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A Reuters story from this week, “Shoppers won’t get break from cotton price dip,” refers to NAT’s relationships with Levi’s and Hanes in the context of brands looking to diversify the types of fiber they use to ease costs against the volatile cotton markets. Robert Shearer, CEO of VF Corp, makes the exact point that we feel differentiates CRAiLAR:
“Consumers, when they pick up a pair of Wrangler jeans or Lee jeans, have certain expectations…experimenting with how jeans feel would ‘harm the brand.'”
CRAiLAR Flax, blended at significant rates, is indistinguishable from 100% cotton to the touch. This was a significant factor in why Hanes signed a 10-year purchasing agreement with us in March, and why brands like Levi’s, Cintas, Carhartt and others have been in joint development agreements with us this year evaluating how they might use CRAiLAR Flax in their product portfolio.
Textile Exchange, the global organization dedicated to promoting the use of organic cotton, just released its annual Global Sustainable Textile Market Report. According to the Report, organic cotton represented a $6.2 billion industry last year and stands to grow another 20 percent in 2012, ballooning to $7.4 billion.
Along with that forecast, the Report also published its list of the top 10 corporations using organic cotton. Just a quick glance reveals that the list is filled with industry-leading apparel companies who wield strong taste-making influence, from athletic brands like Nike and adidas to big box retailer Target or mall fashion brand Zara.
At the top of the list is Sweden’s H & M, which used more than 15,000 tons of organic cotton in 2010. According to CSR Product Manager Henrik Lampa, by creating demand for organic cotton, H & M is incentivizing cotton farmers to adopt sustainable cultivation practices.
Of course, there are many experts who think that cotton, as a crop, is too difficult to sustainably grow. Given that opinion, we won’t be surprised when next year’s edition of the Report begins to track the rise of organic cotton alternatives, such as flax and hemp.
May the new year bring happiness, love and prosperity to you and yours. Wishing you a Happy New Year!