2020 Organic Cotton Round Table Virtual Summit Series

Head over to the OCRT HUB to access all recordings, presentations, and notes. Not an OCRT member yet? Sign up here.

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 throughout the year. For 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, these meetings were held virtually. A series of Regional Meetings was held between November 23 and December 11, ahead of the Global OCRT Summit held on December 16 and 17.

2018 Round Tables – High Level Agenda

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

Global OCRT Summit 2020

On December 16 and 17, 2020, the worldwide organic cotton community was warmly invited to join our 2020 Global OCRT Summit, which was based around the theme of driving impact through the journey to regenerative organic cotton.

In order to enable as many people to engage as possible, the Summit was repeated over two days, with different panelists.

There are many reasons why we need to rapidly scale the growth of organic cotton, yet doing so can present a number of challenges, not least because it takes several years for farmers to transition to organic.

Over the two sessions, we heard a rich diversity of voices from the worldwide organic cotton community, discussing the practical steps needed to urgently scale the conversion of cotton farms to organic, in order to help achieve the ambitious Climate + targets. The high level of engagement and quality of discussion really showed that the OCRT is a vital platform for collective action and incubating great ideas.

      OCRT Regional Meetings

      This year’s OCRT Regional Meetings mirrored the regional breakout sessions that would normally be a big part of our in-person Global OCRT Summit. One benefit of hosting these meetings virtually this year was that it enabled much wider and more representative participation. In line with this, we were pleased to offer simultaneous translation for several of the meetings. The agenda of each meeting is provided below.

      Head over to our OCRT HUB to access all recordings, presentations, and notes, and to hear the latest announcements and engage with other OCRT members. Not an OCRT member yet? Sign up here.

      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

      Access the latest agenda updates, pre-reads, and join our framing discussion on the meaning of regenerative agriculture. 

      The OCRT HUB is the new online home for Textile Exchange’s Organic Cotton Round Table. It will be used extensively throughout our series of Regional Meetings and our Global OCRT Summit to share updates and to provide a place for attendees to meet and exchange. Register to the OCRT HUB here. It’s open to all!

      On November 16, we will launch a new “Topic of the month” discussion on the HUB about regenerative agriculture. We want to hear your opinion on what regenerative agriculture means to you and how you see the connection with organic agriculture. Start by telling us how YOU define regenerative vs. organic agriculture here. Your answers will be used to generate a word cloud that will feature on the OCRT HUB and be presented at the Global OCRT Summit.



            See our full recap of the 2019 OCRT here.

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

            Consumer Engagement
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            Business Models
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            Related resources

            Out of the Box Interviews

            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

            Textile Exchange OCRT Team

            • 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

            2020 Organic Cotton Market Report

            The 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report is now available.

            Access it here

            Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark

            The Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark (CFMB) 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


            November 23, 2020 | Access recording via the OCRT HUB

            This meeting was hosted by the OCRT’s Pan-Africa Sourcing Working Group. During the meeting, participants learned about the current context of organic cotton production and policy in Africa, discussed sector-wide strategies for better market access and integrated value chain development, and shared best practices on designing organic cotton farming systems from the farm to the market. French simultaneous translation was available.


                • Updates from Textile Exchange’s Pan-Africa Sourcing Working Group​
                • Policy incentives for organic agriculture and cotton production in Africa​
                • Status of organic cotton production in Africa and globally​
                • Panel: Organic cotton production and practices across the African continent​
                    • Insights from Tanzania, Uganda, Burkina Faso, and Mali​
                    • Q&A​
                • Breakouts:​
                    • Organic cotton farming systems ​
                    • Market access​
                    • Collective action to promote organic cotton from Africa​
                • Key take-aways​

            South & Southeast Asia 

            December 1, 2020 | Access recording via the OCRT HUB

            This meeting was co-hosted by Textile Exchange and the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) under the theme “Securing a green recovery: building back better by supporting organic cotton farmers.” The focus was on in-conversion farming, the direct-to-farm sourcing model, and the new frontier of impact data.  


                • Update from Textile Exchange
                • Panel: In-conversion | Defining a playbook for supporting in-conversion.
                    • Lavinia Muth, Armedangels
                    • Amit Shah, Spectrum
                    • Amish Gosai, Textile Exchange
                    • Sumit Gupta, GOTS
                    • Q&A
                • Panel: Best Sourcing practice, Securing your supply in the first mile of organic cotton
                    • Jaskiran Warrik, OCA
                    • Velavan K, Inditex
                    • Hitesh Sharam, H&M
                    • Atul Mittal, Pratibha
                    • Q&A
                • Tools by Textile Exchange to support in-conversion and best sourcing practices
                • Impact data: The new frontier
                    • Amish Gosai, Textile Exchange
                    • Bart Vollaard, OCA

            Latin America & the Caribbean 

            December 2, 2020 | Access recording via the OCRT HUB

            It’s an exciting time for organic cotton in Latin America and the Caribbean and we were delighted to bring the community together to make progress in establishing a strong regional network. This meeting was co-hosted by Textile Exchange, EMBRAPA, and the FAO. In the meeting, organic cotton producer groups and support organizations shared their experiences and best practices and highlighted the unique benefits of organic cotton grown in this region, particularly when it comes to environmental regeneration and social equality. The focus was on scaling organic cotton production. Spanish and Portuguese simultaneous translation was available. 


