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.

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.

Every year since its inception in Hong Kong 2012, the OCRT has held an in person meeting alongside the annual Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference. In 2017, Textile Exchange launched the first official Regional OCRT in Izmir, Turkey. The 2018 Regional OCRT will take place on 10-11th May – find out more here!

Click on the links to the right to read about all past and upcoming meetings.


Access the full suite of OCRT videos here – including an interview series featuring some of the industry’s most inspiring and out-of-the-box thinkers.

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 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 success of organic cotton.

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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.

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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.

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 in Washington D.C. The seventh meeting is set to be held in Milan in October 2018. More details to be announced soon!

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.

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.


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.

Liesl Truscott, European & Materials Strategy Director Liesl@TextileExchange.org  Lisa Emberson, Materials Platform Coordinator Lisa@TextileExchange.org