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CONTACTS:

Apparel Impact Institute, press@apparelimpact.org

Schaffer&Combs, media@schaffercombs.com

Sustainable Apparel Coalition, press@apparelcoalition.org

Textile Exchange, donna@textileexchange.org

ZDHC, media@zdhc.org

Like-minded organizations form an alliance of resources for the global value chain.

LUBBOCK, TEXAS | September 17, 2020 at 7am PT – The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), ZDHC Foundation (ZDHC), Textile Exchange, and the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii) are today announcing new partnerships in order to accelerate impact and drive new efficiencies for the industry. Based on their core competencies and complementary efforts, the organizations are forming an alliance of resources and offerings for the global value chain. “COVID has been a very negative backdrop to so much industry news and it’s true that it has accelerated our views on the potential for transformational partnerships, but together we’ve been contemplating deeper integrations for years. The timing finally seems right,” explained Amina Razvi, SAC’s Executive Director.

The four organizations have documented their efforts with Letters of Intent clarifying their roles and commitments to cooperation in the following four areas:

Programs and Tools: the organizations will seek to connect complementary frameworks (like the Higg Facility Environmental Module and ZDHC’s Roadmap to Zero program, and the Higg Brand and Retailer Module and TE’s Corporate Fiber and Materials Benchmark), coordinate subject matter governance in the relevant content areas, and engage the industry together much more efficiently.

Impact Management and Funding: the organizations will seek to consolidate their efforts to benchmark impact improvements in key areas, prioritize the projects and programs that will most accelerate impact for the value chain, directly partner in strategic fundraising in support of these efforts, and collaborate to create an annual report of results.

Global Implementation: the organizations will seek to defragment efforts and establish global implementation as a shared industry resource, by co-investing in infrastructure, training, education, and regional access.

Administration and Infrastructure: the organizations will seek a substantial decrease in resource expenditure on operational matters by engaging in shared services and creating economies of scale with external service providers.

“Credit is due to the efforts through the years advocating for more effective partnerships, such as the recent work of the Fashion Conveners,” said James Schaffer, Managing Partner, of Schaffer&Combs, the strategy consultancy designing the agreements and facilitating the endeavor. “These four organizations are showing a lot of courage and service to the industry today, building on the professional relationships and trust they’ve developed. The vision of a much more effective ecosystem of impact is closer to reality. We’re very excited to keep pushing and deliver on the promise of these Letters of Intent.”

“Our ultimate objective is to increase efficiency near term to accelerate our collective impact,” said Frank Michel, Executive Director of ZDHC. “There are some very exciting points of complementarity possible, and I think we have the right initial organizations at the table to do that.” Lewis Perkins, President of Aii, added, “Ultimately, we see this alliance as an open resource for the industry’s sustainability initiatives, a platform for long-term, efficient industry engagement. COVID is a wake-up call. We have to continually innovate to preserve our work as a core industry investment.”

The organizations have also highlighted their commitment to resolve persistent barriers between areas of impact and tiers of the supply chain. La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director of Textile Exchange, commented, “For so long, the mainstream conversation has underemphasized the role of fiber production and textile manufacturing, not to mention what happens at the farm-level itself. We’re excited about what these new partnerships can mean for the industry driving holistic and scalable solutions.”

The organizations expect to release more detail about their collective efforts before year-end, and will announce engagement opportunities for the industry and other stakeholders in the weeks to come.

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SAN FRANCISCO – SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 – Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) and Textile Exchange are proud to announce the public release of Gap Inc.’s Preferred Fiber Toolkit (PFT), a resource to be used by sourcing and design teams to inform companies on meeting their sustainability goals.

With this partnership, the Toolkit will be developed as a publicly available, industry-wide resource, providing companies with consolidated, validated guidance so that together we can create healthier communities while better protecting the planet.

As an industry, apparel and retail have struggled to cohesively measure and explain sourcing material choices, often resorting to a brand-by-brand decision-making process that can be subjective and opaque. With customers, employees, and other shareholders expecting higher levels of transparency than ever, brands are working to source and market more sustainable fibers.

The Toolkit includes a rigorous evaluation of raw material choices building upon quantitative data inputs from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s (SAC) Higg Materials Sustainability Index. It also incorporates other holistic indicators to consider environmental considerations, such as biodiversity and land-use change, and waste-elimination guidance for contributing to the circular economy. Human rights, labor concerns, and animal welfare within raw material sourcing are also considered, to layer in additional nuance beyond environmental data. This tool will provide clear direction to create alignment and reduce the proliferation of conflicting guidance.

“The development of the PFT has been crucial to Gap Inc’s ability to set goals and develop internal awareness on how to design better products and set fiber strategies,” said Diana Rosenberg, Product Sustainability Manager, Gap Inc. “A rigorous and data-driven approach allows for greater confidence in our sustainable materials sourcing decisions, while creating an incentive to select more planet-friendly raw materials.”

As Textile Exchange updates this tool for broader use, it will have refined methodology and an independent review process. This Toolkit will serve as a complement to the SAC’s Product Tools, by expanding coverage of fiber sourcing considerations beyond the measurable environmental impacts contained within the Higg MSI. The PFT will ensure we drive the industry forwards on sustainability performance within our fiber choices, including a reduction in climate impacts that aligns with science-based targets.

“Textile Exchange was part of the early days of the work alongside other independent reviewers such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), we are pleased to be given the responsibility and ownership of the tool starting in 2020,” Liesl Truscott, Director of Europe and Materials Strategy, Textile Exchange added. “We will continue to improve upon the foundational work of Gap Inc. to create a tool that combines quantitative and qualitative data from materials into a decision-making tool for the industry. This tool will drive the work of Textile Exchange to meet our 2030 Climate+ goals.”

Textile Exchange will update the Toolkit with new data and a broader set of fibers and materials and begin using this tool to drive the adoption of the materials recognized for their contribution. Textile Exchange will also work to identify areas of further reduction of impacts to support the industry in meeting science-based targets. The updated Toolkit and the proposed review process will be shared with stakeholders for comments and feedback later this year.

“The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is thrilled to see the release of the Preferred Fiber Toolkit (PFT). With the embedded Higg MSI data and other qualitative indicators in the PFT, users can consider environmental impacts and additional sustainability values in their sourcing decisions. By aligning the PFT with Higg MSI data, users of both tools can seamlessly track the impacts of their decisions from fiber to full materials and products,” said Joël Mertens, Senior Manager of Higg Product Tools, Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

About Gap Inc.

Gap Inc. is a leading global retailer offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Janie and Jack, and Hill City brands. Fiscal year 2019 net sales were $16.4 billion. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase worldwide through company-operated stores, franchise stores, and e-commerce sites. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com.

About Textile Exchange

Textile Exchange is a global nonprofit that creates leaders in the sustainable fiber and materials industry. The organization develops, manages, and promotes a suite of leading industry standards as well as collects and publishes vital industry data and insights that enable brands and retailers to measure, manage, and track their use of preferred fiber and materials.

With a membership that represents leading brands, retailers, and suppliers, Textile Exchange has, for years, been positively impacting climate through accelerating the use of preferred fibers across the global textile industry and is now making it an imperative goal through its 2030 Strategy: Climate+. Under the Climate+ strategic direction, Textile Exchange will be the driving force for urgent climate action with a goal of 45% reduced CO2 emissions from textile fiber and material production by 2030.

To learn more about Textile Exchange, visit TextileExchange.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TextileExchange.

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Textile Exchange’s 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report reveals that organic cotton production increased 31 percent over the previous year and shows promise for continued growth according to pre-COVID reporting. In a post-COVID world, as a growing system that honors and sustains life, organic cotton has the potential to restore health and promote positive climate action.

Lubbock, Texas  |  August 11, 2020, at 10 am CST – Textile Exchange releases its 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report, the only report of its kind to cover production trends across the global organic cotton market. The report reveals data collected for the 2018/19 harvest year and shows an increase of 31 percent in organic cotton production over the previous year, making it the second-largest harvest on record after 2009/10. In addition to data per region, the report includes insights from industry professionals about their current projects, challenges, successes, goals, and visions for the organic cotton sector, with a particular focus this year on impacts of, and responses to, the dual threat of COVID-19 and climate change.

In short, the results show that 222,134 farmers grew 239,787 metric tons of organic cotton in 19 countries on 418,935 hectares. In addition, 55,833 hectares of cotton-growing land were in-conversion to organic, helping to meet the increasing demand.

2018/19 Organic cotton production snapshot:

While this report celebrates growth in global organic cotton production and the important contributions this makes to the health of people, the environment, and farming communities around the world, Textile Exchange is highly conscious of the turmoil the world is in right now. From the Coronavirus pandemic to reports of egregious human rights abuses within the textile industry and our communities – we are not short of reasons to support farming and processing systems that protect the health of people and the planet.

La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director for Textile Exchange and life-long organic cotton farmer, said, “Organic farming is a way of living in harmony with the land and is a way to honor life – life in the soil for the farm, for the family, for the community, and ultimately for the world. In times like the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded just how connected we are to each other – we are an ecosystem, and what we do impacts the whole.”

Textile Exchange works to accelerate environmentally sustainable practices in the textile value chain, which has positive impacts on climate and goes hand-in-hand with social responsibility expectations to ensure that the rights of all people are respected. We applaud the growers and companies that make long-term investments in and prioritize the transparency of commitments to their products with globally recognized, credible, third-party standards. The growth of such standards was also reported alongside the production increase for 2018/19.

