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Growers and Cotton Australia showcase industry's story on international stage

The Australian cotton story was recently showcased to a global audience of brands, retailers and manufacturers, through Cotton Australia’s participation at Intertextile, the world’s largest fabric fair held in Shanghai, China.

Cotton Australia and the Australian Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA) also co-hosted a dinner for Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) members in the region, with 60 key partners attending including six Australian brands that Cotton Australia has been working with.

Cotton growers Barb Grey (Mungindi) and Renee Anderson (Emerald) as well as ACSA representatives Arthur Spellson (Marketing Manager, Auscott) and Michael O'Rielley (Quality and Export Manager, Olam) joined Cotton Australia General Manager Michael Murray and Cotton to Market Project Lead Brooke Summers to form the Australian delegation.

Cotton Australia’s involvement in this event is part of the organisation’s Cotton to Market strategy that aims to position Australian cotton in the world textile market. It attracts a 50% rebate through the Australian Government’s Export Market Development Grant (administered by Austrade).

Cotton Australia’s trade display attracted keen interest from Intertextile delegates, with around 75 enquiries from brands, manufacturers, spinning mills, media and other associations interested in sourcing or finding out more about Australian cottonBCI and the Cotton LEADS™ program.

The BCI dinner attracted strong interest from leading cotton brands and manufacturers who received a market update from ACSA, and a sustainability update from Cotton Australia. Cotton growers Barb and Renee connected with the guests by telling their personal sustainability stories, proving a very powerful way to get the message across.

Cotton to Market Project Lead Brooke Summers says the challenge now is to capitalise on the many leads made during the visit.

“All of the world’s big brands attend Intertextile to look for new fabric innovations, meet suppliers and do business. We made some very strong connections with companies keen to use Australian cotton in their supply chains and now it’s important to foster those relationships and assist where we can,” Ms Summers says.

“A big part of the challenge is to understand where Australian cotton goes beyond the spinning mill so that we can assist brands to source it. Events like Intertextile give us great insight into those companies using Australian cotton to make not just yarn, but fabrics and finished products.”

“It's also a great opportunity to look at what the competition, synthetic fibres, are doing. It’s a little alarming that, for example, denim products that traditionally contained 100% cotton are now almost always blended with other fibres, including man-made cellulose fibres like tencel.”

“Of particular interest to brands is Australian cotton’s sustainability track record, including the social attributes of cotton production.  Providing safe working conditions and fair wages may seem basic to us, but these are issues of utmost importance to brands and retailers wanting visibility of supply chains right back to raw materials,” Ms Summers says.

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