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Fiber Council Annual Report

The Organic Trade Association (OTA)’s Fiber Council successfully works to strengthen and grow the organic fiber and textiles sector. Formed in 2015, the aim of the Council is to create a cohesive voice across fiber categories within the trade association, advance the promotion and protection of the organic brand, and grow the organic fiber sector overall.

The Fiber Council includes representatives from companies across the supply chain from farmers to manufacturers, certifiers, researchers, retailers, and more. Members also include representatives from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Textile Exchange, two leading organizations focusing on organic textiles, allowing continuous interaction and dialogue between the organizations.


FIBER COUNCIL ACTIVITY IN 2020

The Fiber Council faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic with collaboration and agility. Despite the unexpected twists and turns, the Council completed several key items on its 2020 Work Plan including new research on the benefits of organic cotton, an updated organic cotton fact sheet, virtual participation in the ShiftCon Eco-Wellness Influencer Conference, and a webinar on the release of the GOTS 6.0 standard.

FIBER COUNCIL ACTIVITY IN 2020
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Developing Information-Rich Resources for the Organic Fiber Sector

The Fiber Council continued its production of information-rich fact sheets in 2020, including the revised “Organic Cotton Fact Sheet” and the new “Organic 101" pamphlet. The fact sheet was updated to include the latest information about global and U.S. organic production amounts and locations, brands leading the uptake in the global marketplace, and the value of the U.S. market. The “Organic 101” pamphlet provides consumers and retailers with a simple pocket-size guide explaining the basics and benefits of organic fiber and textiles. Additional helpful fact sheets about organic fiber production, processing, and labeling – including OTA’s “Best Labeling Practices for Organic Textiles” – are maintained on the Fiber Council’s web page.

Organic Cotton Facts  Organic Fiber 101 Brochure OTA's Best Labeling Practices for Textiles 

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Educating the Industry with the GOTS 6.0 Webinar

In April, the Fiber Council collaborated with Textile Exchange and GOTS to host a webinar featuring the release of the GOTS Version 6.0. Gwendolyn Wyard, the trade association’s Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, and guest speaker Rahul Bhajekar, GOTS Managing Director, provided an overview of the requirements and best practices for the labeling of organic fiber and textiles in the U.S., as well as an update on the changes to the new version, to help organic businesses prepare for its implementation.

REGISTER TO WATCH THE WEBINAR ON-DEMAND   

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Influencing the Influencers

In October, five Fiber Council member organizations collaborated in hosting an “Organic Fiber Alley” at the virtual ShiftCon Eco-Wellness Influencer Conference. Coyuchi, Delilah Home, ECOFashion Corp, Gallant International, and Naturepedic came together to celebrate the integrity of the organic brand for fiber and textiles. During their presentation, the Council members shared with influencers the continued growth of the organic textile sector, highlighting the $2 billion of organic fiber sales in 2019.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE U.S. ORGANIC COTTON MARKET?
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WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE U.S. ORGANIC COTTON MARKET?
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WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE U.S. ORGANIC COTTON MARKET?

Organic fiber continues to be the largest and fastest-growing sector in the U.S. organic non-food industry (including organic textiles, household products, personal care products, supplements, pet food, and flowers). According to the Organic Trade Association’s 2020 Organic Industry Survey, organic fiber product sales increased 12 percent over 2018 to $2.04 billion in 2019--with most of those sales in organic cotton. Overall, sales of organic food and non-food products in the U.S. totaled a new record of $55.1 billion in 2019, up 5 percent from the previous year.

COUNCIL ACTIVITY CONT
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Launching a Scientific Organic Cotton Research Report

In late 2018, the Fiber Council raised nearly $12,000 to support a research project to look at what science can inform us about the benefits of organic cotton. While a broad array of research has shown that organic production, in general, can provide significant environmental benefits, no published studies had provided an exhaustive review of the specific practices used by both conventional and organic cotton growers and processors in the United States.


Thanks to the collaboration between The Organic Center and Iowa State University and the funding from the Fiber Council, new research published in the Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems now fills this gap by surveying organic cotton producers and processors to better understand the specific approaches and methods used in organic cotton production and processing, and the environmental benefits and impacts of those practices. The study covers some of the most recent research on organic cotton production, showing the importance of avoiding synthetic chemicals and the role of organic cotton when it comes to climate change mitigation. It highlights the practices used in organic cotton, from building soil health on the farm to using non-toxic methods of textile processing.

LEARN MORE     

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Strengthening and Diversifying Our Organizational Membership

In 2020, five new companies joined the Fiber Council, building it to 44 members strong. The Council welcomes: ECOconscious, EWB Consulting, Independent Organic Services, Inc., Ustrive Manufacturing, and Zestt Organics. The Council looks forward to collaborating to grow and diversify the organic sector.

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2021
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Retailer Education Project

Undertaking a Retailer Education Project which will include developing, updating, and publishing useful fact sheets and educational resources to support a webinar training.

Retailer Education Project
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Advocating for Resources

Advocating for and supporting the development of resources and programs to support the increased production of organic cotton with a focus on transitional cotton.

Advocating for Resources
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JOIN OUR COUNCIL MEMBERS
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Working collaboratively, Fiber Council members raise the visibility of organic fiber production and processing in the U.S. and develop detailed information and trainings vital to your business. Interested in joining the work of the Council? Contact OTA’s Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs Gwendolyn Wyard.