What happened in 2013

DECEMBER

Ecology & Farming - Where Do Your Clothes Come From?

Where do our clothes come from? And do we really want to know? Liesl Truscott, Farm Engagement & European Director at Textile Exchange, says that if the public response to the recent Bangladesh disaster is anything to go by, many more of us do care and expect our clothing retailers to care too! 

The textile industry has a long history of changing only when forced to by a crisis or disaster. The latest being the tragic Bangladesh Rana Plaza factory collapse in April where over 1,000 workers lost their lives. However, unlike previous displays of procrastination and attention diverting tactics, a substantial number of retailers and brands reacted quickly to ensure action was indeed taken. A coalition of 70 leading clothing brands, retailers and trade unions backed by the International Labor Organization and the IndustriALL and UNI global trade unions has announced the next steps for their precedent-setting, five-year Accord on Fire and Building in Bangladesh. Full article in the latest issue of Ecology & Farming.


Organic Change

In Pollachi, a couple fights to create an ethical brand of weaves: right from organic cotton and farmer welfare to revival of designs and documenting the process.

Mani and Viji bought 22 old discarded looms, refurbished them and set them up in a hall adjoining their factory. That was the beginning of Ethicus — “An ethical fashion brand.” To give the anonymous weaver an identity, each Ethicus sari began to carry a tag with the weaver’s photograph, name and age and the number of days he took to weave the sari. It was “ethical” because the focus was the welfare of the farmers, the weavers and the environment. (Full story:The Hindu).

 

 


Organic By John Patrick

Organic by John Patrick marries exceptional design and commercial appeal with a strong ethical component, something which many brands strive towards, but few have truly mastered. TFS (The Fashion Spot) announced that the label has received the Honorary Award for Ethical Fashion.

John Patrick, with a long history in organic cotton, tells TFS about his eco-approach to design, and what it would take for the fashion system to change... (read interview here).

"We're just in the beginning of the process of having transparency and ethics come into the whole design and manufacturing process because the canary has definitely died inside of the coal mines. And what you're seeing, also, industry-wide, both in manufacturing and in retailing, is this deep deep change. We're at a juncture. And it's not the end of the world, it's the change of the world. It absolutely is the end of peak oil. For sure. So it makes people more conscious and more aware. And that's why the prices keep rising for even basic things. Inexpensive socks and underwear and stuff, they're not so inexpensive anymore.

 



Yield and Economic Performance of Organic and Conventional Cotton-Based Farming Systems – Results from a Field Trial in India

A peer-reviewed publication of the long term trial on system comparisons of the cotton rotation in India was published on December 4th. The article can be found  in PLOS ONE, an online journal. Download here (for online article, with supporting figures and tables) or as a PDF.

Photo courtesy of bioRe India.


Textile Exchange and Turkish Partners Produce New Sourcing Guide

Textile Exchange has completed the first of our new series of Regional Sourcing Guides. 

The Guide to Sourcing Organic Cotton in Turkey gives readers an introduction to Turkish Organic: where its grown, manufactured and some of the people involved. The Guide opens with an "Organic Cotton 101" since many of our members felt there was a need for more information on how to get started in organic and how to go about sourcing responsibly.—

We plan to create a new guide each year focussing on different producer regions. Each new guide will be launched at our annual conference. This year we have a perfect match – with the regional focus being Turkey and our conference location being in Istanbul. Next year, our second guide will be focussed on the Americas and will be launched at our conference in Portland, USA.  

Thank you to our publication partners: Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration, Control Union, Egedeniz, Orimpex, and Sanko. Contact donna@textileexchange.org.


VIDEO: I CHOOSE ORGANIC

 

"In 2012 prAna made a commitment to reducing conventional cotton in our product offering, this means a switch to organic cotton.  We have made great strides in 2013 and upcoming products for 2014. We want to see a growing awareness and demand for organic because it is a best practice in agriculture. So, prAna [collaborated with Textile Exchange] and helped sponsor this video to educate not only ourselves but our customers on why organic matters and why our choices make a difference. Please take a few moments to watch and share this video and continue to help drive demand for organic."

~Nicole Bassett, Director of Sustainability, prAna.


Creating A Transparent Market For Cotton Growers

Appachi Eco-Logic Cotton A price fixing committee by farmers decides on the price for their own commodity. The price, which is fixed by the committee, is valid for the ensuing week and communicated through SMS to all the registered farmers.

We have tried to bring in transparency at all levels... weighing is done with an electronic scale, an organic premium of five per cent is offered for in-conversion for the first and second year, and a 10 per cent premium for third year growers. We ensure cash and carry system for all purchases,” explains Mani Chinnaswamy, Managing Director.

Appachi is aware that organic cotton alone would not be enough to ensure livelihood improvement of the small and marginal farmers. Organic cotton encourages farmers to grow other organic crops such as ragi, maize, pulses and vegetables, which will be bought after the end of cotton season. We are lending technical assistance to the project,” says Mr. Arun Balamatti, Programme Coordinator.

Full article in The Hindu. Photo: Special Arrangement


The Economic Times Special Feature: Supply Chains, Sustainability, and India

 
One is India’s largest coconut buyer, another is a leading beer producer and the third the country’s first ethical-clothing brand. What binds the three is that each has infused sustainability right through their supply chain. Each has gone down to the very first step of that chain and linked it with the last step through engagements that do right by the people, the business and the planet.

