What happened in 2012


A Must Watch - Let's Talk About Soil 

This animated film tells the reality of soil resources around the world, covering the issues of degradation, urbanization, land grabbing and overexploitation; the film offers options to make the way we manage our soils more sustainable.

For more information visit globalsoilweek.org

Converging Top Quality Fashion with Ecological and Social Integrity

4 Dec 2012

Rhett Godfrey, the sustainability coordinator at Loomstate, discusses how, through his passion for environmental science and development, he decided to work within the fashion industry and focus on making sustainability stylish...

"Our 100% organic cotton collections use fibre grown with natural pest controls like trap crops and organic replants, such as neem and chrysanthemum oil. Together with natural fertilization techniques like crop rotation and organic composts and manures, our cotton reaches the height of health and quality, both for our fibre and our natural environment; it’s a win-win proposition by any measure."

Read Rhett's blog in Urban Times.

Who Grew My Jeans?

George Thomas: After nine months in the making, Soil Association launched the world's first organic cotton campaign in October, and so far the response has been overwhelming! When Peter Melchett (Soil Association Policy Director) challenged the textile industry to "Cotton On to Organic" at the Sustainable Textile Conference in Hong Kong, pioneering brands, farmer cooperatives and NGOs told us they were relieved and delighted that the organic movement is speaking out about cotton. It was great to get the campaign off the ground. Read Georgina's bloge here

Report Urges New Development Agenda For Small-scale Farming

30 November

Small-scale farmers are being cast as the future guardians of global food security, as new partners with big business, and as central to the adaptation of agriculture to climate change.

A three-year study of the ways small-scale farmers operate in Africa, Asia and Latin America has prompted calls for a major rethink of development and business interventions.

The IIED – Hivos project’s final report — published 29 November — shows how mainstream efforts to make markets work for poor farmers can fail to operate in tune with the ways such farmers themselves try to make their markets work.

 Read the Guardian Sustainable Business blog.  

 Download the full report from the IIED website. 

Pants to Poverty - The Bonk of Pants

British ethical underwear brand, Pants to Poverty, launched the UK's first fashion Crowdfunding campaign to raise £100 K in 100 days to prove that fashion can change the world! The bonk will return to lenders an annual interest of 10.2%, 3% in cash and 7.2% in the greatest pants on the planet plus social and environmental profits from cotton to bottom!

For more info head to the bonk at: www.buzzbnk.org/bonkofpants 

Textile Exchange Conference - Future Shapers Awards Ceremony and Launch of Book

Organic cotton pioneers from all over the world were celebrated in a floating Awards ceremony whilst cruising Hong Kong harbour on Thursday night, October 4th - As part of the Textile Exchange Future Shapers program.

10 Years 10 Stories - commemorative book

The 10 Future Shapers are detailed in a unique book published to mark the 10thanniversary of Textile Exchange. Packed with photographs and the stories of the companies, it provides a lasting record of their achievements. Read more.

Purchase your copy of this unique and visually beautiful book here.



Organic Farmers vs. Monsanto - Appeal Scheduled

21 November

WASHINGTON, ME – On November 21, 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., announced that it would hear the Appeal of Dismissal in Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto at 10am on Thursday, January 10, 2013.

The Court said it will hear an appeal in a landmark case filed by a group of U.S. organic farmers, who fear a patent-infringement lawsuit by biotech giant Monsanto Co. in the event its genetically modified (GM) seed traits contaminated their fields inadvertently through cross-pollination.

Read full article in Food Freedom News. Image: "The True Administration of Justice is the Firmest Pillar of Good Government", credit: OSGATA

Organic Agriculture Supported in Odisha, India

6 November

The state of Odisha formulated a progressive agriculture policy in 2008 under which special focus has been given to organic farming. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said the state government is planning to set up a separate agency for certification of organic products. 

Stating that organic farming will also be introduced as a compulsory subject at both degree and post-graduate level in the state Agriculture University, Patnaik said consumption of chemical fertilisers and pesticides were significantly low in Odisha compared to the national average.

Our agriculture policy also has a resolution to include organic farming in the syllabus at school level,” Chief Minister Patnaik said. Read the full article in The Hindu


IFOAM magazine: Ecology and Farming

The magazine Ecology and Farming is published by IFOAM and covers developments of organic agriculture worldwide, including production, research, agropolitics and cutting edge news along with conference reports and book reviews. Each issue has a special focus on organic agriculture.

Read the latest Issue here.

For back Issues please visit: http://www.ifoam.org/press/magazine.html

Eileen Fisher "Ampersand" Stories - Fairtrade Organic Cotton Sweaters ... Stories from Peru

This family-friendly supply chain is thoughtfully conceived from field to factory. The cotton is organic, which means that farm workers are not exposed to harmful pesticides. Dyes sidestep toxins, meeting the criteria of the Global Organic Textile Standard. And the fair trade model not only stipulates higher pay, it calls for investment in communities.

This is big picture sustainability.” says Scott Leonard, co-founder of Indigenous Designs. “It’s about sustaining health through environmentally friendly materials and sustaining communities by providing stable work.”

Read the inspiring story and watch the beutiful video here.

