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Sourcing USA Summit defines future directions for global cotton
Jan '09
As members of the G20 nations gathered in New York to discuss global economic challenges, representatives from 25 countries gathered in Austin, TX to address economic and environmental issues relevant to the global cotton industry.

The fifth Sourcing USA Summit gathered over 400 representatives of the cotton industry for a three-day meeting that may serve to redefine global direction and foster enhanced collaboration along the cotton supply chain. Anchoring the conference was an assessment by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which marked a unique application of that organization's Seven Revolutions model to the entire cotton industry. Titled “Cotton's Revolutions,” the study identified three key focal areas for global cotton: resources, technology and governance.

The Sourcing USA Summit, presented jointly by Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated, has for the past eleven years brought together global leaders along the cotton supply chain for an open exchange of ideas. “Cotton Council International considers it our duty and pleasure to share research, best practices and key trends with the entire industry,” says Allen A. Terhaar, Executive Director, Cotton Council International. Cotton Incorporated President and CEO J. Berrye Worsham echoed the collaborative approach. “Sharing Cotton Incorporated's wealth of agricultural research, textile innovations and marketing data with our global colleagues serves to benefit the industry as a whole.”

The spirit of strength-through-collaboration was evident at the three-day Summit, highlighted by a keynote address from Erik R. Peterson, Senior Vice President, CSIS. Peterson is the developer of the famed Seven Revolutions, a visionary analytic tool that promotes strategic thinking about long-term trends and their effect on the world through the year 2025. Lauded by international companies and policymakers, the application of the model to the cotton industry is unique. “Historically, the Seven Revolutions concept has been used to identify long-term megatrends for the world, individual nations or businesses; this marks the first time it has been employed to analyze an entire global supply chain,” Peterson explains.

The results of four industry-wide focus groups conducted by the CSIS in the spring of 2008 identified three of the Seven Revolutions as key areas for the cotton industry scrutiny: resources, technology and governance. Dubbed “Cotton's Revolutions,” each of these three topics served as a daily theme for the Summit.

The Resources Revolution discussion began with a presentation by David Pumphrey (Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies) who addressed the world energy outlook. Following Mr. Pumphrey was Mr. Peterson, who gave an in-depth analysis of water resources versus consumption for the industry and the globe.

The TechnologyRevolution issues were addressed first by Mr. Worsham, who illustrated ways science has helped to significantly reduce pesticide and irrigated water applications on U.S. crops, and how it has spurred the repurposing of cotton biomass to products as diverse as building materials and a high-protein food source. This was followed by presentations from Dr. Jane K. Dever (Associate Professor - Cotton Breeding, Texas AgriLife Research - Lubbock, Texas A&M System), who highlighted new developments in biotechnology for U.S. cotton crops; and Brian Francois (Business Director, Pulcra Chemicals LLC), who spoke on the influence of nanotechnology on textiles and on daily life.

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