Download the full article here
   


NOVEMBER

World Environment Day - TE Update

We are proud to announce that all the schools involved in our WED project have now received their beautiful originally designed certificates and each school is in the process of awarding these very deserving children for all their hard work. Further updates in regard to how each school has chosen to spend their winnings will follow shortly.

More images of Textile Exchange's WED finalists receiving recognition all over the world on Pininterest here and here!

 

 




Patagonia 100% Organic

In 1996 Patagonia made the commitment to using 100% organic cotton in our clothes, or to stop using cotton all together. "We haven't looked back. Today, we use only 100% organic cotton." Jill Dumain tells the story.


Chetna Organic - A Sustainable Model For Small Scale Farmers

Adilabad is one of the largest cotton growing districts in the country. A "modern" monocropping culture has severely compromised on food security of small farmers. In the years when crops failed, they were left with no cash and had to depend on money lenders.

Traditional wisdom and common sense told farmers such as tribal farmer Madavi Mahadu Patel that organic life in soil was critical for healthy growth of crops. But the extension system was telling him otherwise.

CHETNA ORGANIC was organising Farmer Field Schools (FFS) training, workshops, field days and demo plots to encourage farmers to take up soil and water conservation measures, diversified cropping and mixed cropping practices where food crops like jowar, paddy, red gram, vegetables, maize, green gram and others could be grown alongside cotton.

Mr. Patel was curious to know how realistic this approach was. Apparently, this initiative seemed to address all his concerns — no chemicals, improved soil fertility, low input costs, good income and food security for the entire year. Interested, he attended the trainings, and what began as curiosity, transformed into a conviction making him join Chetna Organic in 2005 as a member farmer. Read on...


A Third Of The Western Ghats To Get Protective Cover

Oct 16 The Environment Ministry has decided to turn approximately 60,000 square kilometres of the Western Ghats across six States into an Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZ), banning polluting industries. All other projects would be allowed only with the prior consent of gram sabhas (village councils) in the zone.

The decision, once formally notified, would make the identified region of the Western Ghats complex the largest protected forests in India (The Hindu).

Mani Chinnaswarmy, Appachi Eco-Logic Project "Our [organic cotton] Project falls under the ESZ1 category; and is thereby eligible for incentivisation for the promotion of sustainable agriculture to protect the zone."
 


The Story Of Solutions

Published on Oct 1, The Story of Solutions explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal.The Story of Solutions was written by Annie Leonard and Jonah Sachs, directed by Louis Fox and produced by Free Range Studios.


Organic Cotton Market Report - Just Released!

Download the Executive Summary now!

Textile Exchange is pleased to announce the release of the 2012 Organic Cotton Market Reportwith highlights on other preferred fibers.  This report includes our annual Top Ten list of companies by use of organic cotton volume and, for the first time ever, a Top Ten list of companies by percentage of organic cotton increase from 2011. Also included are key findings such as the fact that 71 percent of respondents are planning to increased organic cotton for 2013 and that additional more sustainable fibers are also slated for growth.

The full report is complimentary to TE Members and can be purchased by non-members.


OCTOBER

Vandana Shiva Talks Biodiversity and Food Security
 


Vandana Shiva on Strombo
 Physicist, food activist and thinker Vandana Shiva discusses her program that promotes local and ecological food models - Navdanya.

C&A Works To Reduce Water Footprint

As part of efforts to reduce its water usage, European clothing retailer C&A has announced a partnership with the Water Footprint Network.

The partnership has seen the retailer commission research that has found that the amount of "grey water" used was five times higher in conventional cotton than in organic cotton.

"These studies have provided us with valuable insights that will help us to further reduce our water footprint along the entire value chain," said Phil Chamberlain, head of C&A's sustainable business development and board member of the C&A Foundation.

"To this end, we are developing mandatory guidelines, instruments and trainings for our partners, cotton farmers and factory workers. Furthermore, C&A plans to work with other stakeholders and draw up possible solutions for pressing environmental issues, in order to achieve an overall improvement of water conditions worldwide."

To read the press release click here and to download the entire report here.


 

FAO research tells us that if we want to address world hunger, we must invest in “sustainable intensification” - not expensive GMO technology that threatens biodiversity and holds us hostage to a system that depends on fossil fuels, fossil water, and agrochemicals. Find out more here on the FAO website, download the Report, and follow the Blog


Texas Tech graduate student to research organic cotton

Ryan Gregory, a doctoral student at Texas Tech, researches new developments in organic cotton, and was recently announced as one of four nationwide recipients of $125,000 grants from Seed Matters to continue that research.

Jane Dever, a faculty adviser based with AgriLife, noted the research uses careful visual examination rather than expensive genetic-testing equipment.

“His research is to deal with contamination so we can focus more on important traits, like drought-tolerance.” explains Jane Dever.

Seed Matters officials aim to assist organic seed research and education to maintain an adequate crop supply. They claim plant biotechnology research receives a disproportional amount of federal funding in comparison to organic seed research, which they feel deserves more recognition.

