What Is The OCRT?

The Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) is a global stakeholder platform that supports and brings together the organic cotton community to be inspired, mobilized, and equipped to act. It also serves as the official in-person meeting place of the Global Organic Cotton Community Platform.

A one-day in-person meeting is held annually, and this year took place in Hamburg, Germany, on 6th October 2016. Watch and read the highlights from the 2016 meeting here!

The OCRT has on-going Task Forces for Business ModelsSeed & Soils, and Consumer Engagement, as well as an Innovation Lab that seeks out and celebrates new ideas in organic cotton.

New for 2017, Regional OCRT in Izmir, Turkey.

What Does The OCRT Do?

Collaborate and Grow

The primary objective of the OCRT is to find ways to collaborate in order to grow the sector, share best practices at every stage, build supportive partnerships, and improve supply and livelihood security.

Eliminate Barriers to Growth

The OCRT aims to eliminate the barriers to growth in organic cotton production and consequently enable the current growth in demand from consumers to be met and capitalized on.

Work Together

Many individual efforts are being made to advance organic cotton, and the OCRT brings stakeholders together to grow the sector and create a result that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Annual Meeting Of The OCRT

Every year since its inception, the OCRT has held an in person meeting alongside the annual Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference. The first was Hong Kong in 2012, followed by Istanbul in 2013, Portland in 2014 and Mumbai in 2015. Click on the following buttons to read about the past round tables.

This year, the meeting was held in Hamburg on 6th October 2016. Watch and read the full highlights from the 2016 meeting here.

OCRT Task Forces

The OCRT has three Task Forces that focus on the key challenges to sector stability and sustainable growth. Under these Task Forces, the OCRT has already identified needs for a number of initiatives and has either catalysed, or been an incubator for, their development. Such initiatives include the Organic Cotton Accelerator, Chetna Coalition, a dedicated microsite for organic cotton and an inventory of non-GMO seed availability.

Business Models Task Force

Success for all depends upon re-imagining and re-engineering supply chains to improve business security for growers and for organic to scale up. Incubating new ways of working, driving best practice, and ensuring product integrity is integral to improved business models and the resilience of the sector.

[Read More]

Seed and Soils Task Force

Access to good quality non-GMO seed is necessary to meet the needs of the organic agricultural standard whilst delivering on fiber quality and meeting industry specifications. Productivity improvements in organic depend upon healthy fertile soil as well as good quality seed. Avoiding and addressing contamination from GMO seed is also key to the resilience and success of the organic cotton market.

[Read More]

Consumer Engagement Task Force

The consumer is part of the organic cotton value chain. Educating and driving consumer demand are part of the business model. Brands and retailers of organic cotton need to see a return on investment. They invest significantly in product placement and talk directly to their customer, so consumer engagement is critical.

[Read More]

Innovation Lab

The Innovation Lab is a celebration of new ideas in organic cotton. It aims to seek out groups or individuals with innovative solutions to break through barriers to growth and address issues in the organic cotton supply chain. Launched in Mumbai last year with eight inspiring Innovators pitching their great ideas, we are now taking applications for the 2016 Innovation Lab in Hamburg. Visit the Innovation Lab page for more details!

How To Get Involved

Talk To Us
Tell us what you think and share your ideas!

Join Our Annual OCRT Meetings
Participate in our face-to-face meetings and help shape the future of sustainability in fiber production.

Sign Up To Our Task Forces
Together we can build a more sustainable and rewarding business for the organic cotton sector.

History Of The OCRT


Growers, processors and vendors of organic cotton operate in a highly autonomous market environment. On one hand this autonomy allows independence and a market-driven approach to address sustainable development, on the other hand there is no central structure to support the organic cotton community.

In 2012, after many years of steady growth, production of organic cotton began to decline. Yet demand for organic cotton fiber continued to grow. In response to the decline, Textile Exchange declared a Call to Action and initiated the Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT). The inaugural meeting of the OCRT was held as a pre-conference event to the Textile Exchange annual conference in Hong Kong in November of the same year.

A diagnosis of the reasons behind the drop in production – and much stakeholder enquiry – resulted in the OCRT arriving at three main areas of focus. Task forces for “Business Models”, “Seed & Soils”, and “Consumer Engagement” were created with small advisory groups working to develop strategies for action.


The OCRT quickly became the “place and space” for stakeholders to get together to hear more about issues facing the organic cotton sector, to diagnose these issues and most importantly find ways to take action. One of the unique features of the OCRT is that it brings representatives of the entire supply chain together.

During the first three years of life (2012-2014), the focus of the OCRT has been an annual in-person meeting of organic cotton producers, manufacturers, brands, retailers and support organizations. Following the inaugural meeting of the OCRT in Hong Kong in 2012, the second annual meeting was held in Istanbul in 2013, the third in Portland in 2014, the forth in Mumbai in 2015, the fifth in Hamburg in 2016, and the sixth will be held in Washington DC in the week of 9 October 2017!

Each year interest has grown and in 2014 the OCRT was able to raise funds to the seed task force and support the incubation of the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) and “ChetCo” (a coalition of brands working with Chetna, an organic cotton producer group); a promising sign that the OCRT can catalyze action pre-competitively. TE decided to invest resources in developing a microsite, which is currently in beta phase.

Present Day

The OCRT is at an exciting stage of evolution – where the interest and energy is high amongst the TE organic community and there has been some investment in specific task force strategy and activities.

There is still much to do to get to the next stage of transforming organic cotton supply chains into organic cotton communities. Interestingly, the situation of declining production and barriers to growth, coupled with the energy and enthusiasm for transforming the cotton sector, in many ways provides the ideal breeding ground for this transformation!

In 2015, the OCRT launched the Innovation Lab, a celebration of new ideas in organic cotton, in collaboration with Change Agency and Luminous Energy.



Liesl Truscott, European & Materials Strategy Director ; Lisa Emberson, Materials Platform Coordinator