Fast Fashion: A Story of Consumption and Waste

Professor Tonya Boone draws upon her research on sustainable supply chains to discuss the impact of fashion industry on the environment and the implications of fast fashion for India.

Published in Rediff Business India Abroad. View slides in printable version here.




Rural 21: Current Issue - Organic Farming (special report)

For a well balanced insight into the opportunities and challenges facing organic agriculture and to hear what the experts have to say in answer to some of the Big Questions TE encourages you to take a read...

* Is organic agriculture able to feed a growing world population, or will it always remain a fine but small niche?
* Can smallholders in the South achieve stable incomes by converting to organic production? Or is it possibly even grossly negligent to entice them to join the markets – doubtlessly expanding – for organic food as they may never actually be able to enter them due to the high quality standards and entry costs? 

Rural 21 is the International Journal for Rural Development. Access the latest Issue here.


The Launch of Soil Association 'Have You Cottoned On?" Campaign

The world’s first global organic cotton campaign launched at Textile Exchange's Sustainable Textiles Conference on October 4th. Speaking at the Conference in Hong Kong, Peter Melchett – the Soil Association’s policy director – asked textile industry leaders: “Have you cottoned on yet?”

Worldwide demand for organic cotton is set to grow by at least 10% in 2011-2012. Without commitment from brands, it is farmers who bear the social, environmental and economic risks associated with cotton production. The campaign is launched by the Soil Association and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the leading standard for organic textile processing.

Consumers, manufacturers, brands and NGOs are urged to “cotton on” to organic by signing up on the new micro-site www.cottonedon.org, uniting supporters of sustainable cotton across the globe.


Javier Bardem Wears Gucci Organic!

24 October 2012

Skyfall, Film Premier: Javier Bardem (the Spanish actor who plays James Bond's nemesis Silva, in the latest Bond film) walked the red carpet in London in his 'eco' tuxedo.

Javier is the first man to wear Gucci for the Green Carpet Challenge. Here he is wearing a black three-piece Signoria tuxedo made from 100 per cent organic wool with recycled satin lapel and trim detail, a 100 per cent organic cotton white dress shirt, and a recycled satin bowtie.

Excerpt taken from Livia Firth's blog, in Vogue - read the full account here. Picture credit: Rex Features.

Follow the Green Carpet Challenge with Ecouterre.


Puma Environmental P&L Paves Way for New Eco-Collection

8 October 2012 

Following an analysis from the company’s 2010 Environmental Profit and Loss Account (E P&L), Puma says it determined that 57% of its environmental impact was associated with the production of raw materials such as leather, cotton and rubber. To combat this, the new InCycle collection only uses raw materials such as biodegradable polymers, recycled polyester and organic cotton in order to eliminate pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other hazardous chemicals. 

Puma is launching an entire line of apparel, shoes, and accessories that is either completely biodegradable or recyclable and 100% Cradle-to-Cradle Basic certified. The new line will be in stores in Spring/ Summer 2013.

Full article EcoTextle News

Initiatives For Sustainable Cotton

The Vision: Cotton is the most sustainable and, therefore most desired fibre. Collective actions of stake-holders in the cotton industry ensure the fibre makes a positive impact on people and the environment along the entire value chain.

The cotton industry and its stakeholders will fulfil this vision by ensuring that:

  • Ecosystem assets are valued and protected
  • Sustainable livelihoods are available to all producers
  • Closed loop production is the norm
  • Collaboration and transparency extends throughout the supply chain
  • Sustainability defines product value

Find out more:

Meet Cotton Expert - Harry Cotton...


 Tohoku Cotton Project, Japan


On March 11th, 2011, the terrible earthquake occurred in Tohoku - the north east part of Japan, and a huge area farmland was cover with salty water from the sea by the Tsunami.

The Tohoku Cotton Project, works with farmers to plant cotton where the farmers cannot produce rice and other crops and aims to restart the farming there. A cause-related marketing initiative will enable fashion companies to put consumers in touch with the products “Cotton from Tohoku”.

The project has a vision to produce the cotton organically. Mitsuya Inagaki, Production Manager (Lifestyle Business Division) at Kowa Ltd saysIt might be difficult, but we endeavor to make a bridge from Tohoku to our future society".

He adds "We do this project on the platform of farmers, cotton manufacturers, apparels and brands, retailers and consumers to encourage the recovery for people in Tohoku area continuously".



Lord Melchett to speak at RITE Group conference

Lord Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association, is the latest high profile speaker to be announced for the Rite Group Conference which takes place in London on 10 October.

During his presentation, Lord Melchett will be providing details of the Soil Association’s forthcoming ‘Have you Cottoned on Yet?’ campaign. The campaign, which launches in October, will gather evidence which shows that organic cotton is the long-term goal for brands wanting to offer sustainable textiles by setting out five unique benefits of organic. Read more about the Rite conference in EcoTextile News

More News from the Soil Association

Soil Association Certification expands to Asia Pacific  alongside Australian Certified Organic (ACO)

From July 2012, ACO are the preferred partner to undertake inspections and provide customer service to the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) on behalf of Soil Association Certification in Australia and parts of Asia Pacific. See press release.

