TEXTILE EXCHANGE ORGANIC COTTON ROUND TABLE
2019 Organic Cotton Round Table Summit | Vancouver
THEME: GREATER TOGETHER | SDG 17 PARTNERSHIP FOR THE GOALS
Textile Exchange’s 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, we hold a Global OCRT Summit alongside Textile Exchange’s annual Textile Sustainability Conference, in addition to Regional OCRTs held through the year.
The 2019 Global OCRT Summit took place under the crosscutting theme Greater Together | SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals. The day highlighted some of the most inspiring partnerships emerging in the world of organic cotton and celebrated the progress being made, particularly in the areas of production, integrity, and seed. Read on to catch up on the day’s highlights.
October 18, 2019
Vancouver BC, Canada
2018 Round Tables – High Level Agenda
Graphic recordings by Textile Exchange Ambassador, Carlotta Cataldi. Click to expand.
The day kicked off with a warm regional welcome from Jimmy Wedel of TOCMC, followed by a heartwarming story told by Textile Exchange’s Managing Director La Rhea Pepper of the letters she and her late husband wrote to each other with their vision for the organic cotton sector. Cara Chacon of Patagonia followed with a heartstopping reminder of the issues facing our planet and the urgency with which we must act.
“Keep the vision, build the bridges, and be willing to take the journey.”
Simon Cooper, Global Communications Lead, UNDP GCP| MC for the day
Jimmy Wedel, President, Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative
La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange
Cara Chacon, VP, Social and Environmental Responsibility
PART 1: GREATER TOGETHER
Members of the Organic Cotton Collective Impact (OCCI) initiative then presented the progress being made and the next steps of the collaboration between Textile Exchange, OCA and the wider organic cotton sector.
Kathleen Wood Organizational Development Consultant
Arun Ambatipudi, Co-Founder and Advisor, Chetna Organic
Crispin Argento, Executive Director, Organic Cotton Accelerator
Cara Chacon,VP Social and Environmental Responsibility, Patagonia
Sabrina Mueller,Lead Manager Sustainability, Tchibo
Liesl Truscott, Director of European & Materials Strategy, Textile Exchange
PART 2: REGIONAL DIALOGUES
This session provided insights from key regional representatives on each region’s production trends, future outlook, and the progress of key regional initiatives. Each regional representative posed a challenge that the region is currently facing and invited attendees to join them in co-creating a solution during the lunch break.
Simon Cooper, Global Communications Lead, UNDP GCP | MC for the day
Amish Gosai, South Asia Manager, Textile Exchange
Hammad Khan, Director General, WWF Pakistan
Lakshmi Poti, Programme Manager | Sustainable Raw Materials, C&A Foundation
Sandra Marquardt, Regional Ambassador – USA, Textile Exchange
Silvio Moraes, Regional Ambassador – Latin America, Textile Exchange
Evonne Tan, Regional Data Management & China Strategy Director, Textile Exchange
Silvere Tovignan, Regional Ambassador – Africa, Textile Exchange
Aydin Unsal, Owner, Egedeniz
Working Lunch: Co-creating a Manifesto for Organic Cotton
Each organic cotton producing region had a dedicated Regional Hub on the outskirts of the room. All attendees were invited and encouraged to take a virtual “tour of the regions” during the lunch break and then join a table discussion at one of the regions to participate in the co-creation of a manifesto for organic cotton.
PART 3: INTEGRITY DEBATE
The afternoon started back with a lively role play session in the style of a court case. A dual-fishbowl set up saw one side argue that suppliers should be walked away from if integrity issues were found, while the other argued that the issues should be worked through together.
#1. “Our side would walk away from a supplier if we discovered integrity problems”
#2. “Our side would work with our suppliers if we found integrity problems”
Each thoughtstarter had been assigned to one side of the argument and an expert Jury gave their input before going to a full audience vote.
Rhett Godfrey, Co-Founder & Lead Coordinator, Chetna Coalition
Tobias Meier, Senior Project Manager Green Economy, ecos
La Rhea Pepper, Organic Cotton Farmer, Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative
Brad Boren, Director of Innovation & Sustainability, Norrøna
Gwendolyn Wyard, Vice President, Regulatory & Technical Affairs Organic Trade Association
Lori Wyman, GOTS Representative for North America
Prama Bhardwaj, CEO, Mantis World | Chair of Textile Exchange’s Pan-Africa Sourcing Working Group
Eric Ducoin, Managing Director – Sourcing, Biocoton
Aydin Unsal, Owner, Egedeniz Tekstil A.S.
Bruno Van Steenberghe, Founder, KALANI S.A.
