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Sustainable is the only option, say leading brands
03
Nov '10
Memo from leading brands/retailers/manufacturers to the global textile industry: Becoming more sustainable is not an option but a necessity. P.S. - Let's work together to clean up our act and save money as a result!

Such was the message from the record 347 representatives of the global retail value chain from 32 countries around the world attending last week's Sustainable Textiles Conference hosted by Textile Exchange in New York City. The companies applauded the conversion and expanded focus of Organic Exchange (OE) to “Textile Exchange” which will serve as the non-profit convener, catalyst, and market-maker for the overall sustainable textile industry worldwide while keeping organic cotton as a core focus.

The companies anticipate that TE will draw on the same strengths the organization used to catapult the organic cotton apparel and home textile industry to $4.3 billion in 2009 to green their entire product lines, as well as bottom lines, whether using organic, natural, or synthetic fibers.

“If the 20th century's textile industry focused on the heavy use of non-renewable inputs and energy, the 21st century's Green Revolution is reversing that trend,” said David Bennell, TE executive director. “From farmers to retailers, companies are taking action now to substantially reduce their use of water, energy, carbon, and toxic inputs rather than wait for regulations or even their own customers to make any demands for change,” he continued.

In addition, all the companies with strong environmental and social commitments speaking at the conference noted they had increased sales even during the recession as consumers chose to support companies with such initiatives.

Attendees at the conference included representatives from adidas, Anvil Knitwear, C&A, Disney, Eileen Fisher, Gap, H&M, Lenzing, Nike, Nordstrom, Patagonia, Puma, REI, Target, Walmart, and Williams-Sonoma. Topics covered included sustainable textile processing, eco-indexing, traceability and transparency, organic fiber production, and environmental footprinting.

TE will roll out a dynamic website in late November, which will dramatically improve the ability of producers, manufacturers, brands and retailers, funders, and the general public to interact, find important information, locate supply chain partners, and improve traceability, transparency, and integrity in the textile industry supply chain. The website - created by Silicon Valley's SourceN, an award-winning digital agency that has also created websites for Apple, MTV, and Time, Inc. - aims to drive efficiency, cost savings, and visibility in the global textile value chain.

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