In Loving Memory: Ryan Young

Ryan Young | Devoted Husband, Father, Son and Climate Pioneer 

Ryan Young joined Textile Exchange in October 2017 and became Chief Operating Officer in 2019. Ryan was an integral force for our 2030 Climate+ strategy and his determination to make the world a better place for future generations was evident in all that he did. Ryan was an intellectually curious leader who paired his business acumen with his drive to change the apparel sector. Before joining Textile Exchange, he served on the Sustainable Apparel Coalitionexecutive team. He led the development of the Higg Index- a first of its kind assessment tool covering the entire product lifecycle and value chain. Ryan received a BA from Cornell University and an MBA from The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. 

The 2030 climate vision that he developed was the result of extensive stakeholder engagement that he carried out during his tenure at Textile Exchange. At the 2020 Textile Sustainability Conference, we honored his pioneering work by creating the Ryan Young Climate+ Award, which will be given to a sustainability industry leader every year. The link below allows you to listen to Ryan speak about the importance of addressing climate action for our planet’s future. During this clip from the 2019 conference in Vancouver, Canada, Ryan spoke passionately about his two children, Zoe and Alastair, and the world they will inherit if we don’t take immediate action to reduce global carbon emissions. Do we want to be someone that is part of the solution or be someone who is part of the continued problem?” We honor Ryanlegacy to be part of the solution. 

Sending heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Helena, Zoe, Alastair, and the Young family. 

If you are interested, below are the details of two options for donations that were close to Ryan’s heart: The UCSF Brain Tumor Center and the Milton Marks Family Camp. Ryan received excellent care from UCSF during this journey and the Young’s participated in an amazing family camp for brain tumor patients this summer that was very helpful and uplifting for Ryan, his wife and their children.  

The UCSF Brain Tumor Center- Research Fund 

Make checks payable to the UCSF Foundation (Bfund: B1573) 

Lock Box 45339 

San Francisco, CA 94145-0339 


The Milton Marks Neuro-Oncology Family Camp 

Make checks payable to Community Initiatives (FSP#6356)  

1000 Broadway Suite 480 

Oakland, CA 94607 

Ryan’s wife, Helena Young, will be honoring Ryan’s life and legacy over the next few months. It will be virtual so that friends, family, and colleagues from around the globe can attend. Details will be posted on his Caring Bridge site. Feel free to subscribe to Ryan’s Caring Bridge email announcements for more information.  

Leave a comment or special message for the Young family.

23 Comments on “In Loving Memory: Ryan Young”

  1. Prama Bhardwaj

    I am so sad and sorry to hear Ryan passed away. He was too young with so much promise ahead of him. I know you must be devastated and my heart goes out to you and all the TE family. I will always be inspired by his closing remarks in Vancouver unveiling Climate + and those powerful photos of his children at the Climate protests. My thoughts are with his young family who have managed the most difficult of times with such bravery.

    1. Imran Asghar

      Its really hard to believe that devoted person like Ryan passed away,
      Its created a big gap in sustanability sector won’t be fill easily.
      My condolences for TE and Young family who have faced this hard time with bravery.

  2. Mandy Lucas

    I only knew Ryan from his presentation at the 2019 TE Conference, but his words and images stay with me. Little did anyone know that his courage would need to be diverted in such a cruel direction. The dignity and courage Ryan and Helena have shown over the last 12+ months is amazing. It is heart warming to see how they have embraced life and family during these difficult times, building incredible memories for their children. Stay strong and keep those memories close.
    My thoughts are with Ryan’s family and all his colleagues at TE who held him close as a friend.

  3. Carlotta Cataldi

    In November 2019, when I first arrived to Vancouver at night, after a long flight from Europe, I went straight to the dinner location where the Textile Exchange staff was already starting dinner. I remember sitting next to Ryan for part of the dinner as members of the staff were intentionally traveling through the table to have conversations with more thank just their 2 neighbours. He poured me wine and welcomed me. I did not know him back then and I remember thinking “what a nice, gentle man”. Then the day after, in the meetings previous to the conference, when he was explaining the Climate + strategy, I thought “I love this plan, what an inspiring man!”, and during the conference as I was watching the pictures of his children at a climate strike march during is presentation I thought: “what a wonderful dad he must be”. So, I did not him well, but of the little I know I can tell he was nice, gentle and inspiring. I feel close to his family, which I haven’t met, and I hope they will be able to overcome this moment of great sadness remembering all the good things about him.

  4. Maria Ortuno

    Ryan’s Legacy will live for ever in all his iniciatives and the people we could inspire along his journey. I never met him but I have met his positive impact in the industry. All my condolescences to his family and friends. Rest in Peace.

  5. Crispin Argento

    Our industry lost a leader, a visionary and a truth teller (something this sector needs now more than ever!). We also lost a great guy who is an amazing father, husband and friend to so many. Damn.

    I had the honour of knowing Ryan for over a decade–back when we was involved in a little project known as the Higg Index. We would brainstorm about how to use data to hold the sector accountable to measure progress.

    As a colleague and friend, he was the first person I would call to share ideas, frustrations and brainstorm possible solutions or revolutions!

    Gonna miss you 1,000,000,000,000,000 metric tonnes, dude!
    Love you Ryan!