              • Panels
                1. Perspectives from regional organic cotton producer groups
                2. Insights from the market
                3. Barriers to organic cotton production growth and a more sustainable textile industry in Latin America
              • Breakouts​
                1. How to improve organic cotton farming systems?
                2. How to how to build a stronger and more fair value chain? 
                3. How to break the barriers to organic cotton production growth?
              • Key take-aways


            December 8, 2020

            Given the risks posed to the organic cotton supply chain, this year’s OCRT China Regional Meeting took the form of an “Open Dialogue on Organic Cotton Sourcing in China”. The session aimed to explore where we are at, what we as a community might like to do collectively, and what role Textile Exchange OCRT might play going forward to address this challenge. This session was by invitation only and held under Chatham House rules without recording.

            United States 

            December 9, 2020 | Access recording via the OCRT HUB

            Scaling organic cotton production in the U.S.: Why and How. Speakers from Textile Exchange, the Organic Trade Association, The Organic Center, Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, and Independent Organic Services addressed the role organic cotton production plays in mitigating climate change and discussed obstacles and opportunities to advancing domestic organic cotton productionInteractive, action-oriented, sessions captured participant suggestions for changes at the farm, brand, and government levels.  


              • Welcome and introduction
              • Panels: Scaling organic cotton production in the U.S.
                • Why?
                  • The benefits of organic agriculture – Dr. Jessica Shade, The Organic Center Director of Science Programs
                  • Climate+ strategy – La Rhea Pepper, Textile Exchange CEO
                  • Climate legislative and regulatory initiatives – Johanna Mirenda, Organic Trade Association Farm Policy Director.
                  • Discussion and Q&A
                • How?
                  • Global and U.S. transitional initiatives / Transitional Cotton Challenge – La Rhea, Textile Exchange Managing Director
                  • Transitioning to organic: obstacles and opportunities – Kelly Pepper, Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (TOCMC) General Manager
                  • Seed availability and labeling – Angela Wartes-Kahl, Independent Organic Services Co-Owner and Consultant
                  • Discussion and Q&A
              • Group strategizing: Expanding the supply and demand of U.S. organic cotton.
                • Session leaders: La Rhea Pepper and Sandra Marquardt
                • After a brief thought-starter presentation, participants discuss actions needed by farmers, brands, and government addressing seed availability, contract criteria, research focuses, market development plans, and in-conversion cotton commitments. This discussion will be very focused on creating a roadmap to expanding U.S. organic cotton production by addressing opportunities, challenges, and solutions and discussing both supply and demand. Come prepared to create a recipe for success!
              • Next steps
                • La Rhea Pepper and Sandra Marquardt

            EMENA & Central Asia 

            December 11, 2020 | Access recording via the OCRT HUB

            This meeting examined the “four Ts” that are crucial for this region’s organic cotton sector to flourish and to benefit from the growing global demand: Transparency, Traceability, Technology, and Trust. During the meeting, participants heard insights from those deeply involved in this region’s organic cotton sector, and took part in meaningful conversations as we look to strengthen organic cotton’s future in this region.  Turkish simultaneous translation was available. 


            Welcome and Introduction

            The 4 Ts: Traceability, Trust, Transparency, and Technology in organic cotton supply networks  

              • Plenary: our thought-starters will kick-off the discussion on the 4Ts  
                • Florian NitzingerProject Manager, GIZ   
                • Tolga Uskuç,  Owner, Akasya Agriculture   
                • Aydın ÜnsalOwner, Egedeniz Textile   
                • Gökhan Aydın, Asst.General Manager, SANKO 
              • Breakouts in a carousel: attendees will be divided into groups and have the chance to discuss in depth the 4Ts with each of the thought-starters  
              • Key takeaways from the breakouts  

            Trust & Transparency – the Sağ Salim Labour Monitoring Program  

              • Panel with: 
                • Leisl Lancaster, Social and Environmental Impact Manager, Outland Denim   
                • Sandya Lang, Sustainability Manager, Nudie Jeans   
                • V.Besim Özek, Strategy & Business Development Director, BOSSA   
                • Richard Williams, Managing Director, PSG  

            Q&A with the panelists  

            Next steps for EMENA & Central Asia and Closing 

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