RISKMIN - Risk minimization along the value-added chain of plants to the colouring pigments

RISKMIN is a project for the mitigation of risks along the supply chain of plant raw material to the provision of plant dyestuff. Considering the measures concerning risk mitigation, a business plan for a plant dyestuff manufacturer for the effective realization of the business idea was created.

Short Description





Renewable raw materials from agriculture, by-products of the food industry and lumber industry can be processed to plant dyestuff. Findings of the "Factory of Tomorrow"- program research GEISSLER et al. (2003, 2001) and RAPPL et al. (2005) show that plant dyestuff are applicable in large scale industry.

The Austrian Institute of Ecology together with the Institute of Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics in Dornbirn and companies of the textile industry developed alternatives to synthetic colouring for the textile economy.

The integration of companies into the entire supply chain - from raw material to the point of standardized plant dyestuff which is used as product for the colouring business and their customers, has always been essential in the existing research activities.

However, the missing link between the supplier of plant material and the textile industry is still the contact or service interface between them. This service interface must the one hand conduct a standardization of the raw material to the point of applicable plant dyestuff and on the other hand it must guarantee colour quality and colour fastness.

Thus the project RISKMIN developed the business idea for a plant dyestuff, mitigated risks along the supply chain and estimated the economic practicability.

Results of the pre-projects

Applied research concerning the use of plant dyestuff, was able to show the technological feasibility of utilization of renewable raw materials, meaning dyestuff plants and byproducts. Synthetic dyestuff in the textile industry could be replaced by plant dyestuff on principal under certain surrounding conditions. The procedural development up to the industrial usage under strict ecological regulations was successfully promoted. For specific textiles and plant dyestuffs, the quality criteria for the industrial usage were reached and an attractive colour palette created.

Content and Aims

RISKMIN aims to mitigate risks along the supply chain, form the plant up to the supply of dyestuff. Considering measures concerning risk mitigation, a business plan for a plant dyestuff manufacturer for the effective realization of the business idea was created.

The dyestuff plants chosen for RISKMIN were mainly Austrian rampant plants that grow in climatic advantageous local conditions whereas cultivation guidelines favor an ecological cultivation. Regarding supply of raw materials, byproducts of the wood working and food processing industry are available in sufficient quantities. At the selection of these raw materials, short-term availability was emphasized as well as the protection of resources. The largest energy consumption in the supply chain from raw material to dyestuff is taken up by the drying of the plants and byproducts. Solar heat or waste heat of biogas plants can be used for that purpose. This allows a low-emission textile colouring, whereas the resulting wastes are biodegradable and the sewage contains no toxic substances.

The project RISKMIN tested the economic feasibility of a plant dyestuff producer. The requirements for the production of plant dyestuffs and the therefore needed services were created by working out mitigation measures for enterprising risks. In order to develop strategies and arrangements for the risk mitigation, the varying workflows for the different raw materials where defined step-by-step along the supply chain.

The problem areas in all these production steps where localized and judged according to their relevance. Arrangement for mitigating all these defined risks had to be found. At the bottom line, the project team concludes that an economic realization is possible, as long as the developing business acts circumspect and can guarantee an appropriate diversification.

Methodical Approach

RISKMIN is investigating solutions to mitigate risks for farmers cultivating renewable plant dyestuff and for businesses using these resources for their dyeing processes. For instance, the cooperation of several farmers can result in a provision of sufficient quantities and consistent qualities. Management research offers methods to mitigate risks when implementing innovations, such as Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM). In this method, all steps of the supply chain are defined to show and evaluate risks as well as chances and expected benefits from the use of renewable resources.

At a workshop with potential suppliers (farmers, food processing and timber industries), data and opinions for processing plant dyestuff for the textile industry have been collected. In a second workshop, motivation and expectations of potential users of natural textile dyestuff were discussed. In addition, ideas and forms of cooperation to develop natural textile dyestuff as well as outstanding requirements were discussed.


The risk sources along the supply chain are identified and rated. Strategies and arrangements in order to mitigate risks along the supply chain are shown and submitted.

By means of the methods of Supply Chain Mappings applied in the Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM), the relevant risk sources where identified and categorized through RISKMIN. The relevant risk sources along the supply chain from the raw material to the dyestuff from the point of view of a plant dyestuff producer are mainly process- and controlling criteria (risks) inside the company as well as sourcing- and sales criteria in the supply chain outside the company. The term environmental risks stands for all external risks that act outside of the supply chain processes.

