- Inka ApterFacilitating Manager of Fabric R&D, Eileen FisherInka ApterFacilitating Manager of Fabric R&D, Eileen Fisher
Sustainable Cotton Panel | Weds. Oct. 11th
Inka Apter - Facilitating Manager of Fabric R&D at Eileen Fisher with 20 years of experience sourcing and developing fabrics with mills across the globe. My passion for fibers, textiles and know-how of the textile industry has led me on a quest for beautiful sustainable materials. Leading the Fabric R&D team at Eileen Fisher has enabled me to collaborate with like-minded producers on new frontiers of development and work on reaching our company sustainability goals while maintaining unique design esthetic and high quality criteria. My current focus is on recycled materials, technologies and circular economy for textiles.
On a personal history level, I was born in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I studied ethnology , cultural anthropology and textile restoration. My job at EF has allowed me to seamlessly blend passion for textiles with desire to protect the environment and reduce waste.
- Heather CanonSenior Director for Responsible Sourcing, TargetHeather CanonSenior Director for Responsible Sourcing, Target
Heather Canon is Senior Director for Responsible Sourcing at Target, responsible for the strategy and implementation of global programs to elevate social and environmental performance in the supply chain. With over 20 years of cross-sector experience promoting supply chain sustainability, she excels in developing partnerships to accelerate innovation and impact, most notably co-founding the social enterprise behind the award-winning Laborlink technology to surface more reliable insight from over 5 million factory workers, and launching Fair Trade certification for apparel and home goods, delivering a transparent financial benefit directly to workers. After a successful acquisition of Laborlink, she led ELEVATE’s Capacity Building teams: Worker Engagement, Factory Services, and eLearning. She brings together previous industry experience with Columbia Sportswear Company and field experience working with small-scale cotton farmers in West Africa. Heather holds a Master’s degree in Economic Development from Harvard Kennedy School and has been recognized as an Asia 21 Young Leader and Purpose Economy 100 global changemaker.
- Cara ChaconPatagonia | Board SecretaryVentura, CaliforniaCara ChaconPatagonia | Board Secretary
Cara has worked in the corporate responsibility industry as an executive, consultant, trainer and auditor for the past 20 years. She is currently Patagonia’s VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility and leads a global team of professionals that set strategy and implement the company’s sustainability initiatives. Cara is also the co-chair of Patagonia's sustainability decision making body called the “Footprint Council.” She also served on the Board of Directors of the Fair Labor Association from 2012 to 2016. In her past role at STR Responsible Sourcing, she led a global team dedicated to the development and execution of CSR/sustainability trainings and capacity building engagements for brands, suppliers and auditors. In her career, Cara has conducted over 1,000 supplier social and environmental compliance assessments and capacity building engagements in over 35 countries across 25 different industries. She has a Master’s degree in International Affairs and a Bachelor’s degree in Government from California State University, Sacramento.
- Peter ChowGroup Director, Global Sourcing at EsquelPeter ChowGroup Director, Global Sourcing at Esquel
Peter has been with the Esquel Group for 13 years and had previously held various key positions in Finance and Internal Audit. Currently as the Group Director of Global Sourcing, Peter is mainly responsible for planning and overseeing the overall procurement of key materials and machinery including cotton, yarn, sub-materials, chemicals and garment and textile machines. He is leading a team of 90 professionals across the globe. His focuses are on transformation of traditional purchase to strategic procurement as well as people development. Before joining the Esquel Group, Peter began his professional audit training at PricewaterhouseCoopers and later worked for Novel Group and Glorious Sun Group.
- Karla MagruderFabrikologyHoboken, NJKarla MagruderFabrikology
Karla Magruder has been in the textile industry for more than 25 years with global experience from fiber to finished garments. She founded Fabrikology International, a textile consulting firm, specializing in textile sourcing, education and business development in 2003. The company has worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors in building strategic development plans, launching new products, and organizing tradeshow seminars and conferences. Karla has led her team in supporting the development of trade between US brands and retailers and garment manufacturers from Haiti and Africa through USAID sponsored programs. She has worked as a Textile Exchange Ambassador with the mission of facilitating the acceleration of sustainable practices in the textile value chain. Prior to founding Fabrikology International she led the apparel launch of Ingeo fibers, the 1st manmade fiber created from 100% annually renewable resources, launched several performance fabrics and technologies in the outdoor and apparel market and headed the development of an active apparel collection for a global company. She has been a Contributing Editor to Textile Insight and EcoTextile News.
