesta is the only company in the industry sector that uses both certified wood and certified organic cotton to manufacture its products. In addition, they decided to switch the carriage of goods from airplanes to cargo ships. In order to shorten the transport routes even further and to avoid transporting organic cotton from abroad to Colombia, they looked for a source of production in Colombia itself. Because there was no production there at the time, they decided to take the initiative themselves.

As Cornelius Grisar explains, “It's a paradox that this industry doesn't exist there. And we wanted to contribute to breaking this paradox”.

Since leaving the management of La Siesta in 2009, former founder Alexander Grisar has been involved in the non-profit organization SOCiLA for the promotion of organic cotton cultivation in Colombia. An organization that he founded himself.

The inspiration for the social project “Centro La Siesta” came, when they found out about the terrible conditions the children lived in and heard about a possibility to improve them. As a result, the started the financing and the project was named after their company.

Overall impact

In cooperation with Fatelares (a local cotton producer), La Siesta was the first company in Columbia that managed to grow and process GOTs certified organic cotton. As a result, long transport routes could be avoided and at the same time La Siesta served a role model, demonstrating that the organic cotton production in Colombia itself is possible.

Due to the high conversion costs from conventional cotton to organic cotton, La Siesta as a relatively small company could not generate enough demand for organic cotton to ensure a long-term production. A larger demand and awareness regarding the production of organic cotton in South America is required to ensure a viable new value chain. Therefore, this project represents a short-term loss of the company in order to establish a full value chain of local production in the long run. The first effects can already be seen: After the company Fatelares received the organic cotton certification, it also started to offer other GOTs certified products. “You can now buy towels made from GOTs-certified cotton. (..) Looking back, this means we have had a positive effect in Colombia through our market efforts”, refers Cornelius Grisar.

Furthermore, this project strengthened the local infrastructure and helped the firm to get involved with local producers and authorities. The financing of "Centro La Siesta" also enabled them to influence local social problems.

Business benefit

By manufacturing in Colombia, the company was able to save transportation costs during their production on site and consistently strengthen the relationships with cooperation partners.

In addition, the company has gained the necessary know-how and experience to implement a rapid transition to full production on site as soon as the necessary amount of demand is reached.

Through their efforts, La Siesta itself and its cooperation partners have received very positive feedback from various sources. Fatelares was praised for the extraordinary commitment by the president of Colombia and La Siesta also received a regional "Fair Trade" award in Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany).

Social and environmental benefit

La Siesta had a social impact on the region by maintaining good relationships with the farmers and partners and by funding the non-profit organization “Centro La Siesta” in Fortaleza. In this facility, the children have a place where they can continue their education and are kept away from crime on the local streets. “Every minute a child is with us, it does not spend on the street”, says José Expedito de Moura ("Dito"), who runs the facility.

Regarding the environment, the huge advantage of organic cotton over conventional cotton is that it is more environmentally friendly. As Cornelius Grisar explains: “The fields must be free of conventional cotton for at least three years. There must be a concept of how the crop rotation works, instead of using pesticides additional crops are introduced into the field and fertilized with natural resources.”

La Siesta has built an infrastructure in Colombia that allows other companies to follow its example. They have shown that it is in fact possible to grow organic cotton directly in Colombia. Through the chosen transport routes and the careful selection of raw materials and production facilities, La Siesta offers a great contribution to the environment, especially in the field of responsible consumption and production.

“There is this beautiful saying: Everyone knows the price of something but not the value. And this is really about explaining values. (..) Someone pays the price. If the customer does not pay it in the end, then the price is paid elsewhere”, summarizes Christoph Wosnitza.

Interviews

Cornelius Grisar, Manager

Christop Wosnitza, Marketing

Photo of interviewee

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La Siesta

La Siesta

Jugenheim in Rheinhessen, Rhineland-Palatinate, DE

Business Website: https://www.lasiesta.com

Year Founded: 1991

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

La Siesta was founded in 1991 by Dorothee and Alexander Grisar, who started to import hammocks form Latin America to Germany. The company is headquartered in Jugenheim in Rhineland-Palatinate and since 2009 run by their sons Maximilian, Leonid and Cornelius Grisar. In 2014 the business expanded and successfully opened a second office in Miami (Florida). Currently, the company employs around 35 people and distributes their products worldwide. From the very beginning, the family has placed great value on their ecological and social responsibility, especially when using sustainable raw materials and resources. To do this, they use both FSC-certified wood and GOTs-certified organic cotton.