GCNYC Town Hall discusses building responsible supply networks with textile exchange

28 March 2019

Glasgow Caledonian NYC welcomed La Rhea Pepper, Founder and Managing Director of Textile Exchange for a conversation on building responsible supply networks using preferred fibers and materials. The town hall discussion highlighted the environmental and social impacts that brands and retailers should be aware of throughout the development process of textiles.

In a moderated conversation with the GCNYC Fair Fashion Center, Ms. Pepper shared her personal story as a fifth generation cotton farmer and how her experiences created the opportunity for her to lead the fashion industry on navigating fibers and materials that perform better socially and/or environmentally than their conventional counterparts. 

“At Textile Exchange we firmly believe in the power of collaboration and engaging all stakeholders on the lifecycle and inputs of a product,” said La Rhea Pepper, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Textile Exchange. “We are grateful for the partnership with the GCNYC Fair Fashion Center and the ability to create an enabling space for dialogue and action on the sourcing of key raw materials.  Establishing a preferred fiber strategy is journey about progress, not perfection, and it takes partnership with suppliers to drive sustainable change.”

Setting the stage with a more global economic view, Ms Pepper highlighted how megatrends like population growth, urbanization, and resource scarcity will affect global supply chains, such as apparel. She outlined the state of the fiber market as well as how to get started in establishing a preferred fiber strategy, including the tools and resources that Textile Exchange provides to help brands at all stages of the journey.

“It’s estimated that more than half of a product’s environmental footprint is a result of the growing and processing of key raw materials,” said Maggie Kervick, Director of Strategy and Integrated Partnerships at GCNYC. “The complex supply chain makes it difficult for brands and retailers to navigate upstream, and the Textile Exchange team does a great job closing the gaps. La Rhea always connects the negative impacts in a digestible way for any audience to understand, while also giving concrete and actionable next steps.” 

Textile Exchange is a global non-profit that works closely with its members to drive industry transformation in preferred fibers, integrity and standards, and responsible supply networks. They identify and share best practices regarding farming, materials, processing, traceability and product end-of-life in order to reduce the textile industry’s impact on the world’s water, soil and air, and the human population. The GCNYC Fair Fashion Center has partnered with Textile Exchange on the Blended Cotton Challenge, driving adoption of organically grown and transitional cotton, as well as helping guide and train brands on establishing a preferred fiber strategy. 

The town hall is part of a new series of educational workshops on profitability and sustainability, designed to equip participants with the information and analytical skills required to successfully face some of the most significant global issues for business professionals in the modern world: