ICAC Launches 79th Plenary Meeting, the First Ever to Be Fully Virtual and Free to All

In late 2018, no one had any idea of the firestorm that the coronavirus was about to unleash on the global cotton industry (and every other aspect of our lives, as well). It was the first-ever global pandemic in modern times and so it is fitting that the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) used its 79th Plenary Meeting to do a few unprecedented things of its own — such as making the event fully virtual and free to all who want to attend.

Scheduled for 6-8 December 2021, the conference launched today with its traditional opening, including speeches from the Standing Committee Chair, Mr Anshul Sharma and the Executive Director Mr Kai Hughes and a market report consisting of six comprehensive presentations from members of the Secretariat. In another first, two of those presentations were delivered by the ICAC’s Data Scientist, Mr Matthew Looney, and its Head of Textiles, Mr Kanwar Usman. Both of those positions were created in 2021 to meet the information needs of a rapidly changing world.

During his speech, Mr Hughes used the unprecedented events of the past two years to illustrate how the Secretariat turned the challenges into opportunities. ‘The ICAC has probably has its busiest year to date and despite Covid, managed to achieve more than 80% of the objectives in the ICAC’s Strategic Plan, which is remarkable in these turbulent times’, he said. ‘One thing we can thank Covid for is making us look at and re-evaluate our processes and procedures. That forced us to innovate, which is critical for us to be well-positioned to meet the challenges that will come’.

The Plenary Meeting will continue with two major sessions on each of the next two days: ‘Fortifying the Cotton Supply Chain’ and ‘Labelling: What Is the Real Story about My T-Shirt?’, which are scheduled for 8:00 am (GMT-5) until 12:00 pm on Tuesday, 7 December; and ‘Advances and Challenges of Hybrid Cotton Technology’ and ‘The World Café: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainability’, from 8:00 am until 11:20 am on Wednesday, 8 December.

The ICAC’s Virtual 79th Plenary Meeting is being held 6-8 December with the theme, ‘Fortifying the Cotton Supply Chain: New Approaches to New Challenges’. The event is free to all and can be accessed by clicking here

Speaker presentations will be uploaded to a web page that also lists the ICAC Plenary Meeting’s agenda (click here ). An announcement will be sent in the coming weeks once all recorded presentations are uploaded and available on YouTube.

Formed in 1939, the ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It acts as a catalyst for change by helping member countries maintain a healthy world cotton economy; provides transparency to the world cotton market by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production; and serves as a forum for discussing cotton issues of international significance. In addition, members can take advantage of the ICAC’s global network of cotton researchers, whose expertise covers the supply chain from farm to textile manufacturing, and have free access to its cutting-edge technologies like the voice-based app and virtual technology cotton training programme. Committed to ensuring cotton’s continued sustainability, the ICAC is the only intergovernmental commodity body covering cotton that is recognised by the United Nations. For more information, please visit www.icac.org