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Volcom introduces traceable organic cotton initiative

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Volcom has confirmed that it is partnering with CottonConnect as part of its ‘Farm to Yarn’, a traceable organic cotton initiative with social and environmental benefits as it looks to add more transparency in its supply chain.

The multi-year partnership with CottonConnect, an enterprise that believes in a sustainable and transparent cotton supply by connecting retailers to farmers giving a traceable connection for the two, will allow Volcom to build upon its ‘Farm to Yarn’ launch that has produced nearly 27 metric tons, representing an estimated 15 percent of Volcom’s total organic cotton supply, of certified, fully traceable-to the-farm group, organic cotton from 8 different villages in the Madhya Pradesh region of India.

The socially conscious raw materials initiative in India not only features certified organic cotton that’s traceable back to the farmers but it also provides social and professional education programmes for the farmers and the women in the farming villages of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, where the cotton is sourced.

The initiative Volcom notes is more than just organic cotton, with benefits to the local farmers and their families including a year-long organic ‘farming skills’ programme for 150 farmers in Dewas district, Madhya Pradesh, helping them develop and fine tune natural pest control and organic fertilisers, as well as an educational program focused on women’s rights and life skills for 50 women farmers and beneficiaries associated with the farming villages, and a Farmer Business School training programme for 100 additional farmers offering lessons on business fundamentals in the state of Maharashtra.

‘Farm to Yarn’ also has had many social impact benefits including GMO testing to ensure seeds are GMO-free, tracking of tested seed to farmer, ensuring tested seeds are planted, and linking of farmers to the ginner, ginner to the spinner, spinner to the fabric mill for supply chain transparency.

Volcom partners with CottonConnect as part of its ‘Farm to Yarn’ programme

As a result of the multi-year commitment Volcom will be enhancing and building upon the organic cotton t-shirt range this spring, and will be building on the maiden launch with its second year of the programme supporting farmers who are harvesting now for the 2019-2020 product seasons.

“Partnership has been the keyword used to describe the success of this launch,” said Big Tony Alvarez, Volcom’s vice president of global of compliance and supply chain in a statement. “Without good partners on the ground, a programme like this rarely stands a chance.”

Arvind Rewal, regional director South Asia, CottonConnect, added: “Traceability is critical for the future of organic cotton. It requires a brand to be intentional about mapping its supply chain.

“This project with Volcom and Kering is a great example of how a company is intentionally seeking traceability in a supply chain that was said to be impossible to map.”

The organic cotton initiate is part of Volcom’s wider ‘New Future Alliance’ the fashion brand’s commitment to implementing initiatives that contribute to a “New Future where our oceans are strong, our climate is stable and we live in a smart and mindful society”.

Images: courtesy of Volcom