“We want to promote more organic seed research by funding the next generation of plant breeders whose work will help protect organic seed diversity, which is the vital link for healthy and productive organic food systems,” said Matthew Dillon, director of Seed Matters, in a news release. Lubbock Online

 


 

NEW Release: Trade and Environment Report 2013

Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate

The Trade and Environment Report 2013 recommends a rapid and significant shift away from “conventional, monoculture-based… industrial production” of food [and fiber] that depends heavily on external inputs such as fertilizer, agro-chemicals, and concentrate feed. Instead, it says that the goal should be “mosaics of sustainable regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers and foster rural development”.

The report stresses that governments must find ways to factor in and reward farmers for currently unpaid public goods they provide – such as clean water, soil and landscape preservation, protection of biodiversity, and recreation. 

Read the Press Release here 
Download the full Report here


GM Crops - Special Focus on India - Series by Dilnavaz Variava

GM Crops Part 1: The truth about genetically modified foods There are inherent risks and dangers if India were to adopt genetically modified crops. Here is an expose about several myths surrounding GM crops. This is the first part of a three-part series.

GM Crops Part 2: The myth about food security The hype for promoting GM is that it increases food security. India produced bumper stocks of food grains, all without GM, yet 200 million people are hungry. GM will not address the issues of poverty, poor storage and corruption, which deprive the poor of food. This is the second part of a three-part series.

GM Crops Part 3: The economics of genetically modified food The vast diversity of seeds developed by farmers over centuries, with special characteristics in drought or flood tolerance, taste and medicinal properties is often lost when corporate control of seed promotes a few varieties in which heavy investments have been made and high profits are to be reaped. This is the concluding part of the three-part series.


SEPTEMBER

Organic September - Small Changes: Big Difference - NEW INFOGRAHPIC!

Soil Association's "Organic September" will be celebrated widely in the UK this month.

As part of the celebrations SA release their new Cotton On Infographic - take a look!

The Organic Fashion & Textiles Weekend on 21-22 September will be a focal point for organic textiles and fashion brands and retailers. Find out more here.

The 'Wear organic - kinder, greener, better' toolkit including posters and postcard can be downloaded here.
 

 


 MUNICHFABRICSTART - 3rd to 5th September 

 

More than 850 exhibitors from 37 different countries display an abundant collection of more than 1,300 fabrics and trims twice a year, in five areas, to a selected audience of experts in the trade.

Organic Selection The term ″organic“ has long since become synonymous with quality. This is a topic that, as one of Europe’s leading fabric/textile trade fairs, MUNICHFABRICSTART would like to illuminate. 

At MUNICHFABRICSTART an Eco Village will provide a service center for professionals, who are searching for a direct connection to certified and non-profit organizations for more sustainability and environmental awareness. Textile Exchange will be located at the Eco Village, we would love to see you there!

Find out more about MUNICHFABRICSTART, the Organic Selection, and the Eco Village here.

Download the full Organic Selection brochure here.


Genetically Modified or Organic Farming: Which Will Sustain a Growing Nation?

Posted by Andrew Flachs 
in Explorers Journal National Geographic
3rd September


In a place where population growth is moving incredibly fast, added pressure on farmers in India in the wake of crushing debt and failed crops calls for a new agricultural approach. 

Genetic modification and organic farming present promising solutions.

Young Explorer and PhD candidate Andrew Flachs investigates the effect of both growing strategies by interviewing farmers in Southern India.

In the newly formed state of Telangana, India, the high-tech science of genetic modification is mediated by a 6,000 year old farming tradition. .


Siddhi Kushwah - TE's World Environment Day Ambassador - in Spotlight on Independence Day

Since being awarded Textile Exchange's Ambassador for World Environment Day, the talented young Siddhi Kushwah has become a national figure for organic cotton agriculture, rural livelihoods, and represents the urgent call for inter-generational sustainability. In the images below Siddhi is presented with a number of awards and recognition as part of India's Independence Day (August 15th) celebrations.

Siddhi - we could not be more proud!  

 

Images from left to right: Siddhi delivering her speach on cotton sustainability; Celebrations in Siddhi's home village: Local Government officers awards Siddhi for her contribution to sustainability and title as TE's WED Ambassador; Mr. Dirk Teichert, MD, Control Union Certifications India Pvt. Ltd. hands Siddhi an award; Tree planting - commemorating Independence Day 2013.


AUGUST

Commitment 2020 - Clothing Sector Leaders Commit To Reducing Water, Carbon and Waste

The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) in the UK has a commitment to reduce the environmental ‘footprint’ of clothing throughout its life. 

Companies representing more than a third of UK clothing sales have signed up to the SCAP 2020 Commitment. Textile Exchange has been actively involved in the process and fully supports this initiative. 

Thirty companies have signed up so far, they will use a specially developed footprint calculator to report the total global impacts of the clothes they make, sell and recover. The footprint calculator tool enables companies to quantify the impact of a wide range of improvement actions. The choice of organic fibre is one of the specified improvement actions.

Find out more on the SCAP website here and download the SCAP Signatory Measuring and Reporting brief.



Ecology & Farming Talks Seed Security

Crops and seeds are not only a source of life; they are also a fundamental precondition for our being.

In the last 20 years there has been a tremendous concentration of control of seeds by a handful of multinational corporations. This has been accompanied by a massive erosion of both seed diversity and seed independence.

