The Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) with funding support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency Fund for Responsible Business (FVO) today announced the launch of a multi-year project targeting transparency and fairness across the organic cotton sector. The project, named Textile in Transition, has attracted brand partners BESTSELLER, ESSENZA HOME and G-Star RAW, as part of their commitment to the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT).
Textile in Transition aims to improve decent working conditions in organic cotton production, secure the livelihoods of thousands of farmers while boasting the supply of organic cotton. Funded by the FVO, the project leverages OCA’s established Farm Programme in India, to support the participating companies in achieving transparency to the source of their fibre while installing improved buying practices and targeted interventions that improve farmer livelihoods, worker rights and environmental impact.
Commenting on the announcement, Bart Vollaard, Executive Director at OCA said:
“The support of the Dutch Fund for Responsible Business truly allows us to deepen and accelerate organic cotton’s potential for positive impact. Not only will this collaboration allow us to integrate the promotion of decent working conditions more effectively in our programmes, but the available funds will also support more conventional farmers transitioning to organic agriculture while having committed buyers for their cotton.”
Danique Lodewijks, Senior Project Specialist at BESTSELLER added:
“With this partnership we increase our commitments towards in-conversion cotton and simultaneously support the analysis on decent work conditions for cotton farmers. Transparency and access to organic cotton is one thing, but the livelihoods and well-being of the farmers are just as important. We look forward to jointly taking our commitments to the next level.”
Floor Smits, head of brands at ESSENZA HOME also commented:
“We are constantly looking for innovation. At ESSENZA HOME we believe in buying less, but better. That is why we produce high-quality, sustainable products that are our response to today’s throwaway culture. We design and manufacture our collections with love, care and attention to both people and the environment. We do this because we believe it is extremely important that everyone gets a better night’s sleep. That’s our mission. We think the OCA is a good multi-stakeholder project to help us achieve that mission, starting at the bottom of our production chain. These tiers in our process are the most difficult to make transparent and therefore we are very happy to be part of this project. Our goal is to help farmers in India switch from growing conventional cotton to organic cotton, in a two-phase implementation. In the end, this will be better for the farmers, for the environment, for ourselves and for the consumer. And ultimately, for a better night’s sleep.”
Paulien van der Vegt, Chief Product Officer at G-Star RAW added:
“In our mission to improve our social and environmental impact at every step, one of our commitments is that we will use organic, recycled, bio-based and compostable materials ONLY by 2030 latest. Through our partnership with OCA we aim to support and scale organic cotton farming, so that not only we can meet our targets, but the entire industry can move towards using more sustainable materials. And because of OCA, we can take the first steps in building direct contact with the farmers, tracing our organic cotton right back to its roots”