Lucas Simons, CEO of NewForesight Consultancy, speaks at the 2016 Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference about the state of collaboration in the textiles industry and challenges attendants to work more closely in order to overcome common obstacles. Photo courtesy of Textile Exchange.

Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit organization for the textile industry, is holding its Textile Sustainability Conference this week in Washington, D.C. The conference will host more than 400 industry members and offer panels, activities and discussions around sustainability and the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. This year’s theme is “United by Action: Catalyzing the Sustainable Development Goals in Textiles.”

The event seeks to “create action and develop a 2030 roadmap for the textile industry,” according to the organization.

Speakers include: Ariane Grazian the senior manager of general merchandise sustainability for Wal-Mart; Helena Helmersson, the global head of production for H&M; Jeffrey Hogue, chief sustainability officer at C&A and Caroline Reid, project manager of sustainable development for Ikea.

Justin Mundy, the director of HRH The Prince of Wales International Sustainability Unit, will take part in a special presentation titled “Scaling the Use of Sustainable Cotton” along with representatives from the Sustainable Cotton Initiatives, on Oct. 11. Additional presenters include suppliers such as Shreyaskar Chaudhary, the managing director of Pratibha Syntex Ltd. and Jose Fernandez of Global Merino. Innovations and stakeholder initiatives delivering on sustainable development goals will be offered by leading chief executive officers, directors and founders from companies such as Pure Strategies Inc., Fabrikology International, Applied DNA Sciences, Circular Economy, Water Footprint Network and the Pacific Institute.

A colorful and graphic representation of the ideas Simons shared in his address. Photo courtesy of Textile Exchange. 

The event is in its 15th year running and will begin the conference with an anniversary celebration to honor its founding members that sought to “drive industry transformation.” Textile Exchange was founded in 2002 with aims to improve “core areas” of the textile industry, notably: fiber and materials; integrity and standards, and the supply network. Its initiatives have positively impacted water, soil, air, animals and the human population as it relates to the industry at large.

Nicole Bassett, the cofounder of The Renewal Workshop and an attendee from Textile Exchange’s 2016 conference said: “I always walk away from the Textile Exchange global conference with a deep understanding of the newest ideas, innovations and companies in sustainability in the textile industry. The conference gives the opportunity for great networking and developing business relationships.”

Scott Leonard, a founding member of Textile Exchange and the ceo of Indigenous and a member of the C&A Foundation Investment Committee, said “Through their annual conference, Textile Exchange provides a much-needed space for everyone to work together, because this type of collaboration and collective action is what will drive transformational change within apparel supply chains globally.”

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