Collaboration essential to creating a prosperous organic cotton sector which benefits everyone

The Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA)—with founding partners C&A, H&M, Kering, EILEEN FISHER, Textile Exchange, C&A Foundation, and Inditex—was founded in 2014, and aims to build a fair, robust organic cotton market with appropriate integrity at every relevant level, whilst growing supply and demand.

The organic cotton sector faces several systemic issues. Currently, the lack of transparency in the cotton supply chain leads to low product integrity, and farmers have no incentive to switch to organic production due to a lack of knowledge, access to quality organic seeds, and access to finance. Although much has already been done by the sector to tackle these issues, the next step to accelerate sustainability and tackle root causes of the sector’s problems is to collaborate and coordinate these efforts.

After the development of the OCA strategy in 2015, in which NewForesight was closely involved, the OCA has entered a two year prototyping phase starting 2016. In the prototyping phase, OCA will enable a viable business case for organic cotton, both for producers and the industry, by understanding and improving essential conditions. OCA will align sector front-runners on priority issues, identifies systemic and pre-competitive issues, and designs solutions to jointly tackle them. Additionally, OCA will support sharing and acting upon results and best practices to support learning, and work with value chain partners for implementation.

Recognizing the need for a new approach, OCA’s strategy is to develop the platform and structures that will enable successful collaboration based on the three drivers for successful collaboration: it convenes the sector around a shared and aspirational vision and actionable goals, it clarifies complementary roles and responsibilities and is developing structures for effective cooperation and governance, and by deliberate design as a sector-wide strategy focused on collaboration, it will offer a strong incentive for the entire sector to join the movement towards a prosperous organic cotton sector which benefits everyone. OCA is currently bringing together sector stakeholders to further grow the initiative, and ‘grow the future together’.

If you would like to know more about how NewForesight supports OCA in transforming the organic cotton sector, please visit our page on this project. For more information and to join OCA, head to their website.