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First International GOTS conference highly successful
The international event attracted over 250 delegates
The flagship event by GOTS in Mumbai, India on 22 May 2015 was attended by more than 250 delegates from twelve countries including international brands & retailers, Indian brands and exporters from the Indian subcontinent, buying agents, manufacturers of textiles and additives (dyes, chemicals, enzymes), certification bodies, testing laboratories, trade associations, NGOs, academics, media, consultants, etc. The theme of the conference was Strong Partnerships for Success. The congregation initiated new partnerships and valuable discussions. India is the country with the highest number of GOTS certified facilities worldwide. Today, out of the more than 3600 facilities GOTS certified worldwide, more than 1300 are in this country. In the inaugural session Herbert Ladwig, Managing Director of GOTS expressed his happiness on the Directorate General of Foreign Trade notification in first week of May 2015 explicitly excluding organic textiles from the new procedures for export of organic product and also appreciated DGFT and Ministry of Commerce, Government of India for this industry friendly move. Four sessions of the conference addressed the various dimensions of GOTS as an instrument of sustainable supply chain management.
Session1: “Storytelling: Brands’ and Retailers’ Business Case for Sustainability through GOTS”
Speakers' statements included the benefits of GOTS certification like increased work environment safety, increased workers morale, improvement in company’s image but also the challenges regarding the availability of organic cotton. Key results included the need for labeling GOTS on the product to distinguish from self-claims. Session2: “Going for GOTS”: Experts gave insights in challenges and opportunities that auditing faces today, technical and labelling requirements in GOTS, testing procedures, chemical parameters considered in assessment and testing of dyes and chemicals.
Session3: "Sustainability Standards: National or International"?
According to the panelists the International standards do encompass a global perspective and are developed in the view of making international supply chains are more efficient than national standards. Furthermore standards should be voluntary; however the governments can adopt and enforce private standards, as USDA has set an example. Experts opined that standards should work towards mutual recognition and that the strategic dimension of legitimizing private mode of governance in areas of public interest should be addressed.
Session 4: "Supply Chain: Challenges and Opportunities with GOTS"
In this final session, moderator Ullhas Nimkar challenged the panelists from all areas of the textile chain including laboratory and certifiers by insightful and fundamental questions. Not rather surprising but always worth to mention that again it became very clear that sustainability is a necessity, especially to change over from conventional to organic. Furthermore the price premium of sustainable textiles can hardly be argued away but the emphasis must be on the additional value and benefit for sellers and buyers. More information is available here.