Ecology & Farming's Bernward Geier brings an indepth review of seed security to the table in "Save Our Seeds" - read the full article here.


Tchibo - Organic Cotton - From Pyramid To Circle...

Textile Exchange member Tchibo partnered TE Europe Board member Mani Chinnaswamy, Appachi Cotton, to produce a fabulous new organic cotton promotional video. Another wonderful inspiring story of collaboration - TE sends our congratulations to all involved! To visit Tchibo website click here.

For Tchibo organic cotton plays an important role on the way to sustainable operations. This 3-minute film (released July 10) shows the importance of environmentally sound cultivation for farmers, producers and customers. 

Tchibo was awarded the 2013 CSR Award of the Federal Government, and in 2012, the Corporate Ethics and the Environment Award for Logistics.

The TE Future Shapers case study on Appachi Cotton / Ethicus can be found here.


JULY

New Research: Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production

Published in June 2013, the article Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest rapidly became the most read paper inInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, going viral on social media sites and securing in excess of 8,000 article views in just two weeks. The research was conducted by Melanie Massaro, Dorien S. Coray, Sarah Zanon Agapito-Tenfen, Jiajun Dale Wen and Jack Heinemann, who offers his thoughts on the paper and how it may be applied to future study in the field.

In the interview, Prof. Heinemann summarizes the key findings of the study; namely that GM cropping systems appear to be eroding yields compared to the equally modern agroecosystems of Western Europe and that both herbicide and insecticide use trends are increasing in the US as opposed to Western Europe which shows a downward trend in this. He also cites evidence of a contraction in farmer choices in seed types in the US, comparing it to the reverse for (non-GM adoption) European countries and refers to a study which found higher germplasm diversity in non-GM adoption European countries compared to Spain, a GM adoption country.

Read the interview with Jack Heinemann

Open source online access to full research paper via the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability or via Environmental Sciences Europe.


Interview with Doug Tompkins 

Doug Tompkins is certainly more than a household name in the world of fashion. He is the founder of the brands North Face and ESPRIT. He had grown ESPRIT into a billion dollar company by the time he sold his majority shares, over 20 years ago.

Focusing his engagement and activities on Chile and Argentina, where he lived for a long time, he has become a part of thePatagonian mythology. Never really interested in owning land he became most likely the biggest landowner of nature conservation land in the world. Starting with close to 300,000 hectares of volcanos, mountains, rainforest and rivers brought together to form the Pumalin Park. Together with his wife Kris, Doug bought up over a million hectares in Chile and Argentina to dedicate it to the conservation and the protection of fast disappearing biodiversity and wilderness.

Kris and Doug have become world famous for their philanthropic nature conservation activities. However, less is known about their activities in the area of organic agriculture. Read Bernward Geier's interview withDoug Tompkins in our latest issue of Engage.


Introducing.... Organic and ecologically produced wool!

Spotlight on Australia

Plevna Downs is Australia's largest organic wool operation and an excellent example of how a family operation is combining organics and animal ethics to produce a magnificent natural fibre. The Mackenzie family have been on Plevna Downs for a number of generations and currently produce Australia's largest organic wool clip. Visit Plevna Downs

Mumblebone Merino Stud Chad and Louise Taylor see "long term profitability in agriculture as a direct function of ecological health" and that philosophy is behind every decision they make on their land.

VisitMumblebone Merino Stud. Image: courtesy of Chad Taylor


First Debate on Sustainable Consumption in Milan

The Debate: Gucci, Marks and Spencer, Puma and CLASS were among various brands and stakeholders from the fashion industry who took part in the debate ‘Wear, treat and share – redesigning the utilisation of fashion’.

The eco-fashion show: A fashion show featuring innovative ingredients that are 100% made in Italy, respectful of the right utilisation of raw materials and all the production processes, took place at the end of the panel discussion and was organised collaboratively by  CLASS and NICE (Nordic Initiative Clean & Ethical).

The collections: Included... goodsociety is a brand that manufactures fashionable and responsible denim garments for men and women. The brand chooses to use only organic cotton for their leaders certified GOTS. Bioneuma collection is developed with the use of two natural raw materials, organic wool and organic cotton. H&M, by turn, has just launched a new collection of partywear this spring, made from sustainable materials, including organic cotton, recycled polyamide and Tencel.

For the full article see Knittingindustry


TE - World Environment Day Ambassador - Siddhi Kushwah makes the News!

21st June: In celebration of her new title as TE World Environment Day Ambassador, Siddi is congratulated by the State Chief Minister Mr. Shivrajsingh Chouhan.

Coming soon will be an English translation of Siddhi's World Environment Day message (currently in Hindi).

To view all World Environment Day winning entries please visit the WED webpage



 

 



JUNE

In India, Farmers Pick Heartier Seeds Over Those With High Yields

17 June: As part of the series “Food for 9 Billion” American Public Media's Marketplace, and the Center for Investigative Reporting in partnership with Public Radio International's "The World", Homelands Productions look at food security and how climate change is affecting what we produce and how we eat.

Special correspondent Sam Eaton reports from India on how farmers are turning to ancient seeds to keep their crops viable in the future.


