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BERLIN – A new guide to organic cotton which offers help and advice to brands looking to switch to or increase their uptake of organic has been launched by Swiss development organisation Helvetas. The Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide was launched during Berlin Fashion Week which has been taking place this week in Germany. Brett Mathews reports from Berlin.

The guide offers readers six practical steps to helping brands and retailers increase their use of organic cotton. These include steps taken by management to set purchasing targets; initial assessments to define qualities and quantities of organic cotton: defining partnerships with actors in the organic supply chain and other industry stakeholders such as the Organic Cotton Accelerator; issues concerning supply chain transparency, including making sure each step of the supply chain is certified and certification bodies provide all certificates needed; building contracts with suppliers in the organic supply chain; and communication. This final point includes sharing an organic cotton policy and adapted sourcing strategy with the right people inside and outside the company.

Says the guide: “While numerous companies have been sourcing organic cotton successfully for many years, others struggle with the challenges to integrate organic cotton into their supply chain. The aim of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is that at least 35 per cent of sustainable cotton is used in Germany in 2020, of which at least 10 per cent should be organic (including organic cotton in conversion).

“By 2025, the Partnership plans to double the usage, i.e. 70 per cent sustainable cotton with at least 20 per cent organic cotton. The guide at hand shall provide practical support for companies wishing to set up new or enter existing organic supply chains. It provides learnings and shares recommendations from experienced brands and companies as well as relevant organisations such as Textile Exchange, Organic Cotton Accelerator the Cotton 2040 initiative and others, by providing links to existing guidance documents on specific topics.”

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