008 – Jeff Wilson of Textile Exchange and Daren Abney of Better Cotton Initiative – Better Cotton, Better World

Cotton, textiles, and sustainability…

Jeff Wilson (Director of Business Value Strategy & Development for Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit organization that works to make the textile industry more sustainable – bio) and Daren Abney (Membership Engagement Manager of Better Cotton Initiative, a not-for-profit organization stewarding the global standards for better cotton – bio) join Stephanie Benedetto, Samanta Cortes and guest host Marc Raco on location at TexWorld USA 2017.

Sustainability vs. business needs, the need for a metric, and adopting standards

Abney reviews being a proponent of making cotton production better for the environment and better for the cotton sector future, how BCI has transformed 11.9% of the global market as licensed Better Cotton, out of the goal of 30% by 2020. A Better Cotton standard system, a holistic approach to sustainability with emphasis on business, and a funding mechanism that funds field projects worldwide. Wilson talks about creating overall public good on standards, textiles, and supply chain including certification. How BCI, headquarted in Geneva Switzerland, is a member of Textile Exchange, which is also a member of BCI. Common goals of sustainability, commonality of vision and results, helping membership (brands) understand environmental impacts of primary materials, and how preferred materials would change that impact. Looking at ways established brands are approached vs. smaller brands. BCI’s continuous improvement and metric for change at the agricultural crop level, and considering that the Top 10 commodities impacting WWF include cotton. A look at Textile Exchange developing standards associated with given fibers or materials, what constitutes a certifiable material, wool as largely an animal rights standard, and a new way to be thinking about sustainability.

A global collective, designers, and life cycle assessment

Common problems across the industry, common conversations about the “dirty industry”, 4,000+ chemicals effluent, toxic into watersheds, human health problems, chemical issues with synthetics production and farm production, and a broad industry commonality which drives a lot of work in collective efforts. Why problems can’t be solved even by one single massive brand, requiring a global collective effort to transform an industry into a new model including environmental and social impacts. Creating awareness inside an industry, and how a vast number of buyers and designers are only now becoming aware of environmental and social issues. The importance of having something measurable that can meet market, and fundamental changes requiring a specific plan. The life cycle assessment (LCA) on products, such as jeans, and how fashion is largest in pollution.

Water, The Higg Index, and surfing

Businesses can protect business while addressing environmental issues such as water. 85% of global post-consumer textiles end up in a landfill. Getting more involved and reporting to members on a circular economy that’s gaining speed. No need to demonize consumption and fast fashion because there are more conversations to happen. The Higg Index, the need for more growth and execution at the designer level, and why design schools need to adopt more curriculum around these topics. Impacting lives, surfing and spirituality, yoga pants, board shorts, and the High Line.

References:

Zara

H and M

The North Face

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