Facilities certified to leading voluntary organic textile standards saw significant growth. Facilities certified to the Organic Content Standard (OCS) grew by 48 percent, and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) grew by 35 percent.

To create a complete picture of global organic cotton supply, the 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report shares production data from all regions known to be growing certified organic cotton around the world, totaling 19 countries. According to report findings, 97 percent of global organic cotton is produced in seven countries: India (51 percent), China (17 percent), Kyrgyzstan (10 percent), Turkey (10 percent), Tajikistan (5 percent), Tanzania (2 percent), and the USA (2 percent).

Of the 55,833 hectares of land in-conversion to organic, India and Pakistan lead the way, followed by Turkey, Greece, and Tajikistan.

Looking to the future, pre-COVID estimates show that organic cotton production will grow by a further 10 percent in 2019/20. The next few months will no-doubt unveil challenges that businesses are enduring, and it will be no different for cotton farmers as the unpredictability will impact the next growing cycle. The future will require increased transparency and sharing of the risks and rewards as we collectively aspire to “Climate Action” as well as the other 16 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Communication, trust, and commitment will be essential.

Textile Exchange is here to support. Contact us and join our upcoming webinar on September 15 that will review key insights from the report and allow participants to ask questions.

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About Textile Exchange

Textile Exchange is a global nonprofit that creates leaders in the sustainable fiber and materials industry. The organization develops, manages, and promotes a suite of leading industry standards as well as collects and publishes vital industry data and insights that enable brands and retailers to measure, manage, and track their use of preferred fiber and materials.

With a membership that represents leading brands, retailers, and suppliers, Textile Exchange has, for years, been positively impacting climate through accelerating the use of preferred fibers across the global textile industry and is now making it an imperative goal through its 2030 Strategy: Climate+. Under the Climate+ strategic direction, Textile Exchange will be the driving force for urgent climate action with a goal of 35-45% reduced CO2 emissions from textile fiber and material production by 2030.

To learn more about Textile Exchange, visit TextileExchange.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TextileExchange.

Read our full response here. 

Textile Exchange’s 2014 Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of Organic Cotton that was produced in 2014 by thinkstep (formerly PE International and now part of Sphera), a neutral third-party, is being questioned in an opinion piece that will be published by Apparel Insider in its bi-monthly printed magazine expected to come out November 2019. The overall intent of the articles written by this author (in the upcoming publication and previously in the May 2019 issue) appears to be to create doubt around the environmental benefits of organic and other sustainable cotton initiatives. This is being done by attempting to discredit the water-saving data that is reported in the LCA of Organic Cotton.

Textile Exchange would like to reassure its Members and stakeholders that we stand behind the data that has been collected and reported in the LCA of Organic Cotton. It was the first of its kind for organic cotton and is the best publicly available LCA on the topic to date; it was based on data collected from every organic cotton producing region, aggregated and weighted according to volume to calculate a global average. LCAs provide a snapshot of a select number of environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy use. Textile Exchange believes that the LCA of Organic Cotton is a useful tool in identifying the benefits of organic farming. We know, without a doubt, that organic agriculture is imperative to sustaining life for future generations. In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Textile Exchange does not find these articles to be based in fact, nor with the scientific rigor that is to be expected in an analysis, but rather they are opinion-pieces. As such, we will not participate in a debate with the author or Apparel Insider who seem to prioritize sensationalism in order to drive traffic to the article and the publication. Textile Exchange has spent countless hours over an eight-month period answering questions and inviting the author to lend her insights as an active member of a wider group of cotton sustainability stakeholders developing ongoing research focusing on data collection for key performance indicators – these invites have gone unanswered.  It is clear that this is not her objective. As a non-profit organization, our limited resources are better spent on projects where we can influence positive change and collaborate effectively without bias and within a scientifically sound framework. Access our full response to Apparel Insider here along with the full message to Textile Exchange Members and stakeholders.

Textile Exchange in the News

  • Preferred Cotton

    Textile Exchange defines Preferred Cotton as ecologically and/or socially progressive because of its sustainable properties in comparison to other options.

  • Recycled Polyester (rPET)

    Recycled polyester is promoted by Textile Exchange as a preferred fiber because it reduces our dependence on petroleum.

  • Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

    Textile Exchange’s Responsible Down Standard (RDS) safeguards the welfare of geese and ducks that provide down and feathers for products we love.

  • Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)

    Textile Exchange’s Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is a voluntary global standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and of the land they graze on.

  • Textile Exchange Members

    Textile Exchange provides our Members with knowledge and tools to drive industry transformation and to Create Material Change.