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Cotton Sourcing Issues Set for Discussion Next Month in London

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

Up to 90 percent of the nearly 100 million farmers that grow cotton worldwide are based in developing countries, areas often overwhelmed by political turmoil. This means that for many cotton-buying businesses and brands, securing a sustainable supply has become a major concern. Cotton sourcing is set to come to the fore next month in London when Innovation Forum and CottonConnect will bring together key players in the industry to debate the issue.

Hosted by the University of the Arts London on Mar. 16-17, “Sustainable and Ethical Cotton Sourcing: How to Get it Right and Make it Pay for Your Business” will not only cover the latest trends but will also be a hands-on, practical discussion on the key issues currently facing the cotton supply chain.

Senior figures from fashion chains Gina Tricot and Primark will share their experiences sourcing finished cotton in a market that, according to Textile Exchange’s “2013 Organic Cotton Report,” saw a 4.1% drop in production in 2013 compared with 2012. A speaker from British retailer John Lewis will reveal how drip irrigation improved fertilization techniques to deliver 50 percent yield increases within 12 months.

Additional seminar discussions will include the risks involved with sourcing cotton from such important but challenging producers as China and Pakistan and the continued controversy surrounding genetically modified crops, as well as what NGO groups think of the progress made so far by brands. For more information on the event, visit globalsustain.org.

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