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Top speakers to kick off RITE Group event
Sep '09
IKEA, Shell, Pratibha Syntex and the Eco-Fashion model Summer Rayne-Oakes will kick off the annual RITE Group conference in London this year, which features a new format with three major break-out sessions.

US sustainable fashion model and TV host Summer-Rayne Oakes will be one of the main speakers at this year's RITE Group conference on eco-textiles and the environment. The event, entitled 'How sustainable is sustainability?', will be held at Central Hall Westminster, London on 6th October.

Summer is a spokesperson, resident expert, and is on the Board of Advisors for Planet Green, Discovery Network's new eco-lifestyle network. She has appeared in the pages of glossy fashion magazines such as Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan and she recently worked with Payless ShoeSource to develop and launch a new line of eco-friendly footwear. Summer also recently launched a new book: Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty (Chronicle Books, February 2009).

Other confirmed big-name speakers include Guido Verijke from IKEA who is in charge of the Swedish company's massive textile programme. Although low prices are the cornerstone of IKEA's vision, this is not at any price. In fact, IKEA says that taking responsibility for people and the environment is now a pre-requisite for doing good business and is adopting these values when sourcing home furnishing products.

In what promises to be an innovative and interactive presentation, Dave McCormick from Shell's Global Scenarios' team will use the huge resources at the disposal of the giant oil group to look at resource, energy and the state of the planet over the next 30 – 40 years.

Shreyaskar Chaudhary, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Pratibha Syntex will give an Indian perspective of the organic cotton industry and will outline how the industry plans to move forward in terms of production, transparency and market growth. India is the world's largest producer of organic cotton and Pratibha itself works with 28,000 farmers planting 125,000 acres of organic cotton.

Breakout sessions
For the first time, the RITE Group conference will also include interactive breakout sessions that are designed to encourage debate on different topics in terms of textile sustainability. Specifically, the sessions intend to be inclusive and illustrate how there is no single one answer to these industry challenges.

The three breakout sessions will take the form of an expert discussion panel taking questions and interacting with delegates. The focus will be on fibres, green chemistry colouration and sustainable design. Facilitated by Mark Sumner, responsible for sustainable textile raw materials at Marks & Spencer, the fibres session will address the question of what exactly is a sustainable raw material and what retailers, brands and manufacturers can do to reduce the impact of textile fibres they source.

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