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AIAYU designs and produces knitwear of the finest lama wool, Cashllama TM from Bolivia. The concept is to design luxury knitwear that combines Scandinavian design with Bolivian craftsmanship based on a sustainable and ethical business model. The goal is to ensure that the products have as little impact on the environment and use as few resources as possible throughout the products' life cycle without compromising the design.

AIAYU has one primary manufacturer in Bolivia that manufactures 95% of all AIAYU products and covers the entire chain of production from the raw fibers to the finished product. The knitwear is distributed throughout the world in more than 160 stores.

Improving the standards instead of excluding the manufacturer

In 2004 when AIAYU started collaborating with the manufacturer the high environmental and ethical standards that AIAYU required was not met. Instead of excluding the manufacturer, AIAYU decided to get deeply involved in the process of improving the ethical standards at the factory and working towards an ethical manufacturing certification. This process has benefitted from financial support from Danida, the Danish Government's development program for developing countries. The efforts have already resulted in many improvements in workers' conditions and environmental performance, e.g. installation of a water treatment plant, which is able to recover and reuse up to 70% of the water used in the processes. The goal is to obtain the leading ethical certification, SA8000, in 2012/13, when all improvements have been implemented.

Ethical production benefits from long term partnerships

Working towards an ethical manufacturing certification requires a sustained partnership over many years between AIAYU and the manufacturer, rather than shifting frequently from one manufacturer to another as is standard in the fashion world.

Going forward AIAYU will continue to work with manufacturers who either meet the standards or are genuinely and seriously taking on changing the way they run their business. In this way, AIAYU can help change the situation of workers and environment in countries where ethical production has not yet caught on in the local business environment.

No harm to the environment after disposal

AIAYU also looks at the impact of its products after they are sold. The design and quality of the garments ensure longer lasting products, and the minimum use of synthetic materials means that AIAYU products do not cause harm to the environment after disposal. For the consumer the result is a high quality knitwear product with a luxurious feel that due to Cashllama's hollow fibres and thermal qualities does not pill, is lighter, stronger and warmer than cashmere - and lasts for a long time both in terms of design and quality.