Organic textiles are poised to make deeper impressions on the Indian industry and inroads in the consumers minds with GOTS kick-starting a new mission from Mumbai.
Does going organic make better business sense in textiles? This is one of the major questions that pop up today in every meeting bordering on sustainability in textiles. The humanity has to draw a line somewhere and say such & such textile products are harmless to the skin, environment and to life itself. The world is tottering near a major pollution abyss and textile industry is a major contributor which may tip the balance.
So, going organic gets going now, and in India too. There are good news happening around. The global organic cotton market has achieved a 10 per cent rise in production from 2012-13 to 2013-14 following three years of decline, thanks largely to increased market demand as well as more collaborations between farmers and brands. Another glad tiding was the ´1st International Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) conference´ organised by GOTS in The Lalit, Sahar, Mumbai, India recently. The theme of the conference was ´ Strong Partnerships for Success. Why India? Because India´s textile production & exports count, holding big promises. And organic textiles growth is on fast growth track and the global buyers are increasingly getting attached to it and there are not many alternatives.
India has already shown its seriousness about organic textiles. Firstly, India is the country with the highest number of GOTS-certified facilities worldwide. Today, out of the more than 3,600 facilities GOTS certified worldwide, about 1,300 are in this country.
In the inaugural session, Herbert Ladwig, Managing Director, GOTS, expressed his happiness on the DGFT notification in first week of May 2015 explicitly excluding organic textiles from the new procedures for export of organic product and also appreciated DGFT and Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India for this industry friendly move. Sharing his dream of a New Concept of Quality, he said, ´If ecological civilisation and thus sustainable production has to become main stream, a fundamental change of the concept of good product quality is necessary. The perception of good quality must be transformed into a holistic one, where a product not produced in a sustainable way, is considered bad quality even if it is fashionable, fitting, and colourful. Its sustainable production must become part of the product identity.´
Keynote address was given by Conference Coordinator, Sumit Gupta. He spoke about the growth of GOTS in India and Bangladesh. Speaking about the theme of the conference, he opined that sustainability is a complex concept and therefore the whole supply chain has to work in a strong partnership to achieve this goal. Trust and long term commitment is required form both buyers and suppliers. Gupta concluded his address by saying that only together we are strong.
Session 1: ´Storytelling: Brands´ and Retailers´ Business Case for Sustainability through GOTS´ was moderated by Claudia Kersten, GOTS Marketing Director. In her input presentation she discussed ´The Business Case for Sustainability´ and linked sustainability based textile standards to competitive strategies using the example of GOTS. She stressed that brands should label GOTS on their products instead of using self-claims. Dr Ulrich Hofmann, Brands Fashion GmbH, Germany, speaking about the expectations from GOTS, he said that there should be improved traceability of supply chain starting with organic cotton farming and the need to increase organic cotton supply. Shishir Goenka, Fusion Clothing Co, India in his presentation spoke about the journey of FCC with GOTS and the benefits that ac