The Soil Association's Textiles Market Report revealed that the UK retail market for organic textiles has continued to grow since the introduction of organic standards for textiles. UK sales of organic textiles is estimated to now be worth over £100 million. The Report also includes case studies of successful businesses which have gone organic with their textiles.

The Soil Association’s organic textile biannual e-newsletter offers the latest news on developments in organic textile markets. Subscribe by emailing textilenews@soilassociation.org


Shaping Sustainability in the Cotton Value Chain

Date: 7-11 October, 2012
Venue: Congress Center Kursaal Interlaken
Country: Interlaken, Switzerland
Contact: plenaryinformation@icac.org
Link: http://icac.org/plenary-meetings/71_interlaken

The 71st ICAC plenary meeting will be held in Interlaken, Switzerland 7-11 October, 2012, in the Congress Center Kursaal Interlaken. All meetings, trade displays, the Internet café, registration and the Secretariat office will be located at this venue. Download brochure pdf here  


Farmers in India to benefit from Japanese organic cotton business partnership

Nearly 30,000 low-income cotton farmers in India will gain improved health and increased incomes by switching to organic cotton production, following a commitment made by two Japanese companies to the Business Call to Action(BCtA).

Japan-based company ITOCHU Corporation and kurkku – a firm that promotes environmentally conscious lifestyle through sales of sustainably sourced food and apparel – have pledged to improve the income of Indian farmers, their health, and the environment, by scaling up production of organically produced cotton.

The two companies pledged to scale up their Pre Organic Cotton (POC) Programme, which encourages farmers in India to switch from conventional to organic cotton production by guaranteeing to buy the cotton that is organically produced at a price higher than that of conventional cotton. Such a commitment is critical to the initiative’s success since it typically takes three years for farmers to obtain an organic certification; in the meantime, they are growing organic cotton, which costs more to produce, but are forced to sell it at cheaper, conventional cotton prices.

Read full press release here 

PUMA opens first sustainable PUMA Store

Bangalore, India August 23rd, 2012

Today PUMA opened a sustainable PUMA Store in India, the first one worldwide. The store is located in the Bangalore suburb of Indiranagar and features many eco-design features to save energy, minimise waste, as well as environmentally friendly-sourcing practices. The store will retail a range of products made from organic cotton as well as PUMA’s Wilderness Collection.

The lower levels of the store will serve as a retail area, and upstairs will be the ‘PUMA Social Club’ cafe and bar (ready to open by the end of 2012).

For more information on PUMA and the brand’s efforts around sustainability, please visithttp://about.puma.com/sustainability/

Five Questions With Loomstate CEO Scott Mackinlay Hahn

Scott Mackinlay Hahn and Rogan Gregory co-founded Loomstate, a clothing line dedicated to environmental and social responsibility, in 2004. The company only uses organic cotton in its clothing lines, and is now partnering with Chipotle Mexican Grill to design the fast-food chain's uniforms.

Basically, Chipotle is so good in what it's doing with food that we are trying to do what they did with food with clothing.” Says Scott Mackinlay Hahn

Read the full interview in Times style & Design

Eileen Fisher new sustainability campaign – sneak preview!

Eileen Fisher has recently doubled its efforts to make its products sustainable, and has come out with a new campaign to promote the brand’s fair-trade, organic, and recycled garments.

When Eileen Fisher ads come out this fall, half of them will have an ampersand printed on them to let the viewer know that the featured garments are sustainable. Printed underneath the symbol are short summaries of the processes used to make the item of clothing, like this one:


The fair-trade sweater. From Peru, organic cotton that skips the chemicals, relying instead on age-old practices: crop rotation, beneficial bugs and the wisdom of farmers.”

The ads will appear in glossies like Vogue and Vanity Fair as well as some news outlets such as the New York Times. The brand has also set up eileenfisherampersand.com, as part of the campaign.

Reported in Styleite and WWD

Organic Cotton Helps Revive Japan After Tsunami

The first products containing cotton from farmlands devastated by the tsunami last year have just hit the markets. The Tohoku Cotton Project had its first harvest this year, from organic cotton grown on the ricelands that have been rendered unsuitable for agriculture following the increase in salt levels following the tsunami. Brands like Lee Japan, United Arrows Green Label Relaxing, Kurkku and Urban Research have introduced Tohoku cotton products into their new collection, now available in stores. [The Asahi Shimbun & WWD]




NEW: Video by TAO Lifestyle

TAO Lifestyle new video aimed "to educate people that by putting on an organic T-shirt, we are giving hope to our world". 

JUNE 2012

Rio+20: Towards the Future We Want

Sustainable development cannot be realized unless hunger and malnutrition are eradicated, FAO said in a policy document prepared for the Rio+20 Summit to be held in June in Rio de Janeiro. "We cannot call development sustainable while this situation persists, while nearly one out of every seven men, women and children are left behind, victims of undernourishment," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

The report, Towards the future we want: end hunger and make the transition to sustainable agricultural and food systems, urges governments to establish and protect rights to resources, especially for the poor; incorporate incentives for sustainable consumption and production into food systems; promote fair and well-functioning agricultural and food markets; reduce risks and increase the resilience of the most vulnerable; invest public resources in essential public goods, especially innovation and infrastructure.

