GOTS Seminar: Sustainability as Key to Business Efficiency
Reports from the GOTS India Seminar 2018, organised by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) in Tamil Nadu, that was attended by 180 delegates from five countries.
More than 180 delegates from five countries attended ‘GOTS India Seminar 2018’, organised by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The seminar was held at Le Meridien Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India on 29th May 2018. The seminar brought together important stakeholders under one roof to discuss efficiency through sustainability. The attendees included International brands and retailers, Indian fashion brands, textile manufacturers, chemical suppliers, testing laboratories, accreditation bodies, academicians, industry organisations, certification bodies, standard bodies, media, service providers, consultants and other important stakeholders from the field of organic textiles and sustainability.
The theme of the seminar was ‘Sustainability as Key to Business Efficiency’. With time, focus on sustainable development has significantly increased both in India and the world. Actively implementing guidelines for protection of environment and people is seen as the instrument to secure the future and reputation of operations in the long run, India has made immense progress in terms of processing of organic textiles. As per December 2017 data, out of the 5,024 facilities GOTS certified worldwide, the highest, more than 1,650 are in India.
In his welcome address, Sumit Gupta, Seminar Coordinator and GOTS Representative in India and Bangladesh, introduced the theme and the sessions for the day.
Four sessions of the seminar addressed the various aspects of efficiency in sustainable fashion and textile manufacturing. The sessions included buyers’ perspective, chemical compliance, social responsibility and futuristic certification systems.
SESSION 1: Efficiency through Sustainability in Fashion: Buyers’ Perspective
– was moderated by Claudia Kersten, Managing Director, GOTS, Germany. Kersten made a short opening presentation and explained how the eco/social efficiency of a product or service is inversely proportional to its nonsustainable eco/social impact. The speakers in this session were Bruno Van Sieleghem, Sustainability & PR Manager, Stanley/Stella, Belgium; Gagan Kapoor, Global Cotton Supply Chain Responsible, H&M and Madhav Lohia, Brand Head, SoulSpace. The Indian brand SoulSpace shared their vision of GOTS certified clothing line for Indian consumers as one of the first movers. International brands H&M and Stanley/Stella reconfirmed their commitment to organic textiles as a part of their strategy to achieve higher levels of sustainability in their respective supply chains.
SESSION 2: Efficiency through GOTS Criteria and Chemical Compliance
– was moderated by Prasad Pant, Director - South Asia, ZDHC Foundation. The speakers for this session were Sumit Gupta, Deputy Director Standards Development & Quality Assurance, GOTS; D Subaash Kumaar, Vice President, Anugraha Fashion Mill Pvt. Ltd. It was learnt in the session how tools like GOTS & ZDHC concretely contribute to efficiency since they take over the work regarding chemical compliance management. Subaash Kumaar presented case-study on how investments in environmental compliances have led to increase in savings and therefore led to business efficiency and higher profitability.
SESSION 3: Efficiency through Social Compliance
– was moderated by Herbert Ladwig, Policy and Legal Advisor, GOTS, Germany. The speakers in this session were R S Balagurunathan, Founder, Anandi Enterprises; A Narayansamy, General Manager, Armstrong Spinning Mills; Mona Gupta, Founder Director, Sutradhara and Dr. Binay Choudhury, Chairman, CU Inspections and Certifications India Pvt. Ltd. While, Balagurunathan spoke about the inherent social benefits of organic
“H&M AND STANLEY/ STELLA RECONFIRMED THEIR COMMITMENT TO ORGANIC TEXTILES AS A PART OF THEIR STRATEGY TO ACHIEVE HIGHER LEVELS OF SUSTAINABILITY IN THEIR RESPECTIVE SUPPLY CHAINS.
farming. It was also evident that it is relatively difficult to measure efficiency in social sector as the most results are long term. We also need to improve communication about social mattersboth with the workers and external stakeholders.
SESSION 4: ‘Being Future Efficient:
Evolution of Standard’ – was moderated by Rahul Bhajekar, Managing Director, GOTS. He made a presentation on the session title and shared the ongoing work in the field of GMO testing and the Central Database Project. This was followed by a Panel Discussion on the topic, ‘Futuristic Certification Systems for Textile Chemicals’. The panellists were Lars Doemer, Co-Founder, GoBlu International, Germany; Dr. Pankaj Desai, Head - Research and Development, Colourtex; Dr. Rajesh Ramamurthy, Head - Product Stewardship Asia, Archroma;
Dr. Siva Pariti, Global Technical Program Manager, Sustainable Textile Solutions; and Shriram Atgur, Head - Sustainability and Product Stewardship, AEON India. Several panelists opined that Ecolabels like GOTS add value to product and process for both verification and effective communication. Harmonization of MRSLs as well as health and safety of workers at chemical manufacturing facilities was also discussed in the panel.
Subaash Kumaar, Vice President, Anugraha Fashion Mill Pvt. Ltd., said, “It was a very positive gathering and GOTS has done great arrangements at all fronts. I could meet many new friends and I am really happy with the response what I got from the audience at the seminar.”
Sumit Gupta, with his closing remarks said, “Indian consumers as well as Indian brands are looking for ecological fashion products, but gaps remain for criteria and communication. GOTS has the potential to fill these gaps by providing uniform criteria for sustainable production and communication in all parts of the supply chain.”
Prasad Pant, Director - South Asia for Amsterdam based ZDHC Foundation, “All stakeholders of the industry were present here. I congratulate GOTS team for the success of GOTS India Seminar 2018.”
“It was a wonderful gathering of Indian and international high level experts. We had concrete examples of investments in social and environmental aspects leading to business efficiency and profitability,” said Claudia Kersten, Managing Director, GOTS.
“I was very pleased with the response we had from across the supply chain, chemical manufacturers included.
The speakers were on-point and the audience interaction was excellent. It all goes to show that GOTS in India has a sustained, growing future,” said Rahul Bhajekar, anaging Director, GOTS.