Each month we bring you the latest news and views from a diverse range of sources and exploring a diverse range of topics. At the end of the month each story is carefully filed here for you to return to at any time. See stories from last year, 2013 from 2012 and from 2011.
NEW innovation Lab To Launch At The OCRT 2015!
Textile Exchange is launching a new inititative called the Innovation Lab, which is a celebration of new ideas in organic cotton. The Innovation Lab aims to seek out groups or individuals with innovative solutions to break through barriers to growth and address issues in the organic cotton supply chain, offering innovators the chance to compete for the OCRT Innovation Award 2015.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their idea at the Organic Cotton Round Table in Mumbai on October 8th (in person or via video-link) to a panel of judges who will decide the winner of the award, which includes a cash prize to help the winning innovator kick-start their project.
We are accepting applications now until Monday September 7th th so, if you are interested, make sure to get started on your one-page project proposal and send to Lisa@TextileExchange.org before this deadline!
Click here to download the 'Call to Innovators' overview
Click here to download the full Concept Note
Pratibha Syntex Announced Winner of 2015 GLASA Award
Behind the win was Pratibha's strong commitment to developing and implementing water-efficient approaches that are comprehensive, visionary and yield substantial water savings. Future projections show that by continuing to apply their solutions they expect to reduce their dependence on water by an additional 1 billion liters, thereby reducing risk for at least 30,000 farmers and their families.
The Global Leadership Award in Sustainable Apparel (GLASA) was launched in 2013 to inspire bold and courageous leadership in the apparel sector and to mobilize key stakeholders around promising ideas or practices that can significantly increase the sustainability performance of the apparel industry.
We are very happy to see Pratibha receive the recognition it deserves for it's continued commitment to sustainability.
Click here to read more about their win and about the GLASA Awards.
The 30-Year T-Shirt
According to an article in the Telegraph newspaper, Tom decided to start this range of long-lasting clothing after becoming frustrated with the lack of quality wardrobe staples on the high street.Young British designer Tom Cridland has designed a T-shirt guaranteed to not show any signs of wear and tear for an impressive 30 years.
The T-shirt, produced using 360gsm organic cotton and incorporating a number of life-extending techniques such as double reinforced seems, ringspun fibers and silicon treatments, is the follow up to his “30-year sweatshirt” launched in June this year. Both items were launched via online crowd-funding campaigns to help provide the start-up funds needed to get the designs into production.
Nudie Jeans Announced Winner Of Observer Ethical Awards 2015
TE Member Nudie Jeans, a Swedish clothing brand, has been announced winner of the Observer Ethical Awards 2015 under the category ‘Sustainable Style’.
The company also topped the ‘Race to the Top’ table in our recent Organic Cotton Market Report (download the report Overview here), which ranks companies by the percentage of their cotton usage that is organic (excluding those using 100% organic, which instead fall under our ''100% Club'' category).
Nudie has always had strong ethical principles, particularly in its commitment to organic, so it is great to see these being widely recognized.
Andreas Åhrman, Global Sales and Marketing Director of Nudie Jeans, says that the company message is simple; “Buy high-quality product. Look after it and repair it. When you’re sick of it, share it though our repair shop or by giving it to a friend. Keep clothes alive so we can reduce consumption.''
Event: International Cotton Conference, Izmir, Turkey, August 3-5th
Titled ''From Farm to Fashion'', this conference is being organised by Pakistan-based NGOLok Sanjh Foundation (LSF) in collaboration with Rural Business Development Centre (RBDC) and Oxfam-Novib.
In the conference, farmers, scientists, policy makers, key agricultural researchers and education institutions, NGOs, ginners, spinners and international garment companies of cotton producing and major consuming countries will be participating to discuss the issues and devise sustainable cotton production, supply chain and trade policies. The following are three main themes of the conference:
- Cotton Production Technologies
- Cotton Supply Chain and Trade
- Issues and Future Trends in Cotton Garments
New Research Study Deconstructs The Hype Around Bt Cotton In India
The study, titled Deconstructing Indian cotton: weather, yields, and suicides published by the Environmental Sciences Europe carried out by internationally reputed scientists including Dr Hans R Herren and Dr Peter Kenmoreeveals some of the widespread problems with GM technology.
