The OCRT Innovation Award 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 discover new ways for the organic cotton community to flourish – from producer to consumer.

This page showcases our Innovation Award Alumni – the talented and inspiring winners, runner-ups and finalists of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 OCRT Innovation Award. We will soon be adding updates on how the Alumni’s projects are progressing – so come back soon to see how they are getting on!

Innovator: Marzia Lanfranchi
Organization: Cotton Diaries
Country: UK/Italy
Project: Connecting stories, from crop to cloth. Cotton Diaries is an interactive documentary that revives the human connection between the people who grow, make and use cotton.
Website: www.cottondiaries.com
Email: marzia@cottondiaries.com


Innovator: Tobias Meier
Organization: ecos
Country: Switzerland (and Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Senegal)
Project: Establishing a sourcing-coalition for organic fairtrade cotton from West Africa, aiming to improve market access for tens of thousands of smallholder farming families.
Website: www.ecos.ch
Email: tobias.meier@ecos.ch


Innovator: Lucy Rao
Organization: Pamba Mali Organic Cotton Initiative
Country: Kenya
Project: Pamba Mali is a social enterprise at its pilot stage with a goal to eliminate poverty and hunger among smallholder farmers in western Kenya by growing cotton organically. Pamba Mali believes in the power of entrepreneurship and investment in women.
Website: www.facebook.com/PambaMali/
Email: lucyrialto@yahoo.com


Innovator: Marci Zaroff
Organization: MetaWear
Country: USA
Project: With a commitment to ethical production, certified organic fibers and renewable energy, MetaWear is the nation’s leading sustainable fashion manufacturer and turnkey solution for stylish “made in the USA,” GOTS-certified, screen-printed and dyed t-shirts and other custom goods.
Website: www.metawearorganic.com


Innovator: Robert Mathew / Ram Chavan
Organization: FabriKolor
Country: India
Project: fabriKolor is a socio-cultural movement to support women empowerment, organic clothing, sustainable community development and environment protection. fabriKolor works with low-income marginalised women to produce naturally dyed organic clothing using organic cotton.
Website: www.fabrikolor.com  
Email: info@fabrikolor.com


Innovator: Martín Alonso
Organization: StayTrueOrganic
Country: Argentina
Project: StayTrueOrganic has initiated a self-sustainable biodynamic farm based on organic cotton cultivation in the native QOM community, utilizing the business to inspire solutions for educational, health and social problems in the region.
Website: www.staytrueorganic.com
Email: martin@staytrueorganic.com


Christine Goulay (Chair) – Sustainable Sourcing Specialist, Kering
Arun Ambatipudi – Executive Director, Chetna Organic
Subindu Garkhel – Cotton Product Manager, Fairtrade International
Ben Ramsden – Chief Community Officer/ Co-Founder, Resonance
Heinrich Shultz – Managing Director, OrganiMark
Bruno Van Steenberghe – Founder, Kalani S.A.

(Left to right: Subindu Garkhel, Bruno Van Steenberghe, Ben Ramsden, Arun Ambatipudi, Christine Goulay)


Innovator: Bettina Steinbrugger & Annemarie Harant
Organization: erdbeerwoche (Strawberry Week)
Country: Austria
Project: “erdbeerwoche” is an awareness raising platform as well as an innovative onlineshop for sustainable feminine hygiene and organic-fair trade underwear, which aims to bring the feminine hygiene sector into the sustainability debate.
Website: www.strawberry-week.com
Email: info@erdb eerwoche.com
→ Bettina & Annemarie’s Winning Pitch     → Project Update


Innovator: Sven Drillenburg Lelijveld
Organization: SmartFarming
Country: Netherlands/India
Project: A smartphone application for organic farmers with real-time, locally specific data and advice on inputs and farming practices, along with a ‘management dashboard’ for cotton companies.
Website: www.smartfarmingtech.com
Email: info@smartfarmingtech.com
→ Sven’s Innovation Pitch     → Project Update


Innovator: Sreeranga Rajan & Ralf Hellmann
Organization: Dibella
Country: India/Germany
Project: The Good Textile Foundation (GTF) will create difference funds to improve transparency and support infrastructure development in organic cotton farming communities.
Website: www.goodtextiles.org
Email: info@goodtextiles.org
→ Sreeranga’s Innovation Pitch     → Project Update


Innovator: Avinash Karmarkar
Organization: Pratibha Syntex
Country: India
Project: Vasudha Model Organic Farms (VMOF) envisions sustainable availability of raw material for industry by increasing “Economic Yield Per Acre” without disturbing ecological balance. Each VMOF will become a self-sustained independent unit.
Website: www.pratibhasyntex.com
→ Avinash’s Innovation Pitch     → Project Update


Innovator: David Bellard & Veronica Yow
Organization: RARE
Country: U.S./ China
Project: RARE proposes to create a market initiative that is built on 3 pillars: Rare’s community engagement methodology; a seed-to-store traceability platform; and a marketing campaign.
Website: www.rare.org
Email: vyow@rare.org | dbellard@rare.org
→ Veronica & David’s Innovation Pitch     → Project Update