- Ben MeadHohenstein Institute | TreasurerElon, North Carolina, USABen MeadHohenstein Institute | Treasurer
Ben is the Managing Director for Hohenstein Institute Americas. In this role Ben has OEKO-TEX responsibilities for the United States and promotes Hohenstein’s expertise as a globally recognized leader in textile research and testing. He also serves as the company’s liaison with governmental agencies, industry collaborations, and trade associations. He previously consulted with a variety of brands and industry associations including Textile Exchange and AFIRM. In those roles, Ben was responsible for content development, training, and establishing partnerships withindustry leaders and experts to increase industry engagement in green chemistry and sustainable textile processing. Ben started his career working for Nike, Inc where he helped develop a restricted substances program and was also involved in implementation of both sustainable materials and water programs. Ben has degrees in Chemistry and Textile Chemistry from North Carolina State University.
- Neil MunroSr. Director of Sustainable Apparel, Equipment and Accessories at NikeNeil MunroSr. Director of Sustainable Apparel, Equipment and Accessories at Nike
Neil Munro is Sr. Director of Sustainable Apparel, Equipment and Accessories at Nike. Neil is responsible for leading and influencing an integrated sustainability offense across Innovation, Product Creation, and Manufacturing that drives impact at scale while also fueling the future with sustainable innovation. The Sustainable Product team is also responsible for developing key capabilities and tools to educate Consumer Creation teams on lowering their environmental impact while partnering with Data and Analytics to support and empower the teams. Before joining the Sustainability Team, Neil was the Global Apparel Category Lead for Training. He successfully led the launch of one of Nike's newest and most sustainable product collections in Yoga. Prior to Nike, Neil worked at The North Face for 14 years in various roles across product creation, sales, and innovation. During his time at The North Face, Neil led the major reset of the Summit Series line that helped restore it to its core routes being built for mountaineers while respecting the places they play through sustainability. Neil resides in Portland, OR with his wife, 2 kids, and 2 dogs.
- Orlando RiveraBergman Rivera SACLima, PeruOrlando RiveraBergman Rivera SAC
Orlando is the CEO of Bergman/Rivera, a Peruvian company he founded in 2007 to consolidate his father’s 20 year legacy promoting the production of organic cotton in Peru. During the last 13 years, Orlando has been working directly with Peruvian organic farmers, offering them better and diverse opportunities; such as finding markets for rotation crops, improving yields and creating transparent supply chains with international partners.
Bergman/Rivera has become an integrated company, offering a wide range of sustainable textiles, from yarns to ready-made garments. Orlando led Bergman/Rivera to become the first company in Latin America to be fully GOTS certified and worked directly with small CMT units to offer higher quality products and to certify them fair trade. The result of his work successfully translates into being the largest organic cotton producer in Latin America.
- Heinrich SchultzVice Chair | Founder of OrganiMarkStellenbosch, South AfricaHeinrich SchultzVice Chair | Founder of OrganiMark
OrganiMark, founded in July 2008, is a food, textiles and leather supply chain engineering and management firm linking sustainable primary producers with high value local and global markets. The Firm specializes in supply chain optimization and trade management through investing in agricultural production zones and value added processing facilities for sustainably produced products. The company’s aim is to create sustainable businesses through long term supply chain partnerships in line with its brand integrity and identity, which promotes economic, social and environmental responsibility.
Heinrich is also the Chairman of Textile Exchange Europe and recently founded the Southern African Sustainable Cotton Cluster where he serves as Executive Manager and Board Member. Heinrich has a Business Degree from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and completed his training in Leather Processing with LIRI at Rhodes University (South Africa), and Textile& Garment Manufacturing with CSIR TexTech at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (South Africa).
- Amit ShahSpectrumMumbai, IndiaAmit ShahSpectrum
Amit, CEO & Founding Director of Spectrum International has been an integral part of the textile industry for the past 22 years. Starting with his 84-year old legacy business of cotton spinning, Amit integrated the business backwards to farm and gin organic cotton in 1998. Since then Amit has always focused in trying to create a business model that has social, environmental and economic development as its core drivers. Amit's unique strength lies in bringing to commercial fruition ideas that most often stay in the realm of non-profits. Today, Spectrum works with over 80,000 farmers for growing organic and sustainable products in India in 4 different states and catering to over 10 retailer brand value-chains globally. Amit's personal goal right from the beginning was to work with marginal farmers of India for the development of society creating businesses that not only excite the bottom-line but add value to the people of this country and the world. He strives for every day.