June 5th - Happy World Environment Day!

Textile Exchange is proud to have partnered 24 of our member brands, retailers, manufacturers, and organic cotton producer groups for World Environment Day. Together we supported 12 local schools, many in the heart of an organic cotton growing community. 

We used the theme THINK EAT SAVE to promote food security and nutrition. We did this by raising school children’s awareness of the traditional food crops grown alongside cotton. Read more here.

We are delighted to announce our World Environment Day Ambassador, Siddhi Kushwah from the Swayam Academy in India. View Siddhi performing her WED message, and all our WED masterpieces here. Admire the children's preparation for WED on Pinterest! Click here.

The TE team would like to express our warmest gratitude to all our members and friends for their support / participation in WED. We would particularly like to thank all the wonderful children for their hard work and inspiring WED creations!
 


Lifestyle Brand MUJI to Develop Local Handicraft Producers in Cambodia, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan

June 2 Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI has announced the development of an eco-friendly natural dyeing plant in Cambodia, as part as its commitment to the Business Call to Action (BCtA). MUJI has also committed to buying organic cotton from suppliers who engage in sustainable sourcing practice including small scale farmers from Tanzania, Egypt and India. Read more about MUJI activties and the BCtA in CSRwire.
 


Farm & Fiber Report - Out Now!

Textile Exchange is delighted to announce the release of our 2012 Farm & Fiber Report. This year’s report once again builds upon the themes from our previous Farm & Fiber and Market Reports and provides you with unique data, trends and analysis of organic cotton production. 

As with last year’s report, we have included annual snapshots of other cotton sustainability initiatives, including the Better Cotton Initiative, Fairtrade, and Cotton made in Africa, in order to give you the most comprehensive perspective on cotton agriculture.

For your reading pleasure, the report is broken out into 6 sections:

part 1: the report summary
part 2: cotton – towards a greener landscape
part 3: organic cotton – regional insights
part 4: a closer look at Fairtrade
part 5: cotton sustainability initiatives
part 6: organizations advancing cotton sustainability

We are offering this Report free of charge to you and your organization because we feel that this information is highly useful and should be widely dispersed. Please take advantage of this opportunity!

To gain access to the report please click here.

IIED publication: Voices and flavours of the earth: Visualising food sovereignty in the Andes

Voices and flavours of the earth: Visualising food sovereignty in the Andes  (Los Sabores y las Voces de la Tierra: Visualizando la Soberanía Alimentaria en los Andes) is a multimedia publication that uses video, audio, images and text to describe how indigenous communities are drawing on their knowledge and cosmovisions to rethink the priorities and governance of food and agricultural research in the Andean Altiplano of Bolivia and Peru. 

Download the full publication or individual chapters in English or Spanish here. 

 
 


MAY

An agro-ecological vision for US agriculture

The Union of Concerned Scientists has emphasized the urgent importance of agro-ecological solutions to address the dismal state of U.S. agriculture which it describes as a "dead end". Citing how the country's industrial food production system has been detrimental to air, water, soil and human health, it says that agro-ecological farming or what it calls "healthy farms" are the way forward for sustainable food production and will be far better for the people, the environment and the economy.

It provides a clear description of what a healthy farm will be. First of all, a healthy farm will satisfy three critical indicators: high productivity; economic viability (which includes fair working conditions); and environmental stewardship. To meet these criteria, a healthy farm will be characterized by four factors: (1) multi-functionality, meaning that it serves food production as well as social, economic and environmental goals; (2) regeneration of soil and biodiversity; (3) biodiversity in choice of crops, livestock and land; and (4) interconnectedness with the environment around it. A healthy farm will thus necessarily apply the following ecological practices: (1) a landscape approach which optimizes the beneficial role of uncultivated areas on a farm; (2) the use of crop diversity and crop rotation; (3) integration of crops and livestock; and (4) the use of cover crops. Download the full report here.


Directory of IFOAM Affiliates 2013

The Directory of Affiliates 2013 not only includes an individual listing of the over 870 IFOAM Affiliates (Members, Associates, and Supporters) in 120 countries, it also provides an introduction to IFOAM's numerous groups.

To access the online Directory click here.

Please click here to download a PDF version of the Directory.

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Seeds of Freedom

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Seeds of Freedom is a short film that was launched online in 2012 – it charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system. Seeds Of Freedom.


APRIL

Earth Day 22nd April - The Face Of Climate Change

THEME Climate change can seem like a remote problem for our leaders, but the fact is that it’s already impacting real people, animals, and beloved places. This face of climate change is growing every day. Fortunately, a different face of climate change is also growing: those stepping up to do something about it.

Visit Earth Day 2013 to find out more.

 

 

Soil Association & GOTS - Have You Cottoned On - Support For Earth Day

 

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10 Sentences - Brand values and the supply chain

Brand values are important, they allow organisations to be the best they can be. They are the glue that hold corporate communities together. But we can’t do it all alone. We need good partners to help us realise our potential.

Communicating brand values within a supply chain is crucial to the success of every partnership.

The deeper the supply chain, the more relevant this form of communication becomes. It’s about knowing who you are and understanding who you are working with.

This book serves as an introduction to the benefits of communicating values throughout the supply chain.

Shared on the 2degrees network: Supply Chain group.

