Solidaridad invites fashion companies to pick sustainable cotton

The Agreement on Sustainable Garment & Textile signed this year inspired many companies in the Dutch textiles industry to commit to taking steps towards becoming a more sustainable sector. On Thursday, 17 November, the first steps were taken on the path toward sector-wide sustainability. Solidaridad hosted a few dozen companies and organizations in the Netherlands for the Picking Sustainable Cotton seminar to openly discuss the challenges and opportunities when sourcing sustainable cotton.

Lively discussions

Held in one of the oldest commercial warehouses of the Netherlands, Winkel van Sinkel in Utrecht, the meeting was attended by an engaged audience working in different settings: from buyers to designers, from digital marketers to CSR professionals, all within the fashion industry. This resulted in lively discussions such as the need for setting public and time-bound commitments regarding sourcing sustainable cotton – to give suppliers time to plan and adapt to the demand – and about the main reason why not all companies have yet been able to source 100% sustainable cotton: the lack of know-how is often more important than financial consequences. For many participants, sharing experiences with other brands was one of the most valuable outcomes of the afternoon.

Building confidence to take next steps

Companies who are already well on their way towards sustainable business, like Decathlon and H&M, presented the challenges and opportunities they encountered on their voyage. Via a panel discussion, companies working with one of the four main sustainability standards – Organic, Fairtrade, Cotton Made in Africa and Better Cotton – shared information that, as one participant expressed, gave “confidence to take the next steps towards 100% more sustainable cotton”. Pesticides Action Network (PAN) UK, Solidaridad and WWF discussed the results of the research they have commissioned and gathered in the report Mind the Gap, about the current gap between the supply and uptake of sustainable cotton.

Solidaridad as a driving force

As a civil society organization working in supply chains, and as a steering group member of the Agreement on Sustainable Garment & Textile, Solidaridad actively contributes to the change toward a more sustainable textiles industry. Bringing together major stakeholders and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experience is one of the ways in which Solidaridad aims to achieve this.

Want to know more?

Are you interested in joining one of our seminars in the future, or do you want to know more about sustainable cotton? Get in touch with Anne-Katrien Denissen via