2019 Organic Cotton Round Table Summit | Vancouver


Textile Exchange’s Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) is a global stakeholder platform that supports and brings together the organic cotton community to be inspired, mobilized, and equipped to act. Each year, we hold a Global OCRT Summit alongside Textile Exchange’s annual Textile Sustainability Conference, in addition to Regional OCRTs held through the year. The 2019 Global OCRT Summit took place under the crosscutting theme Greater Together | SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals. The day highlighted some of the most inspiring partnerships emerging in the world of organic cotton and celebrated the progress being made, particularly in the areas of production, integrity, and seed. Read on to catch up on the day’s highlights.

When? October 18, 2019
Vancouver BC, Canada

2018 Round Tables – High Level Agenda

To access the full Textile Sustainability Conference agenda, click here.

Graphic recordings by Textile Exchange Ambassador, Carlotta Cataldi. Click to expand.


The day kicked off with a warm regional welcome from Jimmy Wedel of TOCMC, followed by a heartwarming story told by Textile Exchange’s Managing Director La Rhea Pepper of the letters she and her late husband wrote to each other with their vision for the organic cotton sector. Cara Chacon of Patagonia followed with a heartstopping reminder of the issues facing our planet and the urgency with which we must act.

“Keep the vision, build the bridges, and be willing to take the journey.”

Simon Cooper, Global Communications Lead, UNDP GCP| MC for the day
Jimmy Wedel, President, Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative
La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange
Cara Chacon, VP, Social and Environmental Responsibility


Members of the Organic Cotton Collective Impact (OCCI) initiative then presented the progress being made and the next steps of the collaboration between Textile Exchange, OCA and the wider organic cotton sector.


Kathleen Wood Organizational Development Consultant


Arun Ambatipudi, Co-Founder and Advisor, Chetna Organic
Crispin Argento, Executive Director, Organic Cotton Accelerator
Cara Chacon,VP  Social and Environmental Responsibility, Patagonia
Sabrina Mueller,Lead Manager Sustainability, Tchibo
Liesl Truscott, Director of European & Materials Strategy, Textile Exchange


This session provided insights from key regional representatives on each region’s production trends, future outlook, and the progress of key regional initiatives. Each regional representative posed a challenge that the region is currently facing and invited attendees to join them in co-creating a solution during the lunch break.


Simon Cooper, Global Communications Lead, UNDP GCP | MC for the day


Amish Gosai, South Asia Manager, Textile Exchange
Hammad Khan, Director General, WWF Pakistan
Lakshmi Poti, Programme Manager | Sustainable Raw Materials, C&A Foundation
Sandra Marquardt, Regional Ambassador – USA, Textile Exchange
Silvio Moraes, Regional Ambassador – Latin America, Textile Exchange
Evonne Tan, Regional Data Management & China Strategy Director, Textile Exchange
Silvere Tovignan, Regional Ambassador – Africa, Textile Exchange
Aydin Unsal, Owner, Egedeniz

Working Lunch: Co-creating a Manifesto for Organic Cotton

Each organic cotton producing region had a dedicated Regional Hub on the outskirts of the room. All attendees were invited and encouraged to take a virtual “tour of the regions” during the lunch break and then join a table discussion at one of the regions to participate in the co-creation of a manifesto for organic cotton.

Regional Hub Disucssion Summaries


The afternoon started back with a lively role play session in the style of a court case. A dual-fishbowl set up saw one side argue that suppliers should be walked away from if integrity issues were found, while the other argued that the issues should be worked through together.

#1. “Our side would walk away from a supplier if we discovered integrity problems”
#2. “Our side would work with our suppliers if we found integrity problems”

Each thoughtstarter had been assigned to one side of the argument and an expert Jury gave their input before going to a full audience vote.

Fishbowl Thoughtstarters:

Rhett Godfrey, Co-Founder & Lead Coordinator, Chetna Coalition
Tobias Meier, Senior Project Manager Green Economy, ecos
La Rhea Pepper, Organic Cotton Farmer, Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative
Brad Boren, Director of Innovation & Sustainability, Norrøna
Gwendolyn Wyard, Vice President, Regulatory & Technical Affairs Organic Trade Association
Lori Wyman, GOTS Representative for North America

Jury members:

Prama Bhardwaj, CEO, Mantis World | Chair of Textile Exchange’s Pan-Africa Sourcing Working Group
Eric Ducoin, Managing Director – Sourcing, Biocoton
Aydin Unsal, Owner, Egedeniz Tekstil A.S.
Bruno Van Steenberghe, Founder, KALANI S.A.


Commercializing non-GM cotton hybrids

Subindu Garkhel, Senior Cotton and Textiles Lead, Fairtrade Foundation
Shivraj Singh Raghuvanshi, Seed Expert, Pratibha Syntex Pvt. Ltd.

