The organic cotton market has been quite fragmented and only makes up around 0.5% of the total cotton supply

The organic cotton market has been quite fragmented and only makes up around 0.5% of the total cotton supply

French luxury goods group Kering and non-profit Textile Exchange have launched two guides on the organic cotton trade they say will provide a blueprint for companies sourcing organic cotton, and incorporating it into their supply chains.

The guides demonstrate best practices and sourcing models for "a more responsible trade", with the ultimate aim of lifting much of the burden off of sourcing organic cotton. It is hoped that by alleviating many of the challenges in the trade, more companies will uptake more organic cotton, thereby leading to a virtuous cycle, resulting in increased organic cotton supply and usage in products.

"As businesses, we all need to have a real understanding of our dependence and impact on the raw materials we use," said Kering's sustainable sourcing specialist, Christine Goulay, at Textile Exchange's recent conference. "Kering was motivated to develop these guides to support the scaling up of organic cotton, which we believe will positively impact the trade overall. We hope the guides will be useful for our peers in identifying sources for organic cotton and in structuring their supply chains in a more environmentally and socially sustainable way."

The first report is a 'Fiber Classification Guide', designed as "an easy-to-use tool to support organisations looking to source organic cotton" from mass market to luxury products.

Because the organic cotton market has been quite fragmented and only makes up around 0.5% of the total cotton supply, it is often difficult for companies to find what they need in terms of organic cotton sourcing. The guide, therefore, aims to address these challenges and offer practical knowledge to companies so they are able to source organic cotton in a "more efficient and informed way".

In short, it locates organic cotton fibre around the world and classifies it in terms of its fibre characteristics and end-product suitability.

The second report - 'A World Beyond Certification' - fundamentally acts as a "how-to" guide, highlighting best practices and proven models in the organic cotton supply chain that can be used as a basis for replication by organisations aiming to improve their organic supply chain practices.

Split into two sections, the report offers approaches and recommendations to address key issues, such as reducing anonymity, working together in the supply chain as partners rather than as buyers\sellers, and ensuring all players in the supply chain are adequately rewarded for their work.

Click here to access both reports.