TEXTILE EXCHANGE ORGANIC COTTON ROUND TABLE
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.
Each year, the OCRT holds a Global in-person meeting at Textile Exchange’s annual Textile Sustainability Conference, as well as, more recently, a number of Regional OCRTs through the year.
Watch the video above to get a feel for what the OCRT is all about, then dive deeper through our Out of the Box interviews with some of the industry’s most inspiring thinkers.
WHAT DOES THE OCRT DO?
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.
HISTORY OF THE OCRT
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.
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, the sixth in Washington D.C, and the seventh meeting was held in Milan in October 2018.
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.
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.