News and Views

World Environment Day 2013 - Think. Eat. Save.
By Neena Truscott

From a single thought to a HUGE project spanning 15 countries and touching thousands of people worldwide... we could not have been more proud of our United Nations World Environment Day participants .

This year I have had the honour of being involved in the Textile Exchange World Environment Day (WED) Project, and what a project it grew into!  “From the field to my plate” saw 12 sustainability-conscious brands and 12 wonderful organic producer groups get together to fund and support 12 designated schools from Benin, Brazil, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Tanzania to create their masterpiece. The masterpiece could be anything from a poster, food sculpture, garden art, or poem – as long as it promoted the different food crops grown alongside organic cotton that children enjoy eating on a regular basis.  The idea was to encourage these children to start really thinking about, not only the way in which their food is grown but also the varieties used and the reasons for this.

Not in my wildest dreams could I ever have imagined the enthusiasm and drive that the producer group representatives in all of the participating areas showed.  For instance, Mani Chinnaswamy from Appachi Cotton in India had the children taking part in a 4 day excursion across farmlands interacting with local farmers and tribal communities. The experience provided such a valuable learning journey for the children, and also contributed to a skill set that will be a practical and essential part of life to come.



Photo 1 & 2: Children from the Nachiar Vidyalayam school Tamil Nadu, on the Appachi excursion.

We had other groups who even rallied children back to school in the holidays just because they were honoured to take part in such an event and wanted the children to have a thought provoking project to work on.

We were overwhelmed by the magnificent array of artwork flooding back to us with equally inspiring explanations of why they chose to portray their thoughts in such ways.

From paintings, to video, model organic farms, to comic strips there was something for all to enjoy.  In fact every time I looked back through the entries I always found something more spectacular, perhaps a little deeper than the time before.  The artwork was one thing that inspired me but honestly I was more touched and humbled by how these communities came together in such a short space of time to create these valuable learning pathways for the local children. And always they were gracious and positive and passionate – something we in our part of the world could surely take a lesson in at times.

After a selection process from the supporting brands ten entries were then narrowed down to one finalist from each school, and then to a public vote to select the Textile Exchange World Environment Day Ambassador.  This title was taken out by a 10 year old girl with a big heart named Siddhi Kushwah from the Swayam Academy in Dhar, India.




Siddhi narrates the dream she holds in her mind... to see this wonderful world beautiful and free from any pollution. For she thinks that everyone should be made aware of keeping this land pollution free. We are born and survive in this land. This is our moral duty to save it. She also emphasizes on keeping its fertility by avoiding the use of chemical products for production. Organic production of agriculture will surely keep us healthy and wealthy, if we all go for that. She has laid emphasis on the major issue of Global Warming... Though it is a very difficult task, every step in doing good will be just like a mile walk.



You can watch Siddhi’s video and view all of the artwork from the talented finalists here

And travel the journey with the children on Pinterest

Many thanks to all of the supporting brands, retailers, manufacturers, and producer groups:

Participating schools:   

  1. Batia Public Elementary School, Dept. of Atacora, Benin
  2. Bobojon Gafurov, Sughd Region, Tajikistan
  3. Campanha de Fortalecimento da Agricultura Familiar, Brazil
  4. Children's Palace (Special Ed. Unit), Guangzhou, China
  5. Dakama Primary School, Meatu District, Tanzania
  6. Gongliu, Bachu, and Urumqi Counties Schoools, China
  7. Nachiar Vidyalayam, Tamil Nadu, India
  8. Padampar Primary School, Rapar, Kachchh, India
  9. Secondary School No 24, Oblastkyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan
  10. Swayam Academy, Dhar, India
  11. Tribal Residential School, Bandhapari, Odisha, India
  12. Vasudha VidyaVihar, Indore, India

Local champions: Agrocel (India), Appachi (India), Bio Farmer Co-operative (Kyrgyzstan), Bio Kishovarz Co-op (Tajikistan), bioRe Tanzania (Africa), Chetna (India), ESPAR (Brazil), Esquel (China), Mahima (India), Mecilla (China), Helvetas Benin (Africa), and Pratibha (India).

WED sponsors: bgreen apparel (USA), C&A Foundation (Belguim), Dibella (Netherlands/Germany), Esquel (USA/China), Inditex (Spain), Loomstate (USA), Otto Group (Germany), Patagonia (USA), Pants To Poverty (UK), PUMA (Germany), and Quiksilver (France).




Neena Truscott
World Environment Day Project Manager for Textile Exchange



Join Our Collaborative Learning Series

In February this year Textile Exchange launched the Collaborative Learning Series, covering six related topics and consisting of blogs, though pieces and live conversations. The series will run up to the next Round Table on Organic Cotton at our conference in Istanbul. Topics covered to date include Creating Shared Value followed by Measuring Sustainability and Holistic Value Chains: moving from disconnection to Integration.


Most Recent Topic: Holistic Value Chains: moving from disconnection to integration

Our third topic in the series looked at the advantages (and challenges) of integrating cotton producers into the textile value chain. We discuss best practice with our topic experts and share some real life examples of where integration is already working. We were fortunate to have input from three experienced value chain operators: Orlando Rivera, CEO, Bergman Rivera, based in Peru, Shreyaskar Chaudhary, CEO, Pratibha Syntex India and Mani Chinnaswarmy, Appachi Cotton, India. Read the blog here.

Next Topic: Triple Accounting in the Textile Industry

Companies and organizations talk a lot these days about the need to do business differently - in the name of sustainable development. But when it comes to the crunch, we all tend to revert to practices and principles which lead us down the same old path. The same applies for social accounting. In Topic 4 we discuss how to indeed do things differently. By visioning where we want to be and working backwards (backcasting) - so the vision dictates the indicators of success and not the other way round. Read more about the subject and find out who our topic experts are here.

To register for our webinar conversations contact


ISEAL Alliance fourth annual conference








ISEAL’s fourth annual conference took place in London on the 12th and 13th of June. The 2013 ISEAL Conference had a focus on how standards can use new tools and innovations to take the next steps in realising the change they seek to make.

Impact and Innovation were the themes of the conference. How to work toward demonstrating and improving impacts and how to make the most of opportunities presented by emerging innovation were explored at the event. To view the conference programme click here. All presentations will be posted on the ISEAL website after the event. 


Farm Hub Latest News

A reminder that we update our ‘Latest News’ column regularly – to keep in touch with a range of breaking news items don’t forget to visit us regularly

All 'Latest News' has been carefully archived in our Farm Library for your convenience. To recap on 2012 click here.  


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