At Norpak International, we are passionate about people, the planet and sustainable design.
Together we can contribute to a brighter future for all.
Norpak International is a social enterprise that contributes to secure and decent employment opportunities to hundreds of artisans, mostly female, in Sultan Town, Faisalabad, Pakistan. We design, manufacture and sell a broad range of unique, handmade textile and home interior products. Our staff’s children also benefit from free, quality education at the adjacent LAMS school.
At Norpak, sustainability isn’t simply a buzz-word we use in marketing. To us, being more sustainable means that we make conscious decisions daily, and continue to ask ourselves difficult questions, in our quest for a more responsible approach to what we do.
Our care for both the planet and people directs and informs all our decisions, from product design to production and sales.
We only use more sustainable materials in the production of all our products, and where possible, we use recycled or upcycled materials.
We do not employ people to make our products – we make products to employ people.
With that vision as a guide and driving force in everything we do at Norpak, we strive to take a more humane approach to all decisions we make – from design, product development, production and beyond.
The conscious choices we make has enabled us to create safe work environments, allowing us to engage more women and men, providing them with safe and decent employment opportunities.
Our commitment and dedication does not end at the gates of our factory.
We wish to contribute to the well-being of our staff, their families and the wider local community in Sultan Town. Today and in the future.
That is why we dedicate resources to ensure that all children, regardless of social or financial background – or gender – have access to free quality education at our LAMS school.
Quality education not only is every child’s right, it is also the prerequisite for a brighter future. Many of the girls who are enrolled at the LAMS school are pioneers, often the first in their families who can read and write.
The story of Norpak International dates back to the late 1980s when the Pakistani-born Yawar Bokhari, who was settled in Norway, discovered and was inspired and influenced by the traditional Norwegian rag rug and society at large.
The rag rug, or fillerye in Norwegian, is a traditional rug made from rags and waste materials and woven into practical and cosy everyday rugs. Upon discovering the rag rug, Bokhari decided to bring a sample to Pakistan where he eventually established a factory in Sultan Town, a quiet suburb of the textile metropole Faisalabad.
And thus, in 1989, Norpak (short for Norway-Pakistan) saw the light of day.
The following years, the business grew and Norpak expanded the factory facilities into slowly becoming the main place of employment in Sultan Town. Materials were sourced from nearby textile mills, where rags were considered waste material. At the same time, this was an opportunity to help people out of the poverty trap.
Particularly women had few chances of progressing, with no education and few jobs available to them. The decision to build a school for the children of the staff was a direct response to this, and in 1996 the foundation stone to the LAMS school was laid, adjacent to the factory.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the business continued to grow, with more staff employed at the factory and more children enrolled at the school.
In the years that followed, Norpak established itself as a leader in designing and weaving rag rugs for the Scandinavian market. Equally importantly, it became a pioneer in corporate social responsibility (CSR), recognising and embracing the role and responsibility it had in forging social impact in the local community.
Following Yawar Bokhari’s unexpected demise in 2012, orders stopped coming and all activity at the factory eventually ceased. Whereas the LAMS school remained open, its numbers of students dwindled as parents left the local community in search of employment elsewhere. Seemingly, the fairytale of Norpak had come to an abrupt end.
It was only a few years later, when Amar Bokhari (son of late-Yawar Bokhari) teamed up with Norwegian award-winning designer Runa Klock and decided to step in and develop a new, more diversified and forward-looking business model based on the principles of responsible production and sustainability in all aspects of operations.
This also gave birth to our brand name Bokhari along with a more conscious approach to sustainable design and responsible business practices.
Through a partnership with the leading Norwegian interior textile retailer, Kid Interiør, a new and exciting portfolio of a wide range of handmade products was developed, and Norpak once again could employ artisans to produce handmade interior products.
In 2019, Norpak established a stitching and a printing unit, and began to design and make tote bags, aprons and other products made from 100% recycled cotton.
Today, Norpak provides meaningful and decent employment to hundreds of women and men and continues to design and produce premium handmade interior products both for export and the domestic market.
The LAMS school, which is still run largely with financial and management support from Norpak, annually enrolls nearly 1000 students, mostly girls, and continues to provide quality education to children who otherwise would not have gone to school.
Whereas the days of only weaving rag rugs are long gone, the original principle of responsible business practices and sustainability in all its dimensions (social, economic and environmental) remains central to the business model and all decisions made ,and all our new products are inspired and guided by this.