Three fourths of the world's poor and hungry live in rural areas and most of them depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods. Forty percent of the world's degraded lands are in areas with high poverty rates. "Hunger puts in motion a vicious cycle of reduced productivity, deepening poverty, slow economic development and resource degradation," the report says.

New Field Diary Entry

It took us 6 hours to drive from bioRe headquarters to BioSustain in Singida. We – Laura (our guest from Caris Foundation), Silvere, and I - travelled south east into the Singida region until we reached the main town of Singida where we were to spend the next two nights. Riyaz Haider, founder and managing director of BioSustain met us at his office, located on the premises of the company’s ginnery. It was good to see Riyaz again and catch up on his activities – the highs, the lows, challenges and opportunities... always great to share news and views... [read more]



Celebrating World Environment Day with Success Stories

Every 5th of June is World Environment Day set by the United Nations to stimulate worldwide awareness of environmental issues and encourages political action. The theme this year is the Green Economy. The economic analysis in the Green Economy Report builds in part on the encouraging signs and results of many initiatives around the world. A number of these come from developing countries, including emerging economies, and illustrate a positive benefit stream from specific green investments and policies, that if scaled up and integrated into a comprehensive strategy, could offer an alternative development pathway, one that is pro-growth, projobs and pro-poor. Eight of these examples, a limited selection from a growing range of experiences in different sectors, are summarized in this report.
Textile Exchange is celebrating June 5th World Environment Day with success stories of our own! Please visit our Organic In Action series for our ever-increasing number of postings from the organic cotton community. Each commentary has been prepared by a leading figure or organisation, dedicated to actively engaging in organic cotton programs, innovative research, ambitious partnerships, and exciting new ventures. A subset of our Organic In Action stories are about how organic cotton cooperatives are building a better world, and we are posting these on the International Year of Cooperatives story site:  stories.coop Among many things 2012 appears to be the Year of the Story!

... and the winner is Veja!

Fashion & Accessories sponsored by Vogue.com

Using organic cotton from agro-ecology initiatives in North Brazil, wild Amazonian rubber, and acacia tanned leather, Veja produces trainers and accessories. The judges felt Veja had strong ethical principles whilst creating beautiful products.For the full story click here

Veja also share the winners slot with M&S in the Guardian's Sustainable Business Awards for Supply Chain. See also the Guardian article An Ethical Passion for Fashion and Textile Exchange's Future Shapers

MAY 2012

We follow American brand Alabama Chanin on their journey of discovery

Excerpts from the latest journal entry...

05.22.2012 Update: Planting Organic Cotton Last Friday, before we left for New York for an inspiring week of MAKESHIFT, we received wonderful news: the cotton seed had been planted.

05.4.2012 The Heart: Updates from the Field We left off two weeks ago in search of a two-row planter that will help get our cottonseed in the ground. Fortunately, we were able to find one locally. The planter’s shovels have been adjusted. The soil has been finely chopped. There have been conference calls between the field, the Factory office, and Kelly’s office in Texas. More thanks to Kelly Pepperread more

04.20.2012 The Heart: Planting The search for seed began and taught us some of the important facts of organic cotton and cottonseed. Organizations like Textile Exchange and Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative lent their support and gave us direction in our search for non-GMO, non-treated cottonseed. In our conversation with Lynda Grose at Sustainable Cotton Project, Lynda shared her thoughts on organic, sustainable textiles, and the importance of knowing and working with your local farmers. read more

Seed diversity decline – a worldwide concern

Media Release, Brussels, 24/05/2012: Civil Society urges EU law-makers to come up with an environment, farmer and consumer friendly review of the legislation on the marketing of Seed and Propagating Material (S&PM).

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates a loss of cultivated agricultural biodiversity of 75% since 1900, when the seed market emerged. EU seed legislation, established in the 1960s, contributed to this erosion process by banning all seeds from the market that were not compatible with a list of criteria, many of these criteria being shaped for seed production for large scale and industrial needs.  In the meantime, during the last 30 years, the seed sector has gone through massive concentration processes, leading to nowadays not more than 10 multinational companies controlling 74% of the global seed market. Read the full media release here.

A Visit with Organic Cotton Farmers in Northern Uganda, by Tamsin Chislett

May 18th: Acumen Fund’s East Africa Fellows visited organic cotton farmers in Uganda... Here Tamsin Chislett describes her experience: "It took a while to get to the village, not least because a truck driver had broken down on a narrow road ahead of us, locked up his truck, and disappeared with the keys... When we eventually got there, the farmers gave us a very warm welcome, dancing along the path to the bus to greet us... The children danced, sang and drummed, a brilliant performance which if I remember rightly from last time I saw it means something like, ‘Thank you to the government for all you have done….but please can you stop messing around and do lots more essential things’. (That may have been a non-literal translation)."

Read more on the Acumen Fund blog – or Tamsin Chislett’s own blog.

Bt cotton going backwards?

