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Multi-stakeholder project to boost transparency of organic cotton

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-04-14 12:11:41 – Netherlands

With the support of Danish fashion store Bestseller and denim manufacturer G-Star Raw, a new multi-year project aimed at increasing transparency and fairness in the organic cotton market has launched.

Textile in Transition was launched by the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) with funding from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency Fund for Responsible Business (FVO) to improve decent working conditions in organic cotton production and secure the livelihoods of thousands of farmers while increasing the organic cotton supply.

The project, which is funded by the FVO, takes advantage of OCA's existing Farm Program in India to help participating companies gain transparency into the source of their fiber while also implementing improved buying practices and targeted interventions that improve farmer livelihoods, worker rights, and environmental impact.

As part of their commitment to the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textiles, brand partners Bestseller, Essenza Home, and G-Star Raw have joined the project (AGT).

Bart Vollaard, executive director at OCA, said that with the backing of the Dutch Fund for Responsible Business, they are able to expand and accelerate organic cotton's positive effect potential. Not only will this collaboration enable them to more effectively integrate the promotion of decent working conditions into their programs, but the available funds will also assist more conventional farmers in transitioning to organic agriculture while having committed buyers for their cotton.

Danique Lodewijks, senior project specialist at Bestseller, said that with this relationship, they increase their commitments to in-conversion cotton while also supporting the analysis of acceptable work conditions for cotton farmers. Transparency and access to organic cotton are crucial, but so are the farmers' livelihoods and well-being. They're excited to take their commitments to the next level together.

Paulien van der Vegt, chief product officer at G-Star Raw, said that as part of its objective to improve its social and environmental effect at every stage, one of the company's commitments is to employ only organic, recyclable, bio-based, and biodegradable materials by 2030 at the earliest. They seek to support and grow organic cotton farming through their partnership with the Organic Cotton Association, so that not only they can achieve their goals, but the entire industry can change toward using more sustainable materials. They can also begin the process of making direct contact with producers and tracking the origins of their organic cotton thanks to OCA.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) recently welcomed the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) to help push "necessary changes across the supply chain."

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