The report concludes that although Bt cotton may be economic in irrigated cotton, the costs of Bt seed and insecticide increase the risk of farmer bankruptcy, and consequently farmer suicides, in low-yield rainfed cotton areas. The report suggests that high-density short-season cottons could increase yields and reduce input costs in irrigated and rainfed cotton.
Click here to access the full report.
New Report Confirms Challenges Of Sourcing Seed For Organic Cotton Cultivation
Just how difficult is it to access non-GMO organic cottonseed? A new report commissioned by Textile Exchange, with research and reporting led by Louis Bolk Institute and Lanting Agriconsult, reveals the answer.
The report provides for the first time a bird’s eye view of worldwide and region-specific organic cottonseed availability, contamination issues, trends in cotton production, challenges in cotton production and opinions on what the “ideal” cotton is. What kind of cotton should be grown in 2025 and what sort of seed programs should be implemented in which regions to ensure integrity and growth of organic cotton production? The report has the answers! Download the full report here.
You can also download the press release here.
Kering Shares Environmental Profit & Loss Accounting Methodology
In May, French holding company Kering - owner of Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Puma, Volcom, and other luxury, sport & lifestyle brands - released its first ever Environmental Profit & Loss Report (EP&L) report. EP&L is an innovative tool to help identify and account for the value of natural capital in business.
Kering has openly shared its EP&L methodology in order to allow other businesses to ‘’discover the edge’’ and ‘’make the invisible impacts of business visible, quantifiable and comparable’’. You can download the full EP&L report here.
New Report Shows That Organic Is Bee-Friendly
A report just released by The Organic Center in the US shows that organic farming practices are effective in maintaining the health and population of important crop pollinators, predominantly bees, which have been declining at an alarming rate in the past decade and threatening global food security.
The report, which follows the recent release from the White House of its official strategy to protect bees and other pollinators, uses organic farming as a model to highlight techniques that all growers can use to promote pollinator health, regardless of their management system.
Titled "The Role of Organic in Supporting Pollinator Health," the report reviewed 71 studies detailing current threats to our pollinators and the impact of organic practices. It found that organic methods not only reduce risks to bees, but actively support the growth and health of populations of bees and other pollinators.
You can download the full report here.
EILEEN FISHER Announces VISION2020 That Will Take Them To 100% Sustainability
TE Member EILEEN FISHER has announced a new campaign, VISION2020, which outlines the first five years of their plan to reach 100% sustainability. They describe the time defined campaign as ‘sensible but scary’ and emphasize its ‘no excuses’ approach that will hold them accountable for every decision they make.
VISION2020 will require EILEEN FISHER to scrutinize every aspect of their supply chain, but they have outlined the six key focus areas as Fibers, Color, Resources, People, Mapping and Reuse. Some highlights of the plan include 100% of cotton and linen use to be organic by 2020 and for their entire US operations to be carbon positive by 2020.
Q&A With Loomstate
Berlin based music and culture magazine Nothing but Hope and Passion has written a lovely, informative article about TE Member Loomstate. Based in New York, Loomstate is praised for its dedication to sustainable, ethical principles and its ongoing commitment to using organic cotton.
''We are hoping to change how people think about clothing. We want our customer to know whose hands their T-shirt passed through before ending up in theirs. When a customer acknowledges the people involved in making a product, they are more likely to respect, care for and repair a garment, as well as make responsible shopping decisions (with both environment and people in mind)."
Click here to read the full article and learn more about this inspiring company.
