Outdoor wear specialist Patagonia is joining calls for industrial hemp farming to be legalised in the United States, arguing that it has the potential to lower the environmental impacts of textile production, support small-scale farmers and create jobs in a wide variety of industries.

The calls come ahead of a petition due to be delivered in July urging Congress to pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015/2016 (S.134 and H.R. 525) legalising the cultivation of industrial hemp in the US.

According to campaign group the National Hemp Association, which is organising the petition, hemp is a natural fibre cultivated with low impact on the environment. It requires no pesticides, synthetic fertilisers or GMO seeds, improves soil health by replenishing vital nutrients and preventing erosion, and creates fabric with drape comparable to linen.

Its quest to build "the world's most socially and environmentally responsible supply chain" most recently saw Patagonia collaborate with Bolt Threads to develop engineered spider silk yarns.

Patagonia collaborates on synthetic spider silk yarns

And last year Cara Chacon, the group's director of social & environmental responsibility, told just-style that Patagonia is "trying really really hard to solve the CSR challenges of our time in very meaningful and scalable ways."

Patagonia's CSR commitments re-shaping the sector