May 14th: Burkina Faso is to drastically reduce production of Bt cotton this year because of quality and yield issues. The promised yield has never been reached and the length of the fiber in becoming shorter. For French speakers: RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONALE reports on the drawback of Bt cotton in Burkina Faso.

Simon Ferrigno for EcoTextile News reports the same: Since its introduction to Burkina Faso in 2008, Bt cotton now accounts for 70% of the planted cotton area in the country, yet new reports say it is being phased out after failing to deliver on quality... read more here (note: non-members will need to subscribe to ETN to read full article).

Furthermore, the same week the Guardian reports: India loses faith in GM cotton: Since the introduction of GM cotton in 2002, harvests in India have doubled and the country ranks as the world's second-largest producer. But the "white revolution" prompts distrust. Opponents of GM crops claim the increased yields of the early 2000s were due to better irrigation and favourable weather. Over the past six years average yields per hectare have barely changed, despite a fourfold increase in the use of GM cotton. Read full article here.

New Video by Kapas Organic Cotton: Economic and Environmental Justice in Organic Cotton 

Kapas seeks to solidify India's position as the world's largest producer of organic cotton, by addressing not just the cotton production issue, but readying the commercial chain from seed through finished garments. This film explains the importance of cotton in the global and Indian economies, describes the challenges, and introduces the Kapas program.

Find out more about the Kapas program here

Sainsbury's CEO speaks out about new sourcing strategy and buying direct

Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King has attributed growth in the supermarket operator's clothing business to an increase in space combined with a strong underlying product.

Sainsbury's clothing is "not necessarily the cheapest", but that it "absolutely delivers on our core 'live well for less' ethics".

There has also been a shift to what he describes as the "new thrift", a "recognition that value for money is more than a cheap price, and our clothing reflects that," using "better materials, Fair Trade and organic cotton."

Read the full article in Just-Style


International Year of Cooperatives: TE releases organic cotton coop stories 7th - 18th May!

2012 has been recognised as the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) by the United Nations. This is an acknowledgement by the international community that co-operatives drive the economy, respond to social change, are resilient to the global economic crisis and are serious, successful businesses creating jobs in all sectors.

Over the next fortnight (7th - 18th May) we will be posting organic cotton coop stories on the IYC. To show our support Textile Exchange is sharing six stories from organic cotton cooperatives - from Brazil, India, Mali,NicaraguaTajikistan, and Texas.
Visit our Organic In Action pages to find our growing number of coop stories or catch them as they released on Stories.coop this week.  


The Second African Organic Conference Mainstreaming organic agriculture in the African development agenda took place in Lusaka, Zambia, from May 2 to 4, 2012. The conference provided an opportunity to showcase the contribution that organic agriculture already makes and discuss how it could be scaled up to meet the combined needs of more food production, maintaining the environment and increasing income.

Read the Conference Declaration here http://africanorganicconference.com/index.php/news/50-conference-declaration

More information at www.africanorganicconference.com

H&M launch new sustainbility report

Textile Exchange members and the world's biggest user of orgaic cotton, H&M, this month launch their Conscious Actions Sustainability Report 2011

"Cotton is the material we use most. It is a natural, renewable material with many advantages, but conventionally grown cotton can have heavy impacts on the environment. That is why we have set the target to use only cotton from sustainable sources by 2020 at the latest. We are already the biggest user of organic cotton in the world and we plan to further increase our use...H&M


Dr. Jane Dever named to National Genetic Resources Advisory Council

Dr. Jane Dever, Texas AgriLife Research cotton geneticist at Lubbock, was recently appointed to a two-year term on the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture news release.

As a scientific member, Dever’s overall role is to provide scientific advice related to her expertise, which includes classical plant breeding, germplasm collections, protecting genetic resources and genetic diversity.

"I hope to be able to emphasize the important role of the public plant breeder in genetic resource preservation,” Dever said. “I plan to work to ensure that policies and procedures are in place so all farmers have access to new genetic improvements, including those who raise organic and low-input crops.”

[Read full story here]

prAna April blog series on organic

Nicole Bassett, Director of Responsibility at prAna: While I was going to university I worked at a natural foods market. I got the job to pay my bills and had no idea how much that job would change my life. I have a whole new perspective of how I am connected to the environment and other people.

It was there I was first exposed to the idea of ORGANIC. As I learned more I soon realized why organic was important. [read Nicole's blog here]

APRIL 2012:

Disney raises awareness of organic cotton in Times Square

A 60 second video produced by Anvil is currently running on the six-story high Disney Store Digital Billboard in Times Square!  An Anvil version of this video will be released for Earth Day (and we will feature on the TE Farm Hub). 

Equally exciting is the fact that Disney has produced a Disney 365 video about their "Friends For Change" program presented by Austin & Ally from the Disney Channel and featuring Disney's very own organic t-shirts made by Anvil. You can find the video on the Disney Channel or check it out here on youtube.

PLUS: For a limited time, DisneyStore.com/TrackMyT offers a free music download when you track a t-shirt – the song is Rise by the McClain sisters (who were featured recently at the White House).