Innovator: Gijs Spoor
Organization: Seed to Self
Country: India
Project: Leveling up the playing field – reducing the cost of more sustainable products for consumers, while increasing rewards to producers, by calculating and managing premiums as a value chain rather than as individual firms.
Website: www.seedtoself.in
Email: gijs@seedtoself.in
→ Gijs’s Innovation Pitch     → Project Update


Dr. Helen Crowley (chair) – Head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation, Kering, France
Andrea Bischof – Senior Advisor Sustainable Agriculture/ Organic Farming, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
Rachel Cantu – VP Global Supply Chain, Patagonia, USA
Ali Polat – Owner, Orimpex Organic Textiles, Turkey/ Netherlands
Ben Ramsden – Global Resonance, UK
Jimmy Wedel – President, Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, USA

2016-Judging-Panel-1024x267(Left to right: Ben Ramsden, Rachel Cantu, Andrea Bischof, Dr. Helen Crowley, Ali Polat and Jimmy Wedel. Photo Credit: Rajeev Verma, CottonConnect)


Innovator: Avinash Karmarkar
Organization: VOSC/ Pratibha Syntex
Country: India
Project: Over the next five years, Pratibha plans to work with 300 villages to create an awakened ‘scientist’ in each farmer who, through participatory methods, will find his or her own solutions to their problems, thereby resulting in continuous, sustainable and holistic growth.
Website: www.pratibhasyntex.com
Email: mumbai@pratibhasyntex.com
→ What does Avinash say about The Innovation Lab


Innovator: Sreeranga Rajan & E. Sakthivel
Organization: Dibella & PSP India
Country: India
Project: Inspired by the urgent need to find a solution for the waste generated in factory cutting floor and in farm yards, Dibella teamed up with PSP India to create the world’s most socially, environmentally and economically competitive packaging products.
Website: www.pspindia.net
Email: sakthi@pspindia.net
→ What does Sreeranga say about The Innovation Lab


Innovator: Vivek Rawal
Organization: bioRe India
Country: India
Project: bioRe is setting up a non-GM cottonseed research, production, and promotion enterprise, which is ready to provide a seed solution to organic farmers in India.
Website: www.bioreindia.com
Email: contact@bioreindia.com
→ What does Vivek say about The Innovation Lab


Innovator: Rubina Ansari
Country: India
Project: The Caring Cotton proposes a “hands-on” learning center and experimental laboratory in Auroville, India, focused on the use of organic cotton, natural dyes and other artisanal skills. Providing workshops and establishing business models between the designers and supply chain, improving and growing the capacity of skilled craftsmen/women.
Website: www.thecaringcotton.com
Email: info@thecaringcotton.com
→ What does Rubina say about The Innovation Lab


Innovator: Tong Yong
Organization: Mecilla
Country: China
Project: Sustainable Fashion Education in China: Since China is such a significant player in the textiles industry, this project aims to bring together key stakeholders, including Chinese fashion academics and professionals, to review current practices and challenges in integrating sustainability into the fashion curriculum.
Website: www.mecilla.com
→ What does Tong say about The Innovation Lab


Innovator: Elie Dolo and Bagna Traore
Organization: REMATRAC-Bio
Country: Mali
Project: The REMATRAC-Bio network sells artisanal handicraft textile products in domestic and international markets. The network is involved in exhibitions and meetings for the promotion of organic cotton and runs a project to improve the quality of local organic textile products.
Website: www.rematrac-bio.com
Email: boubacar6@hotmail.com


Innovator: Elisabeth Katz (presented on day by Markus Brauchli)
Organization: HELVETAS
Country: Tajikistan
Project: Bio-Kishovarz aims to improve livelihoods of cotton growing farmers through introduction of certified organic farming.
Website: www.tajikistan.helvetas.org/en/
Email: tajikistan@helvetas.org/


Innovator: Markus Brauchli
Organization: Bio Farmer, Paul Reinhart AG and Elmer & Zweifel GmbH (Cotonea)
Country: Kyrgyzstan
Project: To tackle the issue of contamination, Bio Farmer, in collaboration with Paul Reinhart AG and Elmer & Zweifel GmbH (Cotonea), came up with a comprehensive and innovative quality management (QM) strategy along the entire processing chain.


Sally Uren, Forum for the Future (lead judge) • Punit Lalbhai, Arvind Limited • Andrea Bischof, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation • Dr. Helen Crowley, Kering • Ben Ramsden, Pi Foundation
→ What does Sally say about The Innovation Lab

Innovation-Lab-Alumni-Judging-Panel-1024x456(Left to right: Andrea Bischof, Sally Uren, Dr. Helen Crowley, Ben Ramsden, Punit Lalbhai)


Quick Links

About organic cotton

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards.

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2017 Market reports

The 2017 Preferred Fiber & Materials Report and the Organic Cotton Market Report are joined by the "Insider" Series.

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PFM Benchmark

The Preferred Fiber & Materials (PFM) Benchmark helps companies measure, manage and integrate a PFM strategy.

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A framework for assessing the environmental, social & economic impacts of organic cotton agriculture.

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A selection of some of the key terms and abbreviations that are used in the industry.


 Jana Busch, Materials Platform Assistant Jana@TextileExchange.org