In course of the categorization, all together, eleven main categories of risks were defined and categorized in terms of consequences into high risks (A-risks), medium risks (B-risks) and low risks (C-risks).

Each activity was assigned with multiple risk sources; the valuation of impacts takes place by means of the affected sales along the supply chain. RISKMIN shows solutions to mitigate Risks for the plant dyestuff producer. From the risk valuation the following conclusion for "Colours of Nature" can be drawn:

  • Risks of high relevance where localized in the range of raw material acquisition regarding quantity and quality as well as in a lack of sales market.
  • Risks of medium relevance are product quality, payment risks and acquisition risks for raw materials.
  • Risks of low relevance refer to storage, unattractive product pallets, production processes and costs of raw material.

The Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) comes to following propositions of risk mitigation for "Colours of Nature"

  • Stipulation of raw material acquisition and production
  • Geographical diversification of suppliers and raw material sources
  • Know-how transfer and experience exchange in multiple directions
  • Definition of quality criteria, quality control for the business concept "Colours of Nature"
  • Process optimization regarding production costs
  • Standardization for implementation on the market
  • Intense technical costumer service for the colouring companies

"Colours of Nature" is a sustainable business concept that can be realized in effective economical terms.

The business idea and the know-how regarding plant dyestuff colouring are unique and innovative. It represents a sustainable competitive advantage as no comparable concept exists. Based on the trend analysis and because of growing ecological awareness, chances of an effective realization of the "Colours of Nature" business concept are to be positively evaluated. Sustainability and environment-friendliness are growing subjects, also in the field of textile industry, and lead to increased demand of eco-friendly textiles.

An elementary output of RISKMIN is the business-plan "Colours of Nature" that elucidates the process steps of the plant dyestuff producer. It shows an economic realization. According to certain general conditions "Colours of Nature" is a business concept for development, fabrication and distribution for the textile industry in Austria and in succession also in an international context.

There are several milestones regarding management- and development-team set-up in the conception of a pilot production line for plant dyestuff. Further market studies as well as customer acquisition and finding of capital in the first business year of "Colours of Nature" are necessary.

The following arrangements supporting the realization of "Colours of Nature" are recommended:

  • Further research and development in the scope of plant dyestuff colouring (optimizing colouring processes)
  • Extension of regional market competencies and acquisition of new marketing possibilities (whole-market analysis)
  • Increased information arrangements about plant dyestuff colouring in Austria and in international connection.
  • Forming of an international network for exchange of experiences in the field of textile colouring on basis of plant dyestuff
  • Assistance of a pilot project "Plant dyestuff in practice" to draw a baseline for the company founding
  • Development of a new concept "GreenIncubator", for the build-up and increase of sustainable business ideas to enhance chances of success.

Project Partners

Project management

Ing. Antonia Wenisch
Österreichisches Ökologie-Institut, Geschäftsführung

Project or cooperation partner

  • Thinkaustria Unternehmensberatung
    Dr. Thomas Huber
    Seidengasse 13, A-1070 Wien
    Internet: www.thinkaustria.at
  • Regionalentwicklungsverein Auland Carnuntum
    Ing. Johann Trapl
    Fischamenderstr. 12, A-2460 Bruck an der Leitha
    Internet: www.auland-carnuntum.at
  • Institut für Textilchemie und Textilphysik
    Leopold Franzens - Universität Innsbruck
    A. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Bechtold, Mag. Rita Mussak
    Höchsterstraße 73, A-6850 Dornbirn
    Internet: www.uibk.ac.at/textilchemie
  • Leinenweberei Christine Vieböck
  • Fritsch Färberei GmbH
    DI Dr. Eduard Taufratzhofer
  • Ing. Anton Prischink KEG
  • Mitteramskogler GmbH
  • Österreichische Bergkräuter reg.Gen.mbH
  • Pannonischer Kräuterhof Brucker Landwirtegruppe
  • Sonnentor
  • Qualitätsoffensive Carnuntum BBK Bruck/L.

Contact Address

Österreichisches Ökologie-Institut, Geschäftsführung
Ing. Antonia Wenisch
Seidengasse 13, A-1070 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 5236105 11
Mobil: +43 (664) 256 2476
E-Mail: wenisch@ecology.at
Internet: www.ecology.at