  6. Janet

    My condolences to Ryan’s family and colleagues. He has been a true leader in sustainability in the textile sector. He will be missed. Janet – SLCP

  7. Narasimha Reddy Donthi

    We are sad to learn his unexpected and unwarranted demise. Ryan Young is inspired by the future of his children. I am sure his children, like all of us, are inspired and encouraged by his work and thoughts. Climate action has become central to Textile Exchange and I think undeniably the role of Ryan Young is chiselled in those efforts. May his spirit add to the efforts of this organisation and his associates to ensure climate justice, through implementation of projects that are correcting the wrongs on the climate.

  8. Mark Prosé

    Enormously sad news reached us today of Ryan’s passing. We will remember his drive and passion to make the textile industry more sustainable. Many of us worked with Ryan in various ways – some of us got to know him during his time at SAC, others cooperated with him through his work at Textile Exchange. A strategist, a bridge-builder, a driving force and an inspiration. To us, Ryan’s signature presentation was his speech in Vancouver about Textile Exchange’s 2030 climate goals, in which he forced all stakeholders to take a good look at, and have a long hard think of, the challenges ahead for this industrial sector… And take action. Now.

    Our thoughts go out to his family and his friends. Ryan will be sorely missed.
    On behalf of Control Union,
    Johan Maris
    Robert Demianew
    Binay Choudhury
    Lonneke de Kort
    Amir Khan
    Mark Prosé

  9. Ram Gidoomal

    I am so sorry to hear the sad news of Ryan’s passing. I had the pleasure of first meeting Ryan when he was appointed the COO of Textile Exchange. Ryan subsequently took on the role of Alternate Director for La Rhea at CottonConnect Ltd. I met Ryan at several Textile Exchange conferences and always enjoyed our chats and our catch up meetings over coffee or lunch. I was shocked to hear of his illness and am deeply saddened by this news. Please convey my sincere condolences to his family and to all at Textile Exchange.
    Ram Gidoomal CBE
    CottonConnect Ltd.

  10. Ducoin Eric

    Life is not always fair and very often too short to accomplish all the things we would like to do. Nevertheless when the legacy is clear anyone else can follow the tracks and achieve it.
    You did your part, each of us shall use its time and walk into this direction. We will be part of the solution. Tks Ryan,
    Condolences from France to Helena, Zoe, Alastair, and the Young family

  11. Shelly Gottschamer

    Ryan was an amazing leader, colleague and inspiration to the industry. The legacy he leaves behind will live on as we move together towards a more sustainable future. Sad news! Shelly

  12. Leslie Johnston

    I am so sad to hear of Ryan’s passing. He was a true, sincere, and authentic leader. He will be deeply missed. Sending positive thoughts and love to his family and to his TE colleagues. x

  13. Kirk Richardson

    My heart goes out to Ryans entire family with hope that his life inspired all to aspire to the heights he reached. Tremendous loss to hear this news, but tremendous model of how to leave guideposts to follow

    R.I.P. Ryan

  14. Una Hrnjak-Hadziahmetovic

    Ryan’s contagious positivity and curiosity and commitment to making our world a better place will be deeply missed. Sending love and strength during this difficult time to the Young family and the TE community. Let us all live Ryan’s values and aspirations in his honor every day.

  15. Amina Razvi

    From all of us at the SAC, we are saddened to hear of Ryan’s passing and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Ryan will always be remembered as a passionate advocate for a more just and sustainable future, a wonderful colleague and friend. He will be greatly missed but we will do our part to carry on this important work to build a better future, knowing he is with us in spirit.

  16. Christine Goulay

    I was struck by Ryan’s warmth, authenticity, intelligence and passion to drive positive change in the world. He did this not only through his work, but also through his interactions with others. He was a lovely person all around. Keeping the Young family, the TE community, and all those mourning his loss in my thoughts. As is noted in so many comments already, his legacy will continue to inspire others.

  17. Simone Seisl

    I had to leave the last day of the meetings in Vancouver early to catch my flight. I remember how stressed I was and at the same time I knew Ryan was still there in that meeting and that I could work with him on the outcome and next steps. It was a feeling of belonging to a wonderful team with wonderful leaders and inspiring colleagues like Ryan. Our last conversation on that day will be with me and I will keep it like a treasure. All my thoughts and prayers go to his family in these difficult times.

  18. Celeste Lilore

    There is so much that I will always admire about Ryan. His dedication to his family, the way he seamlessly juggled life/work balance: his vision, leadership, and contribution to the industry, including Textile Exchange’s Climate + Strategy. He challenged me, and because of it, I am better. His life was cut short; his legacy lives on.

  19. Kelly Cobb

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Ryan, he was a great leader and someone who advocated for our children’s future through his work. May his memory be a comfort to his family and may it inspire us forward to the world he envisioned.

  20. Helen

    Sending love and thoughts to Ryan’s family . Ryan was so deeply committed to making our world better – while all that he helped developed will live on – it is deeply sad for the world that he cannot be the one driving the change he wanted – the world needs people like Ryan and it is a lesser place without him and his energy to move us forward ! Up to us to keep his ideas alive.

  21. Rick MacDonald

    I’m sad and sorry to hear of Ryan’s passing. I have very fond memories of working with Ryan and the rest of the team on the first Higg Indices and developed great appreciation and respect for him as a leader and as a person. His commitment to and passion for protecting our planet came through loud and clear and inspired those he worked with. My condolences go out to his family and friends. We’ll continue our work in his memory.

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