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Leading brands, retailers attend CCI's Sustainability Forum

Nov '09
Cotton Council International hosted a seminar, “Sustainability A Driver for Business Growth” in Budapest, Hungary to deliver responses to key industry and consumer concerns regarding sustainable home textiles and apparel. International experts shared ideas about sustainable fiber production, product development, tracking and marketing. The sessions discussed practical challenges encountered in adopting sustainability as a business strategy, and leaders at each stage of the supply chain shared solutions they have adopted to overcome these challenges.

“Sustainability is not a static concept it is not a concept which implies one single definition, or where there is only one approach or a single solution,” said Allen A. Terhaar, CCI's executive director. “The very definition of 'sustainability' development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs is still evolving, and there are multiple approaches to getting the job done. The important thing for our world, and for the world that we will leave to our children, is that we are doing our best to implement best practices of sustainability in our daily lives and our businesses.”

Cotton Incorporated showcased novel technologies which strive to make cotton the right choice for a sustainable world. Cotton a natural, renewable and biodegradable resource is the largest natural fiber in the global fiber, textile and apparel economy, now representing roughly 80 percent of all natural fibers consumed. The natural fibers complex generates hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue annually in the global economy, and results in hundreds of millions of jobs.

Fifteen European brands and retailers were represented at the conference, including high profile names such as Benetton, Gap Europe, Hugo Boss, Tom Tailor, John Lewis and Tesco. Regional mills and manufacturers also attended, keen to learn how they could utilize sustainability to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market.

The conference opened a dialogue between the brands and retailers and their supply chains, which is a step to broader integration of sustainability as a business strategy. There was a general consensus that greater education is necessary on the topic throughout the supply chain and that more effective communication is needed between brands/retailers and their suppliers.

In a post-event survey, 100 percent of respondents indicated that the topics covered were relevant and timely to the textile/apparel industry, with 90 percent of respondents indicating they acquired substantive new information. All respondents recommended further conferences of this type to facilitate cotton textile supply chain business.

Cotton Council International

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