- Marci ZaroffFounder/CEO, MetaWear; Founder, Under the Canopy; Author, ECOrenaissance: Co-creating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable World | Vice ChairNew York City, New York, USAMarci ZaroffFounder/CEO, MetaWear; Founder, Under the Canopy; Author, ECOrenaissance: Co-creating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable World | Vice Chair
Marci coined the term “ECOfashion” and is an internationally recognized ECOlifestyle entrepreneur, educator, innovator and expert. Founder of Under the Canopy and Metawear and Producer of “THREAD Documentary|Driving Fashion Forward,” Marci has been instrumental in driving authenticity, environmental leadership & social justice worldwide for over 25 years. Board Member of the Organic Trade Association, Textile Exchange, Fashion Revolution Day and Fashion Positive, Zaroff was a key figure in the development of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and first Fair Trade Textile Certification. Marci has received countless recognitions, including the Natural Product Industry's "Socially Responsible Business Award," New York Moves "Power Woman Award," Fashion Group International's "Rising Star Award” and a prestigious “Henry Crown Fellowship” of The Aspen Institute, and is featured in the book “ECO AMAZONS: 20 Women Who Are Transforming the World.”
- Harsha ChennaSenior Director, Global Product Stewardship at VFDenver, ColoradoHarsha ChennaSenior Director, Global Product Stewardship at VFHarsha Chenna is the Senior Director of Global Product Stewardship at VF Corporation based in Denver, CO. VF Corporation is a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories and the owner of iconic brands, including The North Face®, Vans®, Timberland®, Dickies® and Supreme®. Harsha is responsible for VF’s product stewardship, responsible materials and traceability programs. VF’s product stewardship team, led by Chenna, drives best-in-class management of product impacts through design and manufacturing due diligence, regulatory compliance, traceability and substantiation of raw materials, and management of VF’s Restricted Substance List (RSL) and innovative CHEM-IQSM program. He partners with non-VF brands and trade associations to leverage and align the industry on product stewardship and chemical management work. Under Chenna’s leadership, VF has built an industry-leading product stewardship program that enables it to design, manufacture and place 400+ million products in global markets annually that meet and exceed industry and country-specific product and regulatory requirements, are safe for consumers and minimize negative environmental impacts.Harsha leads VF’s responsible materials and traceability program that drives compliance to legal requirements on material sourcing, substantiates product marketing claims and addresses social and environmental concerns while providing consumer facing storytelling opportunities to VF’s brands. The responsible Materials and traceability team, led by Chenna, enhances supply chain transparency and traceability of key materials such as cotton, wool, recycled synthetic fibers, down and leather and identifies upstream suppliers beyond Tier 2. Harsha earned a Master of Science degree in Textile Engineering from Philadelphia University in 2003. He concentrated in Advanced Textile Materials, Manufacturing, Textile Chemistry and Economics. Harsha joined VF in June 2011 in New York where he was responsible for product safety and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining VF, Harsha worked as a Manager, Product Integrity and Chemical Compliance at a children’s wear brand that designs and manufactures products for Nike and Levi Strauss.
European Board of Trustees
- Arun AmbatipudiChetna OrganicSecunderabad, India
- Prama BhardwajMantis WorldLondon, UKPrama BhardwajMantis World
Prama started Mantis World with her student savings and it is now a successful supplier of blank clothing to the imprintables industry across Europe. Sourcing from Tanzania, Bangladesh and Pakistan, they were the first company in the UK imprintable sector to introduce organic cotton garments. Mantis World is recognized as a pioneer in sustainable fashion basic blanks, the largest supplier of blank babywear in Europe and has won multiple awards.
- La Rhea PepperCEOLander, Wyoming, USALa Rhea PepperCEO
La Rhea has an extensive background in the organic cotton agricultural sector as well as management and marketing. She is a 5th generation cotton farmer in Texas and her farm has been certified organic since 1991. She completed her BS in Education at Abilene Christian University in 1979 and Master of Business – Organizational Leadership in 2016. La Rhea was one of the co-founders of Organic Exchange and served as Chair of the Board until 2005 and then joined the Management TEam with the Exchange.
La Rhea currently represents Textile Exchange on the Board of Directors for CottonConnect and the Regenerative Organic Alliance. Member of the Senior Advisory Team.