The last week of October 2018, we participated at the annual Textile Exchange conference, as we have done every year since 2010. 8 years already!
Textile ETextile Exchange is the only association in the world that succeeded in bringing together the entire sustainable textile industry from the 5 continents. It includes: clothing brands, home linen, accessories, organic cotton farmers’ cooperatives, recycled fibre manufacturers, natural and organic fibres, NGOs, associations of ecological or social activists, international organizations, government representatives, etc.
If you would like to know even more, do not hesitate to visit the Textile Exchange website: : www.textileexchange.org.
This year the international conference took place in the Italian fashion capital, more precisely at the iconic MiCo (Milano Convention Center).
The enthusiasm and awareness of the world’s textile brands is growing.
This year, the number of conference attendees increased from 520 (at the last conference in Washington DC) to over 800 this year, representing 43 countries! A great success for Textile Exchange, which we have been supporting since 2010.
As an active volunteer member of Textile Exchange, I have also been on the association’s Board of Directors since 2016 for the European body. Within Textile Exchange Europe, we have recently organized ourselves into 2 groups: Organic Cotton Advisory Council (with a 100% focus on organic cotton issues worldwide) and TE Catalyst (with the objective of being a catalyst to develop all the Round Tables organised by Textile Exchange (organic cotton, recycled polyester, cellulosic fibres, and 3 new Round Tables in training…).
Working with organic cotton in a responsible way is much more complex than simply finding the right partners and developing good practices. I have been working on this for several years now with other people who also believe in it and who put so much of themselves into it so that organic cotton finally takes its rightful place!
After an intense weekend of meetings and Board meetings to refine the association’s strategy and continue the work started in previous years, we also spent 3 days with the 800 people attending the conference, with the following agenda:
Monday, October 22nd
Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT)
This round table, gathering hundreds of participants representing 6 important regions of the world, was organized in the form of a general assembly this year where interlocutors from the different regions presented their challenges, projects and objectives.
From this day, in addition to the inspiration, sharing of experiences and usual exchanges, we highlighted the two main concerns of the sector, namely :
1. the fight against GMO contamination of the organic cotton fields
2. the supply of organic cotton, which is becoming insufficient in relation to demand.
Today, demand represents less than 1% of the cotton purchased each year worldwide, but many farmers have turned away from organic white gold, tired of the price pressure from some large textile groups, GMO seed manufacturers and micro-credit companies. We have a challenge to face and it is important to convey the right messages to these cooperatives, because there is a market today, which is aimed at small and medium-sized brands like Kalani, where customers, like you all, understand these global issues and do not expect their favorite brands to get the prices that are always the cheapest and damaging the environment and the farmers communities.
Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 October
Major annual conference
800 brains with big hearts present to learn, educate, inspire, get inspired, commit to a more sustainable and respectful textile. We have come together to engage in concrete actions (United by Action).
How does this translate for Kalani?
An ever-increasing commitment to organic cotton
Above all, a strengthening of our field work in India with the coalition of small and medium-sized brands to which we have belonged since the beginning of the adventure and which is recognised by all as the most effective initiative and having the greatest impact on the organic cotton cooperative group with which we have been working for years.
To put it simply, our 19-member coalition has managed, in a few years, to fully fill the capacity of organic cotton grown each year in 4 Indian provinces, paying premium prices well above market, while collecting field data in an organized way and having a direct impact on the living conditions of over 15,000 farmers and their communities.
We are under the radar of the jealous big textile groups who are unable to do better because of their supply chain policy. In our coalition’s articles of incorporation, we committed ourselves to replicate this unique model in other regions and countries. So we are looking for other best practice cooperatives in the world and when we will be able to organize this, we will probably be able to accept additional members to continue our mission…
We have developed our high-end bed linen made of organic cotton and Fairtrade certified cotton, to offer you the best, but also to limit our impact on the planet, and we work every day, with all our energy, ideas and heart to achieve this goal, for you, for us, for them … for all!
If you have any questions about this subject that is more important to us than anything else, feel free to leave us a comment!
© Credit Photos : Chetco