Panel discussion

This session began with a short introduction from Subindu Garkhel, session moderator, to introduce the broad topic and the issues the industry is facing. The focus was on celebrating the progress and investments that are being made, particularly in India where the problem is most critical.


Subindu Garkhel, Senior Cotton and Textiles Lead, Fairtrade Foundation


Nandakumar Rajagopalan, Co-Founder & CEO, CHETNA ORGANIC, India
Zach Rees,
Cotton Lead, Gowan Seed Company
Shivraj Singh Raghuvanshi,
Seed Expert, Pratibha Syntex Pvt. Ltd.
Christa Suter
, CEO, bioRe Foundation
Bart Vollard, Program Director, Organic Cotton Accelerator

In 2018 in Milan, we co-created a new approach – a General Assembly for Organic Cotton.

In the six years since the first Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) in Hong Kong, the gatherings have really lived up to their aspiration of being a Platform for Collective Action and an Incubator for Great Ideas. With our new approach, we have gone to the next level.

We believe this structure, inspired by the United Nations approach, provides a model for our development, uniting global and regional OCRTs and encouraging a two-way flow of information between the regional communities. Delegations from each region come together, alongside brands, retailers and other stakeholders, to report globally on their regional updates, activities and successes.

The General Assembly takes the informal linkages of the current OCRT to a more focused and mindful model of engagement between stakeholders. All of the ingredients that make the OCRT so valuable to stakeholders remain, such as the multi-stakeholder, accessible, and catalytic principles, with the added impact of a global and regional strategy that aim to link the pathway to region-based growth to a strengthened interaction between regions, supply networks and global thinking.

In Milan, time was dedicated to explaining the new model, discussing how a General Assembly can benefit us all, and ensuring next steps are developed with broad stakeholder input.

Participating Companies


Thanks also to the 2019 conference sponsors supporting this Round Table: 




Each year, we strive to ensure that the OCRT is as inclusive as possible by having voices from each region represented on the day. We started an OCRT Scholarship Fund in order to support the attendance of farmers / regional representatives who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to travel to Vancouver to join in the OCRT discussions. We are always seeking contributors to the fund – please contact us if you’d like to know more: OCRT@TextileExchange.org.

Consumer Engagement
Seeds & SoilsSeeds & Soils
Business Models
Fair Financing
Consumer Engagement

Related resources

Out of the Box Interviews: 2 Series Now available

Previous ocrt highlights


“Excellent global insight and education”

“Very comprehensive, interesting and informative”

“Inspiring, dedicated people with one common goal”

“Rich day with a lot of experience shared between organic cotton actors”

“The OCRT is very important to educate all value chain actors”

“The dialogue was content rich”

“Especially good to hear from South America and Turkey”

“Great to hear so many voices, very democratic”

“Very well organised round table, many good topics discussed”

“We need to look at livable incomes in a specific geographical region and determine the true cost of production, making sure that there is a sustainable margin on that.”Heinrich Schultz Organimark, & Chair of Textile Exchange Catalyst
“We believe now is the time to embed a common agenda through a connected community, to drive meaningful adoption of organic cotton, and to solidify our role in the sustainable cotton continuum.”La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange
“Being a first timer at the OCRT was incredibly inspiring. The access to industry thought leaders from Burkina Faso to Jaipur helped me gain a clearer picture of the challenges and immense promise of Organic Cotton. I walked away from the day feeling well informed and part of a larger ecosytem of smart and dedicated people committed to organic cotton and sustainability. It made me proud to be an OCRT sponsor. Thank you!”Linda Cabot, Founder, Linda Cabot Designs


  • La Rhea Pepper
  • Liesl Truscott
    Director of European & Materials Strategy
  • Alice Dos Santos
    Organic Cotton Program Coordinator
  • Sarah Compson
    Organic Cotton Ambassador and Liaison
  • Amish Gosai
    South Asia Manager
  • Atila Ertem
    Ambassador - Turkey, Egypt and Central Asia
  • Silvio Moraes
    Ambassador Latin America
  • Evonne Tan
    Director of Data Management & China Strategy
  • Silvère Tovignan
    Ambassador Africa
  • Sandra Marquardt
    Ambassador, North America
  • Lisa Barsley
    Materials Program Manager
  • Simon Cooper
    MOSP Partner | Change Agency

Quick Links

About organic cotton

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards.

Learn more

2018 Market reports

The 2018 Preferred Fiber & Materials Market Report and the Organic Cotton Market Report are now available.

Read more

PFM Benchmark

The Preferred Fiber & Materials (PFM) Benchmark helps companies measure, manage and integrate a PFM strategy.

Read more


A framework for assessing the environmental, social & economic impacts of organic cotton agriculture.

Learn more


A selection of some of the key terms and abbreviations that are used in the industry.


contact us

  For more information don’t hesitate to contact the team at: OCRT@textileexchange.org