C&A Europe Boosts Its Sustainable Offering With Its First GOTS Certified Range
C&A Europe, which has more than 1,575 stores in 21 European countries, has launched new baby collection that is its first collection to be certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The GOTS processing standard for organic fibers defines internationally accepted requirements that include not only ecological, social and quality criteria along the entire supply chain, but also the assessment and residue testing of chemical inputs. The move reinforces the company's dedication to sustainability. Click here for more information.
EVENT: GOTS' First International Conference
Registration is open for the First International GOTS Conference, to be held in Mumbai, India, on Friday 22nd May 2015.
The conference will provide a great opportunity to find out more about organic textile processing globally and in the Indian region (the world leader in organic textile processing). Titled 'Strong Partnerships for Success', the conference hopes to create and develop successful partnerships.
To find and more and to register for this event, click here.
Release of TE's Organic Cotton Sustainability Assessment Tool
TE is proud to announce the launch of its new online tool that measures the environmental, economic and social aspects of organic cotton production. The Organic Cotton Sustainability Assessment Tool (OC-SAT) is the first mechanism in the industry to provide an all-encompassing view of organic cotton’s benefits.
While the tool has been road tested on organic cotton, the assessment framework could be developed for other initiatives in the sector. TE will be holding an interactive webinar to review the OC-SAT on April 22 (register here).
We encourage you to explore OC-SAT online yourselves by clicking here, but you can also download the Summary of Key Findings here. We hope you enjoy exploring this exciting new tool and, as always, we very much welcome your feedback!
The press release can be read here. The following quote is from Dr. Ir. Davo Simplice VODOUHE, Coordinator, OBEPAB (the not-for-profit Organisation for the Promotion of Organic Agriculture in Benin):
"We are pleased to see TE's OC-SAT. At OBEPAB our first interest was to reduce pesticide use. Much of the annual ill health and fatalities in rural areas in Benin are caused by pesticides. But we know the farmers have achieved much more and continue to do so. This tool helps raise visibility of the wider added value of organic."
Registration Open For Mumbai 2015
Registration has now opened for the 2015 Organic Cotton Round Table and Textiles Sustainability Conference. Both events will be held at the JW Marriot Mumbai Sahar in Mumbai, India, with the Textile Sustainability Conference taking place between 5th and 7th of October and the Organic Cotton Round Table taking place immediately afterwards on 8th October.
This year there is also the opportunity to add a post-conference tour to your registration pack. There are a number of tours on offer, hosted by either Appachi, Arvind, bioRe, CottonConnect or Pratibha Syntex, which involve visiting farms and/or processing facilites along with experiencing the local culture. More information is available within the registration process.
Event: Fashion Africa Conference 2015 - London - April 24th 2015
Africa Fashion Guide is a social enterprise promoting the African fashion and textile industry with an ethical perspective. They aim to raise the importance of sustainability within the fashion supply chain in a way that considers everyone in that chain.
Africa Fashion Guide has yearly events entitled ‘Fashion Africa’, which bring together industry leaders and specialists in the field of African fashion and ethical textiles to discuss, network, create new projects and overall to make an impact in the industry.
This year, the event is titled 'An African Revolution', and will be held in London on Fashion Revolution Day - April 24th - a day which commemorates the lives of those who died or who were affected by the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh in 2013. For the first time, the conference will be a full day event, with discussions, industry speakers and networking opportunities throughout the day.
Textile Exchange’s European and Farm Engagement Director, Liesl Truscott, will be one of the expert speakers at the event. Keep an eye on the Africa Fashion Guide Website for more details.
Photo credits: Africa Fashion Guide African Cotton Campaign 2013Model - Nana Afua Antwi / Photographer - Abi Oshodi of AO Photography
Arvind Gives Key Note Address at International SDC Conference in Mumbai
The 11th International SDC (Society of Dyers and Colourists) Conference took place recently in Mumbai, themed ‘Innovations for Sustainable Textile Production ... Connecting the Dots’.
Punit Lalbhai, Executive Director at Arvind, gave an excellent key note address in which he listed the key factors that will drive growth: higher farmer incomes, cost saving, yield improvement, liquidity and transparency, capacity building, lasting social infrastructure and profitable value-chain integration. Arvind works with both Organic cotton and BCI, and Lalbhai commented on how organic farming can give good results even where there is less irrigation and the soil is not so good.
Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) were also touched upon, with Dr. Binay Kumar Choudhury (CUICIPL) presenting the results of various fibre LCA’s and commenting that he believed organic fibres are the ‘best option’.
You can read fibre2fashion's article on the conference here. Photo from SDC.
2015: The International Year of Soils
The UN General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS), a move requested by the Kingdom of Thailand in 2013 and being implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The IYS aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security, fuel and fiber production, essential ecosystem functions, climate change mitigation and adaptation, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
At Textile Exchange, we understand the profound importance of soil for all of the reasons mentioned above, and are therefore delighted that it is hitting the spotlight in 2015.
For more information on why healthy soils are the basis for healthy food production click here.
To download an IYS infographic click here.
To view a calendar of upcoming IYS events click here.
New Documentary Film Explores The Impacts Of The Global Fashion Industry
A new documentary film about the textile industry, titled ‘The True Cost’, was released on 29th May 2015.
The film, directed by Andrew Morgan, explores the global clothing industry, examining where we are, how we got here, and how we can create a better future moving forward. Morgan was spurred to direct the film after hearing about the incidence of the factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and began digging deeper into how our clothes are made.
The film was shot in numerous countries around the world and includes interviews with influential characters such as Stella McCartney, Livia Firth, Vandana Shiva and TE's own La Rhea Pepper. Click here to find out more about the film.
The release of The True Cost comes a month after Fashion Revolution Day, which took place on Friday 24th April 2015.
ICAC Releases Second Report on Cotton Identity Programs
The International Cotton Advisory Committee has released its Second Report on Cotton Identity Programs. The report contains information up to the 2012/13 season for the following programs: Fairtrade-Cotton, Bayer's e3 cotton program, Organic, Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA), and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).
The Report found that production under these five programs in 2012/13 accounted for 1.1 million tons, equivalent to 4.2% of world cotton production and an increase of 19% from the 2011/12 season.
The full report can be accessed here.
Organic At The Oscars!
Red Carpet Green Dress, an eco-fashion campaign founded by Suzy Amis Cameron in 2009, has for the last 6 years run a competition for fashion students to design a '100% sustainable' carpet-ready dress or tuxedo to be worn by actors attending the Oscars ceremony. The winners this year were Tingting Chen, who designed the fabulous tuxedo worn by Jake McDorman, and Manon Gabard, who designed the beautiful cobalt-blue silk gown worn by Gina Rodriquez. A wide range of sustainable materials were used in the creation of these pieces, including GOTS certified organic 'peace silk', organic cotton, deadstock wool, hemp and fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.
Photo - Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Kew’s ‘Pesticide Plants Project’ for Increasing Organic Cotton Yields in Mali
Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London, UK, is running a project to research and promote the growth of ‘pesticide plants’ in Mali. Pesticidal plants, or botanical insecticides, are used throughout Africa and are promoted as an effective alternative to synthetic pesticides for controlling certain pests.
However, the plants are usually wild harvested, and so Kew’s Pesticide Plants Project will not only identify the native species and their active compounds, but also help to cultivate them, optimise their use and promote awareness among policy makers and local people. The project hopes to increase yields of organic cotton cultivation in Mali whilst reducing pressure on wild sources of pesticide plants.
Soil Association Releases UK Organic Market Report 2015
Click here for more information and to download the full report (purchase required), which provides comprehensive figures, trends and insights into the organic market in the UK and globally.The Soil Association has just released its annual UK Organic Market Report. The report reveals encouraging figures for organic; sales of organic products in the UK totalled £1.86 billion in 2014, an increase of 4% since 2013. This comes in spite of food prices falling by 1.9% and consumer food spending falling by 1.1% - highlighting the strong and growing interest in organic products in the UK market.
