OrganicExchange becomes TextileExchange, expands mission

OrganicExchange, established in 2001, showed itself off with its new name, TextileExchange, at OR Winter Market '11, to demonstrate its broadening mission.

TextileExchange wasn’t the typical new kid on the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market’s “alley” of non-profits.

OrganicExchange, established in 2001, changed its name to TextileExchange in October 2010 as it broadened its mission to educate manufacturers, farmers, brands and retailers about sustainable practices throughout the entire supply chain, in addition to organic cotton issues.

“Organic cotton is still our core focus, but now there are environmental impacts that we’re looking at from the entire supply chain and other textiles,” said Daren Abney, TextileExchange member services manager. “It’s not just about looking at the fabric from the raw source, it’s looking at how the fabric is processed to become a final garment”

The mission expansion and name change has convinced many companies to join TextileExchange, we were told. Unifi, a manufacturer of polyester and nylon yarn exhibiting at ORWM '11, is a case in point. The company considered TextileExchange membership over the past few months before signing up immediately before Winter Market began.

“We felt a little stronger connection to TextileExchange because all of our yarn production is synthetic-based polyester and nylon,” said Roger Berrier, Unifi executive vice president of sales, marketing and Asian operations.

Unifi expects to benefit from the educational networking opportunities Unifi provides.

Berrier said, “It’s good for us to join an organization that has a very broad membership and that’s taking on different challenges that face sustainability initiatives.”

According to Abney, some of TextileExchange’s existing members that signed up for the OrganicExchange weren’t completely sold on the shift. However, none of them have withdrawn their support or membership.

- Elizabeth O. Hurst



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