 


Supply Chain Transparency - forging better relationships with suppliers

12 April At TE we talk constantly about supply chains- risks, opportunities, but mostly about how to build fairer and more mutually beneficial relationships.

On the Guardians "Supply Chain Hub" today Katharine Earley gives us some pointers. A couple of gems from her article include:

  • Getting robust data is great, but retailers must take this further by understanding suppliers' business challenges, offering support and developing long-term relationships.
  • Tackling industry-wide issues collectively can accelerate the pace of change in a cost-effective way.
  • Empowering the supplier who holds the direct relationship with companies further down the supply chain is also important.
  • Telling the story' of how sustainability links to business growth using real life examples is essential. Suppliers should also be encouraged to tell their story back to their customers, clarifying the progress they're making on specific sustainability challenges.

Read the full article in The Guardian.


FOCUS ON USA

Patagonia Footprint Chronicles - Grown in the USA

One of Patagonia's first partners in growing organic cotton in the mid-90s, the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (TOCMC) is still farming strong out on the high plains of Texas. West Texas is prime land for growing cotton organically, because of low insect pressure, a timely freeze to defoliate the cotton without the use of chemical agents, and enough rainfall to dryland-farm a healthy amount of the cotton. Visit Patagonia Footprint Chronicles.


Made in the USA - Cottons from the Carolinas

10th April In this great article about organic cotton and a sense of identity, Victoria Bouloubasis chats with Eric Henry of TS Designs about Cottons from the Carolinas...

“Through the globalization of the textile industry, everyone puts [their cotton] in silos and sells it to a broker,” says Henry. “Once that broker buys that cotton, and buys from a lot of other people with essentially the same quality, you don’t really know where it came from. The ‘country of origin’ is required by law, but that’s only the last place it was. It’s impossible to go backwards.”

Despite the bleak industrial model in which we find ourselves, demand for locally grown organic cotton is on the rise. States with a relative abundance of conventional cotton are ramping up efforts to increase the viability of growing it organically. Read the full story.


MARCH

Help Build a Hub for Social Entrepreneurs

21 March Ashoka fellow Gijs Spoor, inspired in his youth by an organic cotton farmer from Rajasthan, is now supporting entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu, South India.

Through a social entrepreneurship crowdfunding campaign Gijs hopes to reach out to 1,000 people in India who have the talent and the passion needed to take on some of the biggest problems in this country like poverty, hunger, disease and pollution.

"These people are social entrepreneurs. Some may go on to shape national policy, others concentrate on transforming their local community. You can be a part of this movement by supporting our crowdfunding campaign" says Gijs.

Watch the short clip about one of the early stage social entrepreneurs Snehal Trivedi, empowering people to grow their own food and medicine.

 

UnLtd Tamil Nadu investee Heal The Soil CSA is a sustainable agriculture project promoting permaculture based kitchen gardens that heal the soil and thereby the people, and society. See http://www.healthesoilcsa.org.


Soil Association 2013 Organic Market Report

20th March: Soil Association 2013 Organic Market Report reveals significant areas of growth in organic sales.

The Organic Market Report published by the Soil Association on the 20th of March, highlights key areas of growth in online retail, independent outlets and a shift towards younger consumers during 2012.

Overall, the market has dipped by 1.5% as the UK continues through its most challenging economic downturn for many decades. In the Report Foreword, Rob Sexton Chief Executive of the Soil Association says the UK government is "out of step".

"European sales of organic products have increased by more than 25% since the start of the global economic downturn in 2008. Our government has much to learn from its European counterparts, who back the organic sector strongly through a combination of environmentally based producer support, firm targets for public-sector procurement
of organic, and investment in promoting organic products." says Rob Sexton

However, the report predicts a positive future for the UK organic market.

Read the Report Summary or download the Full Report.


The Hindu: Weaving Livelihood Through Cultivating Organic Cotton

March 21: “Today, this village does not worry about pests on cotton. They use their simple, naturally made bio-pesticides to control any pest problems,” says Mr. Ananthoo, co- convener of ASHA —Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture — and coordinator of Safe Food Alliance, Tamil Nadu and an organisation called Restore in Chennai.

Read the full article here. Articles, such as this, on sustainable agriculture will now be posted in The Hindu on a regular basis.


FOCUS ON AFRICA...

Helvetas Supporting the Growth of Organic in West Africa

A look at how the Swiss NGO Helvetas assists cotton producers financially and technically and links them to international buyers.

Puma Launches Fair-Trade, African-Made “Wilderness” Apparel Collection

Puma has released a line of apparel, footwear, and accessories inspired by the landscape and climate of Africa. Primarily sourced and manufactured in Kenya in collaboration with Wildlife Works, which runs an "eco-factory" in Rukinga. More than 80 percent of apparel styles are derived from fair-trade cotton, which not only pays workers an equitable price for sustainably produced cotton, but also provides them with an additional premium for investing in community projects such as education, health care, farming, and infrastructure. Read more in Ecouterre and visit PUMA online.

and...