NEW REPORT: Pro-poor certification: Assessing the benefits of sustainability certification for small-scale farmers in Asia

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) ask the question: Do certification schemes and labelling strategies for products from particular geographical areas deliver benefits to poor and marginalised farmers? Using a review of the evidence and new case studies, their report assesses the relevance of certification schemes for coffee, tea and cotton farmers in China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Summary: Certification may help some farmers reach more lucrative markets and gain greater returns for the tea, coffee or cotton they produce. It can help them improve their skills, and understand about quality, markets or learn new production techniques. But the high costs and exacting demands of certification can also exclude the poorest farmers in favour of those who are better off and already organised.

Poorer farmers are more likely to lack the information, skills, capital and networks they need to improve their bargaining position. These farmers need carefully targeted support from external agencies such as governments, NGOs, the private sector or the certification bodies themselves if they are to see the benefits of certification. 

[Download Report] 

NEW REPORT: Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate ChangeSummary for Policy Makers in English (PDF)

The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change has reviewed the scientific evidence to identify a pathway to achieving food security in the context of climate change. Food systems must shift to better meet human needs and, in the long term, balance with planetary resources. This will demand major interventions, at local to global scales, to transform current patterns of food production, distribution and consumption. Investment, innovation, and deliberate effort to empower the world's most vulnerable populations will be required to construct a global food system that adapts to climate change and ensures food security while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and sustaining our natural resource base.

[Download Summary and Full Report]


Watch the video (6 mins)

World Scientists Urge Key Actions for Achieving Food Security in a Changing Climate 

About the video:
 To achieve food security in a changing climate, the global community must operate within three limits: the quantity of food that can be produced under a given climate; the quantity needed by a growing and changing population; and the effect of food production on the climate. At present the planet operates outside that safe space, as witnessed by the enormous number of people who are undernourished. If current trends in population growth, diets, crop yields and climate change continue, the world will still be outside this 'safe operating space' in 2050. Humanity must urgently work to enlarge the safe space and also move the planet into the safe space. The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change has a produced a set of concrete policy actions to transform the food system.

Anvil new sponsors of Textile Exchange Farm Hub

The Textile Exchange Farm Engagement team are delighted to announce that Anvil has joined ICCO and Remei as a sponsor of our work. Anvil’s financial contribution means that we will be able to do more work to secure the future of organic cotton, including further develop the Farm Hub to provide even more useful information and services for the whole organic cotton community. 

Anvil is a vocal global advocate for organic farming and the largest purchaser of US grown organic and transitional cotton. The AnvilOrganic® line is ranked one of the top ten organic cotton apparel programs in the world. Recognized as a company with a strong and well-documented commitment to corporate and social responsibility, Anvil actively supports organic farming beyond just organic cotton for apparel to organic farming as a whole. "We believe that when people choose organic for their tables or for their closets, those choices ultimately contribute to making the Earth a better place to live and work," says Caterina Conti, Anvil's Executive VP and head of sustainability.

Anvil Launches Organic Garden Program with Schools to Celebrate Earth Day 2012

The Earth Day Organic Indoor Learning Garden program is a grassroots effort to educate children who will, in turn, educate their families and influence choices they make. Read more here: PR Newswire

For more information on Anvil, click here.


International Year of Cooperatives: Organic cotton farmers in Tajikistan form their own Cooperative

Organic cotton farmers in Tajikistan form their own Cooperative. Read our first Stories.Coop / Organic in Action story here.

2012 has been recognised as the International Year of Co-operatives by the United Nations. This is an acknowledgement by the international community that co-operatives drive the economy, respond to social change, are resilient to the global economic crisis and are serious, successful businesses creating jobs in all sectors.

To show our support Textile Exchange will be sharing stories about organic cotton cooperatives around the world. Watch this space for future entries and send yours to farm@textileexchange.org 

Cotton Conversations is a learning and choice-support process to improve collaboration and business efficiency, while achieving shared values around sustainability, equity and profitability. The Cotton Conversation Cycle is a combination of facilitated chain-wide learning combined with innovations from SenseMaker software in data gathering and analysis. A Cotton Conversation Workshop was held in Auroville (India), from December 1-3, 2011. Read the full report here

Whether you are a company, NGO, farmers’ organisation, government agency or otherwise involved in some part of a cotton value chain, you could initiate a Cotton Conversation. For more information please get in touch with:

Gijs Spoor (India) gijs@cottonconversations.com  

Joost Guijt (Netherlands) joost@cottonconversations.com 

Africa Fashion Guide Campaign for African Cotton

The social enterprise Africa Fashion Guide (AFG) are running an African cotton campaign, entitled 'Love From Africa'. The campaign was launched during London Fashion Week via the Ubuntu International Project at Vauxhall Fashion Scout in February 2012. Featuring 7 slogan tees all tees have been made from certified organic African grown cotton, sewn and manufactured in Africa by Africans in a GOTS certified factory.

Africa Fashion Guide founder Jacqueline Shaw says:

We are campaigning to raise awareness of African cotton and the challenges faced by cotton farmers around the continent, not only to create an interest in this textile but to encourage more trade. Through the use of fashion slogan tees, interviews, reports, videos, talks and more we aim to spread the word about the situation of African cotton in the textile market place and bring it to the forefront of the international fashion industry.”