U.S. Organic Cotton Acreage Highest in Almost 20 Years
A survey carried out by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) in December has revealed that, in 2014, U.S. organic cotton growers are estimated to have planted the highest acreage since 1995 - with an increase of 14 percent since 2013 alone. Organic Cotton in the U.S. is produced in the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas - with the latter being by far the dominant producer.
The results of the survey are described in OTA’s recently published 2013 and Preliminary 2014 U.S. Organic Cotton Production & Marketing Trends and show the determination of organic cotton growers to persist despite recent challenges, including limited seed supply and a shortage of seasonal labor.
Photo courtesy of Jen Jones Photography
Event: Sustainable Cotton Forum - London - 16-17th March 2015
The UK-based Innovation Forum is to hold aSustainable Cotton Forum in London on 16th-17th March 2015 - an event titled ‘Sustainable and Ethical Cotton Sourcing: How to get it right, and make it pay for your business’.
The aim of the event is to bring together highly experienced practitioners and key NGOs around a focused agenda, in order to get to the core of the key issues surrounding the cotton supply chain
Textile Exchange’s European and Farm Engagement Director, Liesl Truscott, will be speaking at the event. Visit their website for more information and to download the event brochure.
New LCA Results Prove that Organic Cotton Causes Less Environmental Damage than Conventional Cotton
Textile Exchange engaged PE International, a global market leader in sustainability strategic consultancy, to conduct the LCA. The study is based on data from producer groups located in the top five countries of organic cotton cultivation; India, China, Turkey, Tanzania and the United States. These countries account for 97% of global organic cotton production.
The LCA investigated the impact of organic cotton cultivation in the categories of climate change/global warming potential, soil erosion and soil acidification, water use and consumption and energy demand.
Highlights from the Organic Cotton Round Table 2014, Portland
This year’s Organic Cotton Round Table, held in Portland, Oregon, was an exciting day jam-packed with new data, new initiatives a new type of ‘business as usual’. If you were unable to attend, or if you simply want a recap of the day, download our ‘Talk Around the Table’ report for an overview of day's events.
Thank you to all who contributed to make the event such a success, particularly Round Table Partners Fairtrade International and PE International, and Task Force Sponsors GOTS, EILEEN FISHER and Bayer CropSicence.
Release of IFOAM - Organics International Membership Directory 2015
Every year, IFOAM - Organics International releases an E-Directory with contact details and other relevant information of all of its Members and Associates - which this year includes over 800 organizations in more than 120 countries.
You can download your free E-Directory here.
Rise in Farmer Suicides as Fall in Cotton Prices Worsens Debt
A recent Bloomberg article has highlighted a rise in incidents of suicide amongst cotton farmers in India, a country where it is thought that already one in three of the world’s suicides occur. It is though that this is a result of a global cotton surplus causing prices to fall dramatically, combined with an increase in input costs (specifically for conventional cotton farming, which requires costly pesticides and seed), leaving farmers in severe cases of debt which they see no way out of. The situation in 2015 is expected to worsen as domestic prices continue to fall.
In the article, Santosh Naitham, a coordinator for Samiti in Maharashtra state, says that prices ought to be at least 6,000 rupees per 100 kilograms to make it economical for a farmer - yet recently, traders have bought cotton for about 4,000 rupees.
Photo and original article by Swansy Afonso.
IFOAM Announces Name Change
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, formerly known as IFOAM, has changed its name to ‘IFOAM - Organics International’ based on feedback from its affiliates coupled with several rounds of brainstorming. The name is intended to capture both the diversity and global nature of the organization, and with it comes a new logo, as seen on he left.
The organization has also changed its domain from ‘.org’ to ‘.bio’ in order to communicate more clearly their commitment to organic principles. IFOAM - Organics International is on the Policy Advisory Committee of ‘.bio’ and helped to create its registration policy, ensuring that it reflects the principles of organic agriculture. You can find out more about the domain here, or by paying IFOAM - Organics International a visit at BioFach in February (Hall 1, Booth 47).