Ethics & environmental impact


The idea

When we started doing some market research we were shocked to see the amount of clothes that contained 70% or more newly created plastic, there are many different types of plastic with names you might not even recognize as plastic. We decided our pieces would only be made from naturally derived or recycled materials. Our labels, swing tags and boxes are all made with natural, recyclable materials. The reason we chose premium Alpaca wool to create our knitwear is because it is more sustainable to farm Alpacas than a lot of other animals who yield luxury yarns such as Mohair rabbits, Angora or Cashmere goats. Some of the many reasons why our jumpers made with 100% premium Alpaca wool is a better choice: 

The jumpers:

  • Soft and luxurious feel Our jumpers are made with the finest grades of Alpaca wool. CAYO’s particular blend of Alpaca wool, 100% premium Alpaca is very fine and soft, our jumpers feel soft on the skin and fall beautifully worn loose or tucked into a trouser or skirt. 
  • Ethical and Sustainable Alpaca wool is biodegradable as it is natural hair formed from proteins. The whole process of getting a CAYO jumper to you is done as sustainably as possible, the Alpaca wool used in CAYO jumpers comes from Alpacas who have plenty of room to roam around the Peruvian Andes and are only sheared once every 12 months (during shearing season). One Alpaca provides a LOT of wool, at least enough to make 5-7 jumpers to be precise. All the packaging we use is 100% recyclable and everybody who works in each stage of the process to create a CAYO piece is paid a fair wage. 
  • Keeps you warm but not too warm Alpaca wool allows some ventilation in warm conditions but keeps you cosy on cold days due to the microscopic air pockets within each fibre.  
  • Long lasting Despite the soft touch and the fine structure of a CAYO Alpaca jumper, it is strong and durable making it a great investment piece.  
  • Not itchy A lot of different wool contains lanolin and is often treated with toxic chemicals to remove this oil which is harmful for the environment. Alpaca wool contains little or no lanolin so it doesn’t have that prickly feeling and is naturally hypoallergenic. 

The Alpacas 

  • They don’t contribute to deforestation Why not? Because when an Alpaca grazes it cuts the vegetation with its teeth, without pulling the root from the ground. Alpaca hooves are soft and padded unlike Cashmere goats for example so they don't destroy the land. 
  • Light footprint They consume very little food and water in comparison to their body weight. 
  • Natural fertilisers they naturally fertilise the land they graze on.
  • Plentiful wool One Alpaca fleece can provide enough wool for 5-7 jumpers. 

Giving back 

Often the farmers who farm the Alpacas live in isolated locations in the Andes meaning their families can’t easily access schooling. A percentage of the profits from our sales goes to help implement projects which will improve the quality of education and life for the children in these remote parts. 

Offsetting our carbon footprint

We are aware that transporting our yarn from Peru has a negative effect on the environment so to offset this impact we make an annual donation to the Carbon Fund. The amount donated every year is calculated based on our current carbon emissions. At the moment a donation of 300 makes CAYO a carbon neutral company. Carbon Fund does many things to offset carbon emissions including buying portions of land in the Amazon and preserving them as forests. Read more about this organisation here

The process

Transparency is important to us, we want you to know what you are buying. Everything from raising the Alpacas, production to packaging is considered. Everyone who works in the CAYO process gets paid a fair wage and has good working conditions.  Our spinners also hold a Fair Trade Peru good practices certificate. Our yarn is OEKO TEX standard 100 certified meaning the yarn has been tested for harmful substances. The Alpacas that the wool is obtained from, live in the Andean highlands on hectares of rolling countryside. They are only sheared in summer making sure the Alpaca’s can stay naturally warm in the winter months and avoid heat stress in the summer. 

These jumpers are designed by our designer/knitwear team here in Ireland and are created by expert knitters in Italy with the finest quality premium Peruvian Alpaca wool. Our knitters undertake an annual ethical Smeta, Sedex audit which reviews labour standards, health & safety, environment and business ethics. 

Many combinations of yarn types and knitting methods were exhausted over two years before reaching the finished product. The yarn and knitting process combined creates a super soft and luxurious jumper.  Every aspect of the product from the finishes to the packaging is developed with the best quality materials and expert craftsmanship.

We believe fashion is an extension of yourself, wearing one of our pieces can make you feel good inside and out. Thank you for choosing CAYO, we hope you love wearing our jumpers as much as we love creating them.

Read about our story here