Greg Kauter, Cotton Australia’s (CA) Policy Manager – Research Direction and Stewardship, has just returned from attending the International Cotton Association annual trade show in Hong Kong, which featured a joint display by CA and the Australian Cotton Shippers Association.
Greg accompanied Cotton Australia Chairman Lyndon Mulligan and Director Liz Alexander and a delegation of members of the Australian Cotton Shippers Association.
The International Cotton Association is the world's leading arbitral authority and exists to protect the legitimate interests of all those who trade cotton, whether buyer or sellers.
Key take home messages noted by Greg included a continued emphasis in all segments of the supply chain on price, fibre quality, availability, and clean and green sustainability issues.
He said man-made fibres are steadily increasing their market share and have established a niche, or at least a perception, that they are both cheaper and better than cotton. Durability and wider apparel features (sheer) are increasingly representing better value at cheaper price points.
Supply Chain risk management was portrayed as a major issue for the cotton trade, with constant references and reminders about record contract defaults along the pipeline in terms of both volume and value. The last two years of cotton price volatility has highlighted that a range of credit risk management strategies need to be adopted when markets are fluctuating.
There was also acknowledgement of the burgeoning power of China as the world’s largest producer and consumer of cotton, with many of the 1200 delegates at the Trade Show resigned to their dependency on trade policies initiated and implemented by China.
While it must be said that price, quality and supply are the top priorities for the cotton manufacturing sector, the sustainable credentials of cotton production are increasingly in the spotlight and featured strongly on the ICA conference program.
The Corporate Social Responsibility framework is now widely discussed in international cotton meetings with a range of definitions and a range of programs emerging to claim the sustainable environmental, economic and social performance of cotton production.
The upcoming Cotton Australia General Meeting has a session on what sustainable cotton supply and demand might mean for the industry and how we might best position Australian cotton production.