Annual Organic Cotton Round Table: From”Massive Small” to Critical Mass
“As the pressures we face get bigger and bigger, businesses from all over the world have to rethink their supply chain, changing towards transparency, fair distribution, fair prices and fair treatment. Otherwise, they will not be able to remain competitive in future.” said Helmy Abouleish, CEO at SEKEM, Egypt
A record 230 thought leaders, farmers, textile and fashion industry executives gathered for the Fifth Annual Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) and emerged with clear initiatives focused on Seeds and Soils, Business Models, and Consumer Engagement as material ways to move the organic sector forward.
“Organic agriculture with its principles of health, ecology, fairness and care not only reminds us of what really matters but also shines a light on how to get there.” said Liesl Truscott, Director of Fiber & Materials Strategy at Textile Exchange, organizers of the OCRT.
Leo Johnson, Partner in PwC’s Sustainability & Climate Change team, introduced the concept of “massive small” – mobilizing people’s latent creativity, harnessing the collective power of many small ideas and actions. In his keynote, Leo explored progressive economics in an age of climate change and the links between progressive economics and the principles underpinning organic agriculture. He asked, “Can organic cotton change the course of business?”
Bob Bejan, General Manager for Global Communications Strategy at Microsoft, is a deep believer in the power of The Story. “Through the sharing of stories,” Bob said, “we can be inspired and more deeply motivated to solve the big ‘wicked’ questions of our time.”
U.S. company, Patagonia, regarded as one of the best adventure tales of our time, is always ready to push the boundaries of storytelling. Rachel Cantu, VP Global Supply Chain, spoke of organic regenerative agriculture – which for a clothing brand is very cool. “Conventional agriculture deprives soil of nutrients, requires more water and generates a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Organic regenerative farming makes for healthy soil, a healthy planet and healthy people,” says Rachel.
The OCRT is shifting the conversation from “commodity” to “community” and the interactive sessions during the day were power-packed. “Conversations begin during the day and continue over dinner. Relationships, and a sense of community, are central to the success of the OCRT. Each year just gets better and better,” says Liesl.
Back home, the OCRT community will work within Task Forces to take the early plans hatched on the day for regional sourcing hubs, a global consumer strategy, and a tool for incentivizing best practice and data collection, from concept to reality. Both the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) and the Chetna Coalition are earlier success stories for the OCRT.
The OCRT is fulfilling its promise as a platform for all and an incubator for great ideas. In Hamburg, the OCRT took another step toward creating a movement. A movement of the Massive Small!
- Full report of outcomes
- Graphic recordings
- Video highlights
- Keynote addresses
- Bob Bejan’s consumer engagement workshop
- Thought leader interview series
Organic Cotton Round Table: http://textileexchange.org/organic-cotton-round-table/ocrt-hamburg-2016/
For the bestowed Award, please turn to TextileFuture News
Textile Exchange (TE), founded in 2002, is a global nonprofit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to minimize and even reverse the negative impacts on water, soil, air, animals, and the human population created by this $1.7 trillion USD industry. TE accomplishes this by providing the knowledge and tools the industry needs to make significant improvements in three core areas: Fiber and Materials, Integrity and Standards, and Supply Chain. A truly global organization, TE is headquartered in the U.S. with Staff and Ambassadors located in 10 countries.