Campaign details here
Campaign discussions can be read here
African Cotton Look Book here

MARCH 2012:

Join us at...

The 4th International Conference on the Organic Sector Development in Central/Eastern European and Central Asian countries will take place in Izmir, Turkey from 13 to 14 April 2012. Excursions will take place on 12 and 15 April 2012. The conference will take place parallel to the organic trade fair Ecology Izmir in Izmir, Turkey. 

Textile Exchange are partners in the textile section of the programme

This year’s conference will focus on organic farming and how to maintain and improve its integrity. Quality assurance in production, processing and trade, residue monitoring, anti-fraud activities, traceability as well as education and training regarding these issues will be conference themes. As Turkey is one of the leading organic cotton and textile producers, sustainable textiles will be included in the conference.

More information, registration and sponsoring opportunities are available at the conference website: http://turkey.organic-conference.info

International Year of the Cooperative

2012 has been recognised as the International Year of Co-operativesby the United Nations. This is an acknowledgement by the international community that co-operatives drive the economy, respond to social change, are resilient to the global economic crisis and are serious, successful businesses creating jobs in all sectors.

To show our support Textile Exchange will be sharing stories about organic cotton cooperatives around the world. Watch this space for our first entry and send yours to farm@textileexchange.org
Breaking News: Organic cotton farmers in Tajikistan now a Co-operative! Read our first Stories.coop (soon) or visit Find A Producer to find profile online.
[Follow IYC stories]

New Report on the Climate Change Mitigation Potential of Organic Agriculture

At the occasion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, stakeholders along the organic food and fibre production chain established a Round Table on Organic Agriculture and Climate Change (RTOACC). The objective is to coordinate research and development on organic agriculture and climate change. A new publication now provides a non-technical summary of the principal results for interested laypersons as well as baseline data for future climate projects conducted by researchers.

The study entitled Organic Agriculture and Climate Change Mitigation is published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The publication’s contents were compiled under the aegis of the International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS) and FiBL. The FAO also facilitated the international exchange as part of the RTOACC.

With this publication the Round Table provides both an overview of the latest research findings and widely supported base values for future investigations. There are currently 23 RTOACC member organizations, including Textile Exchange.

Find out more here

GOTS publishes first newsletter – sign up now!

Ten years have passed since the launch of the initiative to harmonize various organic textile standards into one truly global application. The Global Standard was ready for usage in 2006, and the first companies and products were certified in that year. The GOTS logo was introduced in 2008. Today, with about three thousand textile production facilities around the world, GOTS has become what leading publications have called the “Gold Standard” in sustainable textile production.

Read the February Issue

Subscribe here


IFOAM Membership Directory 2012

IFOAM ended the year 2011 with a membership of over 870 Affiliates across 120 countries.
The IFOAM Membership Directory 2012 is an invaluable instrument, linking you to the worldwide organic movement by providing you with the contact information of our entire membership base.
You can download the E-Directory via the following links:
Web View Quality (26.5 MB)
Small File Size (13.7 MB)
The IFOAM E-Directory is a free publication. Feel free to share it among your networks.


A mindful blog... The Guardian’s Sustainable Business Column
Series: Jo Confino meets

Beyond environment: falling back in love with Mother Earth

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explains why mindfulness and a spiritual revolution rather than economics is needed to protect nature and limit climate change. Thay (as he is known to his many thousands of followers) praises the approach of Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of outdoor clothing company Patagonia, who combined developing a successful business with the practice of mindfulness and compassion:

"It's possible to make money in a way that is not destructive, that promotes more social justice and more understanding and lessens the suffering that exists all around us," says Thay.

Read the full story here

Suppport A Farmer in February 

For the romantics among us, what better way to celebrate Valentine's Day this month than to give a Love. Organic Cotton t-shirt to someone you love... or surprise a colleague! We have a special price for the occasion but be quick there's not many left! Please support our organic cotton farmers and show your love by purchasing a t-shirt this Valentines. Share the Love!

Click on the image below to take a look at our Love. Organic Cotton. scrapbook. This initiaive forms part of our Support A Farmer campaign. All profits go towards farmer training.

 Soil Association Annual Conference 2012: Facing the future: Innovation in food and farming

Royal Horticultural Halls, London

02 March 2012

The Soil Association’s Conference 2012 will celebrate innovation in food and farming today.

There are two major themes: Facing the Future, which explores the exciting scientific and technical progress being made in organic and low-input farming systems; and Good Food for All, which contributes to the important debate about food, public health and social justice.

View the program for the day here


How She Leads...

Interview with Hannah Jones Vice President of Sustainable Business & Innovation at Nike

Green Biz: What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in this role at Nike?

Hannah Jones: I never know how to answer this question; you have milestones, but what matters more is the journey. How is this becoming the core value of how we think about our rolls at Nike collectively? It's hard to measure any individual milestones or thrust a barometer into the organization and tell you exactly where we're at. I can tell you though that with the work I see coming out now, I've never been prouder to work at Nike than I am today.

Want to be well and truly inspired? Read the full interview with Hannah Jones here.

By Maya Albanese, published February 06, 2012

How She Leads is a regular feature on GreenBiz.com that spotlights the career paths of women who have moved into influential roles in sustainable business.