15:55 PART 4: SEED CELEBRATION
Commercializing non-GM cotton hybrids
Subindu Garkhel, Senior Cotton and Textiles Lead, Fairtrade Foundation
Shivraj Singh Raghuvanshi, Seed Expert, Pratibha Syntex Pvt. Ltd.
This session began with a short introduction from Subindu Garkhel, session moderator, to introduce the broad topic and the issues the industry is facing. The focus was on celebrating the progress and investments that are being made, particularly in India where the problem is most critical.
In 2018 in Milan, we co-created a new approach – a General Assembly for Organic Cotton.
In the six years since the first Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) in Hong Kong, the gatherings have really lived up to their aspiration of being a Platform for Collective Action and an Incubator for Great Ideas. With our new approach, we have gone to the next level.
We believe this structure, inspired by the United Nations approach, provides a model for our development, uniting global and regional OCRTs and encouraging a two-way flow of information between the regional communities. Delegations from each region come together, alongside brands, retailers and other stakeholders, to report globally on their regional updates, activities and successes.
The General Assembly takes the informal linkages of the current OCRT to a more focused and mindful model of engagement between stakeholders. All of the ingredients that make the OCRT so valuable to stakeholders remain, such as the multi-stakeholder, accessible, and catalytic principles, with the added impact of a global and regional strategy that aim to link the pathway to region-based growth to a strengthened interaction between regions, supply networks and global thinking.
In Milan, time was dedicated to explaining the new model, discussing how a General Assembly can benefit us all, and ensuring next steps are developed with broad stakeholder input.
THANK YOU TO OUR 2019 OCRT SCHOLARSHIP FUND CONTRIBUTORS
Thanks also to the 2019 conference sponsors supporting this Round Table:
SUPPORT THE OCRT SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Each year, we strive to ensure that the OCRT is as inclusive as possible by having voices from each region represented on the day. We started an OCRT Scholarship Fund in order to support the attendance of farmers / regional representatives who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to travel to Vancouver to join in the OCRT discussions. We are always seeking contributors to the fund – please contact us if you’d like to know more: OCRT@TextileExchange.org.
Out of the Box Interviews: 2 Series Now available
Previous ocrt highlights
Series 1: Business as if People Mattered. Filmed during the 2016 OCRT in Hamburg, Germany.
Series 2: West Africa’s otton Trailblazers. Filmed during the 2018 Regional OCRT in Koudougou, Burkina Faso.
Regional OCRT 2019, China
Global OCRT 2018, Milan
Regional OCRT 2018, Burkina Faso
Regional OCRT 2018, Izmir
Global OCRT 2017, Washington D.C.
Regional OCRT 2017, Izmir
Global OCRT 2016, Hamburg
Global OCRT 2015, Mumbai
Global OCRT 2014, Portland
Global OCRT 2013, Istanbul
Global OCRT 2012, Hong Kong
Past PARTICIPANT COMMENTS
“Excellent global insight and education”
“Very comprehensive, interesting and informative”
“Inspiring, dedicated people with one common goal”
“Rich day with a lot of experience shared between organic cotton actors”
“The OCRT is very important to educate all value chain actors”
“The dialogue was content rich”
“Especially good to hear from South America and Turkey”
“Great to hear so many voices, very democratic”
“Very well organised round table, many good topics discussed”
“We need to look at livable incomes in a specific geographical region and determine the true cost of production, making sure that there is a sustainable margin on that.”Heinrich Schultz Organimark, & Chair of Textile Exchange Catalyst
“We believe now is the time to embed a common agenda through a connected community, to drive meaningful adoption of organic cotton, and to solidify our role in the sustainable cotton continuum.”La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange
“Being a first timer at the OCRT was incredibly inspiring. The access to industry thought leaders from Burkina Faso to Jaipur helped me gain a clearer picture of the challenges and immense promise of Organic Cotton. I walked away from the day feeling well informed and part of a larger ecosytem of smart and dedicated people committed to organic cotton and sustainability. It made me proud to be an OCRT sponsor. Thank you!”Linda Cabot, Founder, Linda Cabot Designs
- La Rhea PepperManaging Director
- Liesl TruscottEuropean & Materials Strategy Director
- Lisa BarsleyMaterials Platform Manager
- Simon CooperMOSP Partner | Change Agency
- Alice Dos SantosOrganic Cotton Program Coordinator
- Amish GosaiSouth Asia Manager
- Atila ErtemAmbassador - Turkey, Egypt and Central Asia
- Silvio MoraesAmbassador Latin America
- Evonne TanData Management & China Strategy Director
- Silvère TovignanAmbassador Africa