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HomeEventsCOTTON USA™ seminar 2024: transparent & sustainable US cotton sourcing for Bangladesh

COTTON USA™ seminar 2024: transparent & sustainable US cotton sourcing for Bangladesh

Cotton Council International, CCI’s mission is to make U.S. cotton the preferred fiber for mills/manufacturers, brands/retailers and consumers, commanding a value-added premium that delivers profitability across the U.S. cotton industry and drives export growth of fiber, yarn and other cotton products. CCI is the export promotion arm of the National Cotton Council of America (NCC), is a non-profit trade association that promotes U.S. cotton fiber and manufactured cotton products around the globe – with COTTON USA™ organized a seminar on- Transparent & Sustainable US Cotton Sourcing for Bangladesh.’ CCI works with spinning mills, fabric and garment manufacturers, brands, retailers, textile associations, governments and the USDA to facilitate the use of U.S. cotton. Our reach extends to more than 50 countries through 20 offices around the world.

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William Bettendorf Regional Director CCI
Photo: William Bettendorf, Regional Director, CCI

The program was aimed at sharing how US cotton is helping the industry to increase machine productivity, labor productivity, higher yield in carded and combed yarn, etc. In the seminar, COTTON USA™, a leading U.S. cotton fiber promoter and manufacturer of cotton products, experts and globally leading brand representatives and experts opined that the global apparel industry is moving towards sustainability to make it more environmentally friendly through traceability and circularity, which is also guided by several legislative initiatives.

William Bettendorf, Regional Director, CCI said, “The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol can offer a transparent supply of sustainable cotton, which is being demanded by brands around the world. CCI takes pride in leading the industry in this regard through our strict classing process, contract sanctity standards and customer service offerings.”

 “Globally spinning mills face challenges like quality, productivity, achieving the waste level they want, etc. To deal with these issues, we provide a service called 1:1 Mill Consults. This service comes under the umbrella of COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™. 1:1 Mill Consult brings one of our Mill Experts directly to the mill. Either virtually, or on-site, our experts will be in the mill for a one-to-four-day, in-depth mill examination,” said Bettendorf.

“In addition, we offer the following solutions to the spinning millers for achieving higher efficiency, reducing costs and assuring optimum quality: 1:1 Mill Consults, Mill Studies, Mill Exchange Program, Technical Seminars, and Mill Mastery™ Courses. The importance of Bale Management for cotton bale laydowns is such that – raw material represents 60-70% of the input costs at a spinning mill. And a proper Bale Management can give substantial ease to the spinners in the process,” Bettendorf added.

“It is a complimentary service from our team of consultants who have a combined experience of more than 200 years in the spinning industry. No other cotton provider in the world has such kind of program,” the CCI Regional Director concluded.

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Photo: Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, Director of European Brands and Retailers at Cotton Council International

Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, Director of European Brands and Retailers at Cotton Council International said, “We are in conversations with brands and retailers, helping them understand the unique offerings of the program.” Being with CCI for over 20 years has seen Steph develop an in-depth knowledge of U.S. cotton, the wider textile industry, and the fashion industry supply chain. Holding many different roles within CCI, Steph is responsible for the European side of the business. “The collaboration between the brands, retailers and the manufacturers of the trusted suppliers is essential and long collaboration is very important to brands and retailers, as well as, for suppliers in Bangladesh. so, I hope that it will continue to evolve.”

Other leading brand experts emphasized on fashion industry’s responsible sourcing targets.

Amit Gautam, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Textile Genesis, said the fashion industry is undergoing a structural shift from unregulated to more than 30 regulations across the value chain, from sourcing to retail. He mentioned three factors driving the move towards a sustainable and traceable fashion industry: increasing regulatory compliance, responsible sourcing targets, and authenticating product claims to mitigate supply chain and reputational risks.

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Photo: Melissa Bastos, Director of Corporate Strategy and Insights at Cotton Incorporated; Ali Arsalan, CCI representative for Bangladesh; Arif Razzaque, Country Leader at Kiabi International Supply Services Ltd, Bangladesh

Addressing the discussion, Amit Gautam, chief executive officer and founder of Textile Genesis, said the fashion industry is undergoing a structural shift from unregulated to more than 30 regulations across the value chain, from sourcing to retail. He mentioned three factors driving the move towards a sustainable and traceable fashion industry: increasing regulatory compliance, responsible sourcing targets, and authenticating product claims to mitigate supply chain and reputational risks.

Melissa Bastos, Director of Corporate Strategy and Insights at Cotton Incorporated, said Sourcing Journal and Cotton Incorporated’s 2023 Industry Circularity Survey found that 1 in 3 US consumers have heard the term circularity. The survey also found that 69% of consumers are informed about the carbon-neutral term and 78% are informed about the zero-waste term. However, 62% of industry professionals say circularity describes company sustainability. She also mentioned that the Cotton Incorporated survey found some challenges to expanding circularity initiatives – passing costs to customers, understanding and capabilities of implementing a circular model, and the price of recycled textile materials.

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Photo: Panel discussion; guests joined at the seminar

Ali Arsalan, CCI representative for Bangladesh, delivered the welcome remarks, while Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, director of European Brands and Retailers at Cotton Council International, and Arif Razzaque, Country Leader at Kiabi International Supply Services Ltd, Bangladesh, spoke among others. Professionals from different factories, brands, technology providers and cotton specialists were presents at the interactive seminar.

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