Organic Farmers Challenge Monsanto Patents in NY Court Hearing

A U.S. District Court hearing in downtown New York could determine the eventual fate of several organic farmers from across the country, including some in upstate New York.

The hearing centered on a "pre-emptive" suit led by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGTA), against agricultural giant Monsanto. In it, OSGTA says it brought "this action to protect [farmers] from ever being accused of infringing patents on transgenic seed." Monsanto filed to dismiss the case, lawyers for both sides have made their arguments in front of U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald.

The farmers' cause has since been picked up by the Occupy movement, which mobilized today on Twitter and outside the courthouse in support of the farmers. They carried signs with slogans like "Stop Frankenfruit," and "Keep Our Food Open Source."

The judge has said she will make a decision on whether the case will move to trial by March 31. Read the full story here

Image: Rally outside courthouse, featuring campaigners slogan:GMO... Give Me Organic (photo taken by LaRhea Pepper, Textile Exchange)


Visit the Textil-Area in hall 8... 44 exhibitors from 9 countries

Organic Textiles is an ever-increasing highlight at BioFach. Overview of highlights for 2012:

  • Country of the Year India presents a colourful variety of natural textiles in its pavilion in hall 8. Be enchanted too!
  • The daily fashion shows are an attraction for visitors and the press. Just drop in and see for yourself!
  • The Textile Forum as part of the BioFach Congress and the panel discussions offer professional know-how on green fashion. Be inspired!

India Coutry of the Year! Organic agriculture is flourishing in the home of the youngest BioFach daughter, BioFach India: the organic growing area is to increase to 2million hectares by 2012. What country could be a better choice for the World Organic Trade Fair in 2012?

See what's in store here

 JANUARY 2012:

"Message from Earth: Organic Matters" Digital Short Considered for TED Ads Worth Spreading Initiative

TE member Anvil Knitwear is being considered in the 2012 TED Ads Worth Spreading challenge, an initiative to recognize and reward innovation in advertising. The digital short, "Message From Earth: Organic Matters," was created to educate consumers to choose and farmers to grow organic, as well as draw a connection between what we wear and the environmental and social repercussions it has on the world.

Show support for the revitalization of organic farming and cast your vote for Message From Earth on the TED Ads Worth Spreading YouTube channel here. Hurry - the voting deadline is February 10! Read full article on PR Newswire and enjoy the video below.

Africa Report: Farmer in Burkina Faso Producing High Quality Organic Cotton 

January 3rd 2012: Organic cotton farmers in Burkina Faso have seen an increase in demand for their product in the last few years, and European and American textile manufacturers can’t get enough of the cotton, reports Africa Business. Read the full article in the Africa Business Report here.


Fairtrade International Counters Allegations in Bloomberg article on Burkina Faso cotton

In accordance with its internal Child Protection Policy and Procedures, Fairtrade International followed up on the allegations made in the Bloomberg article, “Victoria’s Secret Revealed in Child Picking Burkina Faso Cotton,” published on 15 December 2011.

Fairtrade International found substantial contradictions in the facts presented in the article based on the information they have obtained from their field assessment:
  • According to Fairtrade International the “girl” who featured prominently in the article is not 13 years old as reported.
  • She is not involved in cotton growing and therefore is not participating in Fairtrade certified cotton production. Instead she works on a family-owned vegetable farm, growing locally consumed products for which there are no Fairtrade Standards nor Fairtrade certified producers in this region.
  • Furthermore, the “girl” and her family members report that she “was woken up early one morning and asked to pose in the cotton field” by the journalist, “who introduced himself as working for an orphanage project and needed to select three children to be part of this program.”

Given these inaccuracies, Fairtrade refutes the information about the “girl” and her family as presented in the Bloomberg article and accordingly questions the credibility of the report.

Fairtrade International rightly question the methods used by the journalist to obtain the reported information and strongly recommend that media adopt child protection methods and a rights-based approach to relate with those they identify as persons under the age of 18. Read Fairtrade's response to the Bloomberg article here.

Take our new Learning Journey

We’ve pulled together a simple ‘fiber to fashion' learning journey to bring textile manufacturing to life. Follow the journey of organic cotton fiber from its origins to final product through visual snapshots of production and learn a little about what it takes to produce a fashion statement following organic principles. 

This is a great introduction to those wishing to find out more about the process of textile production in a simple format, it includes links to further reading, and finishes with a ‘catwalk’ of stunning snapshots from some of TE’s leading brands and retailers! 

[Learning Zone]

Field Diary: Farm team on location in Odisha, India

Last month, my colleagues Prabha, Hanna, and I were hosted by Chetna's Rama Krishna Yarlagadda and his fabulous team in the Kalahandi District of Odisha (previously known as Orissa). We visited four of Chetna's organic cotton cluster projects in the region including: a women's self-help group, a new tribal land project in the heart of the Kalahandi forest, and one cluster group accessible only be motorbike and river crossing! 

During our 2-day visit I keep a diary of our experiences and managed to capture Rama Krishna and his colleague Ram Prasas on video... getting them to share some of their secrets for success.

Click here to follow our amazing journey