The Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA), with financial support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency Fund for Responsible Business (FVO), has announced the launch of a multi-year project aimed at transparency and fairness in the organic cotton sector.
The project, named Textile in Transition, attracted partner brands Bestseller, G-Star Raw and Essenza Home as part of their commitment to the Dutch Sustainable Clothing and Textiles Agreement. Textile in Transition aims to improve decent working conditions in organic cotton production and secure the livelihoods of thousands of farmers while increasing the supply of organic cotton.
Funded by the OAV, the project builds on the agricultural program established by the OCA in India to help participating companies ensure transparency of the source of their fiber while instilling better purchasing practices and targeted interventions. that improve farmers’ livelihoods, workers’ rights and environmental impact.
“The support from the Dutch Fund for Responsible Business really allows us to deepen and accelerate the positive impact potential of organic cotton,” said Bart Vollaard, Executive Director of the OCA. “Not only will this collaboration allow us to more effectively integrate the promotion of decent working conditions into our programs, but the funds available will also support more conventional farmers transitioning to organic farming while having engaged buyers for their cotton. .”
Beginning this year, the initial phase will provide a detailed corporate social responsibility risk mapping exercise, with a particular focus on decent work. This information will enable more informed and targeted interventions to promote and improve decent working conditions in OCA programs in India.
From next year, project partners will start investing directly in supporting farmers as they embark on the three-year journey to transition to organic farming. Participating brands will be directly connected to Indian farming communities through long-term supply commitments of certified organic and in-conversion cotton at a premium price, providing farmers with security through the transition period and strengthening their Rentability analysis.
In turn, thousands of acres of farmland will be regenerated through organic practices, eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, boosting long-term soil health and increasing on-farm biodiversity.
“In our mission to improve our social and environmental impact at every stage, one of our commitments is that we will only use organic, recycled, bio-based and compostable materials by 2030 at the latest”, Paulien van der Vegt, chief product officer at G-Star Raw, says. “Through our partnership with the OCA, we aim to support and grow the cultivation of organic cotton so that not only can we achieve our goals, but the industry as a whole can move towards using more materials. durable. And through the OCA, we can take the first steps in establishing direct contact with farmers, tracing our organic cotton back to its roots.
Part of the project’s focus on supporting farmers in transition will contribute to OCA’s goal of converting up to 30,000 farmers a year from conventional to certified organic farming, in the as part of its 2030 strategy. It is hoped that with quality training and support put in place through these initiatives, with tangible benefits such as better prices for farmers, there will be a stronger business case for farmers to convert to organic cotton with certainty.
“At Essenza Home, we believe in buying less, but buying better,” said Floor Smits, brand manager at Essenza Home. “We believe that the OCA is a good multi-stakeholder project to help us achieve this goal starting at the bottom of our production chain. These levels of our process are the most difficult to make transparent and so we are very happy to be part of this project. Our goal is to help Indian farmers switch from growing conventional cotton to organic cotton, in a two-phase implementation. In the end, it will be better for the farmers, for the environment, for ourselves and for the consumer.