Diesel + EDUN - A Denim Collection Born In Africa

In January 2012 Diesel founder Renzo Rosso and EDUN's Ali Hewson and Bono traveled to Africa to find out more about each other's programs: Diesel's Only the Brave Foundation initiative in Diori, Mali, and EDUN's Conservation Cotton Initiative in Uganda. The two brands decided to join forces to promote apparel trade and development in Africa, and Diesel + EDUN was born. Available online and in stores this month, the 25-piece collection is sourced and made entirely in Africa using CCI cotton from Uganda.


NEW REPORT: Empowering Women is Shortcut to Tackling Hunger

March 4: A report on “Women’s rights and the right to food” has been submitted to the Human Rights Council by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter. The report discusses the threats to women's right to food, identifying the areas that demand the most urgent attention. It examines successively the obstacles women face in access to employment, social protection and the productive resources needed for food production, food processing and value chain development.

“Sharing power with women is a shortcut to reducing hunger and malnutrition, and is the single most effective step to realizing the right to food,” said the Special Rapporteur, who also urged governments to adopt transformative food security strategies that address cultural constraints and redistribute roles between women and men.

Read the full report and the executive summary.    


Fairtrade Foundation Partner The Guardian for Fairtrade Fortnight

It's that time of the year again in the UK "Fairtrade Fortnight" (running from 25th Feb - 10th March). This year, the Fairtrade Foundation in partnership with The Guardian bring us articles, discussions, debates, and more via the Guardian Sustainable Business - Supply Chain Hub

If you enjoy photo-journalism you will get a thrill out of this Fairtrade photo gallery from the Fairtrade cotton fields of Senegal, courtesy of Max Havelaar.

More about Fairtrade Foundation and "Taking A Step for Fairtrade" - The Fairtrade Fortnight campaign.


 


Aratex - New "Ara"Collection for 2013

Together with 4 other Paraguayan companies, “ara” has launched their spring/summer 2013 collection for babies and children. This beautiful organic cotton collection is called “kokore”, inspired by the Paraguayan traditional hand-crafted lucky clay hens.

Find out more about Aratex and view their delightful infants clothing presentedhere. Also take a read of our Aratex case study.
.

 


FEBRUARY 

The Future of Farming

The Future of Farming, The Rise of the Rural Entrepreneur takes the reader on a journey through the challenges of global food security; including macro perspectives and inspiring stories of leading farmers. Distribution will start mid March. The video here sets the scene.

More about "Global Food Security a Share Responsibility" available online here.


Ethicus founders believe "Identity" is key!

February 24: Mani Chinnaswamy and Vijayalakshmi Nachiar of Ethicus share their story with The Hindu.

The couple have an ambitious agenda to revive the pride and passion for organic farming, textile artisanal production, saris, and conserving the Western Ghats - UNESCO heritage listed- home to India's remaining tigers.

“Native seeds are hardy, and the shine and lustre of the cotton is intrinsically built into our picking and weaving traditions. Our interest lies in protecting our own identity,” says Mani.

Each of their products carries a tag with a picture of the weaver, his name, how long he took to weave it. “We didn’t want to sell a product; we wanted to tell a story,” insists Vijayalakshmi.

Ethicus is one of Textile Exchanges' Future Shapers.


News From Nicaragua - Its havest time!

COPROEXNIC is growing by leaps and bounds. They are hiring three more staff members, outgrown the office space they are using, and are looking for ways to expand!

Organic cotton is being harvested; the gin will be running and hiring 18 people.

About the CDCA’s Organic Cotton project: Cotton was once a major crop for Nicaragua but due to monoculture and excessive use of pesticides production deteriorated. The CDCA is promoting an integrated project to reintroduce organic cotton production in Nicaragua and provide a market to purchase this raw cotton. Small organic farmers working with the agricultural cooperative (COPROEXNIC) of the CDCA are incorporating organic cotton into their current crop rotations.

Find out more about Coproexnic here and on the TE Find A Producer.


NEW Report: Down To Earth - Organic Threads

Authors: Aparna Pallavi, M Suchitra, Jyotika Sood
Issue Date: Feb 28, 2013

February 21: Aparna Pallavi reports from the cotton belt of Maharasthra and Madhya Pradesh, and M Suchitra from Andhra Pradesh. Jyotika Sood writes about international non-profits that are venturing into alternative methods of more sustainable cotton production.

"Under rain-fed conditions, organic cotton flowers twice in a season" says farmer Tilok Chand Bhuria of Khamlai village in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargon district. “Bt, on the other hand, flowers only once a season unless irrigated very well.” Bhuria switched to organic with help from Maikaal BioRe six years ago. His cultivation cost has dropped. “In Bt the maximum saving is Rs 5,000 per acre. After converting to organic farming, I can save Rs 10,000,” he says.

Read full article online or download the pdf.

 

Interview with Juli and Vivek

Vivek and Juli Cariappa are Krishi Pandit awardees (recognition for contribution to farming) and dedicated organic farmers based in H D Kote taluk in Mysore. They have been practising organic farming since 1986.

In a frank interview with M Suchitra, they talk about the challenges and way forward for organic cotton.

"I have suggested the state should make it mandatory that all seed companies marketing cotton seeds in the state must ensure that of the total seeds marketed, a minimum of 20 per cent, should be non-Bt seed."

Read the full interview here..



Texas Observer - Seeds Of Discontent

by Eva Hershaw

February 7th: Eva Hershaw writes about the challenges faced by organic cotton farmers, of co-existing with genetically modified cotton, drawing on the experiences and insight of LaRhea Pepper.

