TEXTILE EXCHANGE ORGANIC COTTON ROUND TABLE
8th October 2015
In 2015, in Mumbai, almost 200 producers, manufacturers, brands, retailers, and support organizations came together in Mumbai to share news and views on organic cotton. The sheer size of the gathering and the energy on the day left no doubt in our minds that the desire to grow a robust and resilient organic cotton market is greater than ever.
Highlights from 2015 OCRT Mumbai
Flow of the Day
Our panel of experts and investors excited us with news of recent investments in organic cotton from India to Pakistan to China. Alongside new investors were pioneers in organic from Helvetas and bioRe, who continue to demonstrate that innovation goes hand-in-hand with bold and visionary “early adoption” of ideas.
Panelists’ Top Recommendations
- Provide enablers such as Farmer Field Schools, demonstration plots, input access and certification, and Women’s Open Schools.
- Strengthen whole communities to facilitate access to extension services, technology, farming inputs and markets.
- Include the Intransition years in investment programs to support farmers during the transition to organic.
- Go beyond the commodity and approach the farm as an agro-ecological system producing food and fiber, conserving natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- Build partnerships to include government incentives and market mechanisms to achieve product delivery.
- Farmer First models rooted in transparency, trust, and commitment.
Open Space – Vision For The Sector
Tackling the Roots of Integrity Issues – Collective Vision:
- Common Understanding – Important to understand what integrity means to everybody else.
- Trust – To achieve integrity a culture of trust needs to be nurtured.
- Communication – Open communication is vital to address underlying causes of deviations from integrity.
- Training – Supply chain actors need to be equipped with the tools for integrating and managing integrity.
- Financing – Pressure to cut corners can lead to integrity being compromised – it must be factored into a true cost business model.
Examining the Business Case for Producers – Collective Vision
- Commitment – Long-term commitments from brands and retailers.
- Pricing – Explore new pricing models such as de-coupling prices from the commodity market.
- Quality – Work together to ensure fiber performance (quality, characteristics etc.) matches commercial and technical requirements.
- Financing – Work to coordinate product and financial flows to reduce producer vulnerability and leverage access to affordable financing.
Market Movements and Opportunities – Collective Vision
- Efficiencies – Employ appropriate technology to increase efficiencies and remove waste.
- Pricing – Go deep into supply networks to resolve pricing issues.
- Education – Curriculums that influence and encourage responsible and ethical behavior (citizenship).
- Integrity – Every actor in the supply chain must take responsibility.
The New SDGs: What They Mean for Cotton Communities – Collective Vision
- Collective Action – We need to act! It must be precise and inclusive – governments and businesses talking to each other.
- Trade not aid!
- Metrics that matter – Incentivize companies to set their own KPIs to deliver SDGs.
- Build a platform – Find the right forum such as the World Economic Forum to bring governments and businesses together to find solutions (incentives, policies) to work together to deliver SDGs.
Eat & Greet
Lunchtime’s “Eat & Greet” provided an extensive menu of topics (15 in all). Diners were encouraged to graze lightly or dig in heartily where appetite dictated!
OCRT 2015 Collaborators
OCRT 2015 Key Partners
Fairtrade international is part of the international Fairtrade system, which represents the world’s largest and most recognized system promoting fair trade. Organic and Fairtrade initiatives share very similar values, as well as some similar challenges, and we are therefore delighted to see the long running partnership between the OCRT and Fairtrade continue this year in Mumbai.
The Pre Organic Cotton (POC) Program began in 2008 and is managed by Japanese companies Kurrku and ITOCHU. POC helps cotton farmers in India make the transition to organic by giving guidance on farming methods during the three-year transition period, and supporting the organic certification process.
The Global Organic Textile Standard is a comprehensive standard that allows companies to ensure that their organic fiber products are produced to very strict criteria relating to quality, tracking, and social and environmental considerations. Textile Exchange is a strong supporter of GOTS, and we encourage all companies to strive to have their products meet this important standard.
CottonConnect is a pioneering company with a social purpose, delivering business benefits to retailers and brands by creating more sustainable cotton supply chains. TE has worked closely with CottonConnect for a number of years and is delighted to see them become “Friends” of this year’s OCRT in Mumbai.
Innovation Lab Partners
UK based research and consulting business Change Agency helps companies to anticipate, plan and deliver change successfully, and is ‘an antidote to traditional consultants’. Change Agency will this year be a formal partner of the OCRT and continue to support and facilitate the effective running of this ever-popular event, providing particular assistance in the running of the new Innovation Lab.
Luminous Energy specialises in the planning and development of large-scale photovoltaic power plants, from initial site selection to connection and commissioning. We are happy to welcome them as the new corporate partner of the inaugral Innovation Lab, which will take place during the OCRT 2015 in Mumbai.