Interview with Antonio Esteve

Antonio Esteve
Antonio Esteve
ICA and CEO, Ecom Cotton Group
ICA and CEO, Ecom Cotton Group

How do you see the encouraging growth in to the production of organic cotton?

Actually, I see organic cotton as a niche market. The volume of organic cotton produced in the world today only represents a mere 0.5 per cent of total world cotton production. The model for promoting an increase in organic cotton does not work. It is very costly to produce organic cotton, with low yields, which requires rotation with other crops. At the same time, we hear a lot of rhetoric from the retailers, but in practice, they are not committed to ‘paying up’ for farmers to produce organic. There is also a lagging concern about the authenticity of all the organic cotton that is being certified, which weakens the potential growth of this market segment.

In the ongoing BT cotton trend, where every country is concerned about its high exports through the high production/cultivation of cotton. Do you think in that organic cotton is losing its shade/presence from the global market?

As per my response in the prior question, I see organic cotton as niche and that it will remain as such. A large scale solution that addresses sustainability in cotton and is in the process of being developed, with the support of many major retailers, is BCI Cotton (Better Cotton Initiative). I believe the cotton industry needs to rally around this initiative to ensure a sustainable cotton business in the years ahead.

Being a premier arbitral authority where world’s cotton exports are sold under ICA rules. How far the move to keep abreast is necessary with this ever changing cogent industry?

Keeping abreast of the challenges facing the cotton industry, across all areas of the supply chain, is vital at the ICA. We do this via our members and our membership committees - such as the ICA Rules Committee. Our membership is growing. At the last count we had over 500 members - firms and individuals, representing all sectors of the industry. In recent years we have been proactive in expanding and diversifying our membership. Last year we introduced a more inclusive membership structure to attract members from all links in the supply chain, from all over the world. This has been a success with membership up by 34 per cent. This year, we want to further expand our membership to include brokers and agents. We constantly review and revise our Bylaws and Rules to adapt them to the industry´s changing needs and we will continue to promote the principle of contract sanctity as the keystone for a sustainable cotton supply chain.
Published on: 16/05/2012

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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