"Under current patent law, organic farmers are responsible for keeping genetically modified varieties out of their fields. Failure to do so puts farmers in violation of patent law and exposes them to a potential lawsuit, and should the contamination exceed 5 percent, it could cost them organic certification.

Read the full article online or download the pdf.


JANUARY

BioRe - Record Organic Cotton Crop in Tanzania

As reported recently in Ecotextile News, African organic cotton project bioRe has forecasted a big harvest of 10,000 tons of organic seed cotton in Tanzania for the cropping season of 2012/13.

According to a statement from bioRe, this increase in yield is primarily due to the rain.

“The rainfall period usually lasts from November to February, followed by a drought until March. Duration of rainfall from March onward is the key. This year has seen good rain fall from mid-March until mid-May, which resulted in the record crop substantiated by these figures: on average, 313 kg of organic cotton will be harvested per acre versus only half as much last year.” Visit bioRe webiste.

  


 

 

30 January - New Worldwatch Institute report examines the growth of global organic agricultural practices and their impact on food security and the environment

New research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute shows that the global land area farmed organically has expanded more than threefold to 37 million hectares since 1999. Organic farming is now established in international standards, and 84 countries had implemented organic regulations by 2010, up from 74 countries in 2009.

Taking into account that the majority of population growth is concentrated in the world’s poorest countries, it is to be expected that sustainable food production will become increasingly important in developing countries. Find out more and purchase the full report here. Download a pdf of the report summary.



India - Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh supports organic farming 

28 January: India's Congress Party 'guru" makes strong statements about organic agriculture.  "... I have not seen any farmer doing organic farming committing suicide. If we use organic manure, organic pesticide and indigenous seeds, there is no [financial] investment. Most of the suicides that are taking place may also be because of the wrong cropping pattern. I think we should look at the prospect of making organic farming more popular."

Read more excerpts in The Hindu Business Line

 



UK Premiere:
 Cotton For My Shoud

19 January As part of the Investigative Film Week 2013, Cotton for my Shroud investigates the ongoing farmer suicide crisis in India and the culpability of the multinational Monsanto and the Indian government. It examines the strategy of multinational corporations to control seed supply, and corrupt politicians' willingness to help in this second colonisation of India.

Watch the preview here...

The One World review can be read here


Alabama Chanin - Organic Cotton + Barbeque Picking

"The skies were blue; the fields were alive with eager hands; we were standing in high cotton.

Possibly the most difficult and most meaningful journey that Alabama Chanin undertook this year was that of learning about and growing organic cotton. Early this year we began to research, in earnest, what it would mean to grow our own organic cotton. We knew that it would be no easy task, so with help from experts like Lynda Grose and the people at Textile Exchange, we began to educate ourselves and determine if it would even be possible to undertake growing organic cotton in modern-day Alabama."

Delight in the full blog, heart-warming video (below) and stunning harvest photography here.

 

 



Enjoy this beautiful film by Katherine at Eggton capturing the fun and excitement of the first harvest. Fabulous music by Hackensaw Boys!


New Video from Fairtrade International: On the Trail of Fairtrade Cotton

Cotton is the main cash crop for many in Senegal and a vital source of income. Follow the Fairtrade team as they head 650 kilometres from the capital Dakar to Senegal’s cotton basin, a poor region cut off from the rest of the world. From humble beginnings, many farmers are now Fairtrade certified… and reaping the benefits.

Listen to cotton farmers talk about the concrete benefits Fairtrade has brought to their communities. But also about the challenges they are facing.


Egypt - Sewing Dolls for SEKEM: Four Women Tell Their Stories

SEKEM is engaged in the EconoWin project funded by the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) to achieve better integration of women into the workforce. Four women working for SEKEM’s textile company tell their very personal stories.

Read the full article in the latest release of SEKEM Insights.

 

 



A word from...

Arun Chandra Ambatipudi - Together we can make the world a healthier place!

Chetna Organic is a smallholder farmer-owned and professionally managed organization working towards improving the livelihood options for smallholder households in the rainfed regions of India, through making farming systems socially, ecologically and economically more sustainable. Chetna Organic has a membership base of over 15,000 organic and fair-trade certified farmers at present and targeting to reach 30,000 farming households by 2015.

Arun Chandra Ambatipudi, Chief Executive, Chetna Organic writes from his office in Hyderabad, about Textile Exchange...

Read Arun's messgage here.

 

 

A Word from...

Orlando Rivera – Takes on new role as TE Board Member

Bergman Rivera is a Swedish-Peruvian company, and pioneer in the promotion of organic cotton and sustainable textiles since 1986. They work closely with many organic cotton farmers in different valleys of Peru and have strong partnerships with GOTS certified facilities in that country. They empower small farmers to change their lives by transitioning to organic agriculture and helping them be self-sufficient and develop new related sustainable businesses. Bergman Rivera´s objective is to supply the market with organic cotton products of utmost quality, while preserving the environment.

Orlando Rivera, Chief Executive of Bergman Rivera and new Board member of Textile Exchange, reflects on his relationship with TE over the years... Read Orlando's message here.



New Year message from us all at TE