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April 13, 2022

Fashion brands back project to boost organic cotton transparency

A new multi-year project targeting transparency and fairness across the organic cotton sector has launched with support from Danish fashion retailer Bestseller and denim giant G-Star Raw.

By Beth Wright

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

Funded by the FVO, the project leverages OCA’s established Farm Programme in India, to support the participating companies in achieving transparency to the source of their fibre while installing improved buying practices and targeted interventions that improve farmer livelihoods, worker rights and environmental impact.

The project has attracted brand partners Bestseller, Essenza Home, and G-Star Raw as part of their commitment to the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT).

“The support of the Dutch Fund for Responsible Business truly allows us to deepen and accelerate organic cotton’s potential for positive impact. Not only will this collaboration allow us to integrate the promotion of decent working conditions more effectively in our programmes, but the available funds will also support more conventional farmers transitioning to organic agriculture while having committed buyers for their cotton,” says Bart Vollaard, executive director at OCA.

Danique Lodewijks, senior project specialist at Bestseller, adds: “With this partnership, we increase our commitments towards in-conversion cotton and simultaneously support the analysis on decent work conditions for cotton farmers. Transparency and access to organic cotton is one thing, but the livelihoods and wellbeing of the farmers are just as important. We look forward to jointly taking our commitments to the next level.”

Paulien van der Vegt, chief product officer at G-Star Raw, notes in its mission to improve its social and environmental impact at every step, one of G-Star Raw’s commitments is that it will use organic, recycled, bio-based and compostable materials only by 2030 latest.

“Through our partnership with OCA we aim to support and scale organic cotton farming, so that not only we can meet our targets, but the entire industry can move towards using more sustainable materials. And because of OCA, we can take the first steps in building direct contact with the farmers, tracing our organic cotton right back to its roots.”

The Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) recently joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to help drive what it calls the necessary changes across the supply chain.

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