A powerful and thought-provoking interview series that will give you a unique insight into the wealth of talent, knowledge and leadership that exists in West Africa’s cotton sector; a sector that is fast gaining attention on the international stage.
In September 2018, Textile Exchange launched its first Regional Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) in West Africa, held in Koudougou, Burkina Faso, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) during the inaugural Salon International du Cotton et du Textiles (SICOT). The week of events bought together pioneers driving sustainability across West Africa’s cotton sector, and we were fortunate to have an Emmy-nominated documentary producer, David Bowen-Jones of TVPP, with us to capture their thoughts on camera. The result is a series of 19 inspiring interviews, which we are delighted to share with you on this page.
Pascal Rouamba is a Regional Adviser at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Here, Pascal presents the role of organic cotton for family farming, and explains how market demand and investment in capacity building can drive development in the region.
Harouna Kaboré, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Crafts, presents the political strategy of his government to build an integrated cotton value chain, stressing the importance of building public-private partnerships and strengthening both North-South and South-South cooperations.
Bintou Diallo, Head of the Agency for the promotion of investments of Burkina Faso and Commissioner-General of the SICOT, states the ambitions of the SICOT and talks us through the work of her agency in building partnerships at international level to foster market access.
Moussa Kaboré, Burkina Faso’s Special Advisor of the President for Agriculture and Food Security, explains how the SICOT is part of a wider program for the cotton industry. He highlights the need to adopt processing technologies and to support the growth of the organic cotton sector.
Djeneba Pagabelem, Marketing Director of the UNPCB, describes the role that women play not only at production level but also in processing. Djeneba believes developing the local textile industry in parallel to organic production can further empower local communities.
Bambou Bihoun, the President of the UNPCB, talks about the challenges and risks specific to organic production. In his interview, Bambou shares his vision for bringing the sector to maturity and leveraging the positive impacts of organic cotton for the economy of Burkina Faso.
Rodrigue Tougma, Certification and Microfinance Manager for CRS’s RECOLTE Project, discusses the market opportunities brought about by organic fairtrade cotton, and the inventive income-generating activities that are contributing greatly to rural livelihoods.
Tobias Meier, Senior Project Manager Green Economy at ecos, believes strongly in the opportunities of regional collaboration and tells us how the recently formed Organic & Fairtrade Cotton Coalition is working to create this enabling environment.
Arun Ambatipudi, Executive Director of Chetna Organic, is keen to share his learnings from co-founding the Chetna Coalition in India with the new coalition in West Africa to support to fast track their progress. Arun discusses this, and many other topics, in this insightful interview.
François Yameogo, Designer and Founder of François 1er, is a promoter of African fashion and is keen to share his experience from France with the next generation in Burkina Faso. He sees the value in organic cotton and the need to develop small-scale facilities to build on this.
Heather Chaplet, Founder and Designer at Xoomba, tells us why she chooses to source from this region and shares her vision for the local textile industry. Heather suggests ways to encourage responsible growth such as customs discounts for organic and finished products.
Paul Allen, Technical Director of Ethical Apparel Africa, recognizes how fabric production is still the missing link in West Africa, and talks about his work training local factory management in improving efficiency and quality; crucial attributes for attracting brands and investment.
Jaqueline Shaw, Founder of Africa Fashion Guide, discusses value addition in African textiles, the potential of artisanal and luxury products, her belief in trade over aid, and the power of Africa’s entrepreneurial mindset .
Bená Burda, President of Maggie’s Organics, and Justin Hendrix, Strategy and Partnerships Manager for Ethical Apparel Africa, discuss market linkages in organic, the value of local knowledge, and the need for a common vision.
Jan Sass, Executive Director of Cotton Expert House Africa, discusses the need for economic clusters to improve value creation in Africa, and the importance of consumer awareness in driving market changes.
Boubacar Kamissokho, Chief of Party for CRS’ RECOLTE Project in Burkina Faso, discusses the market conditions required to drive technology and production in Burkina Faso, and also tells us about the potential the new organic cotton gin will bring.
Carla Brown-Ndiaye, Country Representative for CRS in Burkina Faso, tells us how CRS supports organic cotton farmers, the values and integrity that guide how CRS operates, and the importance of working collaboratively.
Christian La Pietra-Fung, USAID Country Representative for Burkina Faso, talks of the importance he sees in growing economic optimism in Burkina Faso in light of its rapidly growing population and security issues, and the role that organic cotton can play in this.
We took the opportunity during the 2016 Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) in Hamburg to interview some of the industry’s most inspiring and “out of the box” thinkers, and were fortunate to have Emmy-nominated documentary producer David Bowen-Jones with us to capture their thoughts on camera. The result was an inspiring and thought-provoking series of ten interviews, which we are happy to be able to share with you here.
In his Out of the Box interview, Leo Johnson discusses his idea that developments in technology could enable a ‘radically distributed’ ownership structure, encouraging greater freedom and participation.
Heinrich Schultz, Managing Director of OrganiMark, South Africa, discusses how securing commitment builds trust, increases efficiency and reduces cost.
Integrity expert Joy Saunders discusses how integrity benefits all stakeholders, and research which shows that the greater the integrity of a company, the greater its competitiveness and profitability.
Helmy Abouleish, CEO of SEKEM, Egypt, introduces the company’s holistic approach to sustainable development, which ensures the added value of their products is redistributed fairly through the supply chain.
Roland Stelzer, Managing Partner of Elmer & Zweifel, explains how the company went from selling throw-away medical products in 1987 to, today, selling organic Fairtrade garments through its brand Cotonea.
Jimmy Wedel, President of the award-winning Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, urges brands to educate consumers and leverage their knowledge of organic food to build demand for organic cotton.
Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association UK, explains that, to grow the market, we need to use the wealth of data and evidence now available to convince brands and retailers that it’s in their own interest to source organic cotton.
Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials at the C&A Foundation, talks about the importance of finding ways to work collaboratively, both at the government level and at the brand level, to harness the power of the market and create real change.
Michael Sligh, Program Director at RAFI USA, describes the need for more honest and open conversation across the supply chain to build synergy and aid peer learning, proposing a new model built on cooperation, transparency and good faith.
Bob Bejan, Microsoft’s GM Communication Strategy, discusses the shift from a product to people-based mentality. Witnessing a “drumbeat of shared aspirations”, he observes how, across industries and societies, we are increasingly reaching for the same goals.