ASB Magazine  Volcom, in a multi-year partnership with the social enterprise CottonConnect, is launching Farm to Yarn, a socially conscious raw materials initiative which features certified organic cotton that’s traceable back to the farm and provides social and professional education programs for the farmers and women in the farming villages of Maharashtra, India, where the cotton was sourced.

Launching in Season 1 2019, the products are the result of a multi-year commitment that Volcom has made to this partnership, further enhancing and building upon the organic cotton t- shirt range they’ve been selling for years.

More than just organic cotton.

Volcom’s initial Farm to Yarn launch produced nearly 27 metric tons (representing an estimated 15% 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 program also provided the following to the local farmers and their families:

● A year-long organic ‘farming skills’ program for 150 farmers in Dewas district, Madhya Pradesh, helping them develop and fine tune natural pest control and organic fertilizers

● An educational program focused on Women’s Rights and Life Skills for 50 women farmers and beneficiaries associated with the farming villages

● A Farmer Business School training program for 100 additional farmers offering lessons
on business fundamentals in the state of Maharashtra

In addition to the social impact benefits, the program features integrity components as well,
such as:

● GMO testing to ensure seeds are GMO-free
● Tracking of tested seed to farmer, ensuring tested seeds are planted
● Linking of farmers to the ginner, ginner to the spinner, spinner to the fabric mill for supply chain transparency

The benefit of strong partnerships.

“Partnership has been the key word used to describe the success of this launch,” said Big Tony Alvarez, Volcom’s VP of Global of Compliance and Supply Chain. “Without good partners on the ground, a program like this rarely stands a chance.”

For Volcom, CottonConnect, is that good partner. CottonConnect specializes in connecting brands and retailers to farmers to create a transparent supply chain. Additionally, they train farmers in agro-economic practices and support the enhancement of farmer livelihoods and strong farming communities, something Volcom’s Farm to Yarn program directly benefits from.

For Volcom, it’s the pursuit of traceability that drives the program.

“Traceability is critical for the future of organic cotton. It requires a brand to be intentional about mapping its supply chain.” said Arvind Rewal, Regional Director South Asia, CottonConnect.

“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. Anxious to build on the maiden launch, Volcom is already in its second year of the program supporting farmers who are harvesting now for the 2019-2020 product seasons.

“We are truly proud of this program as it embodies both environmental and social benefits,”
said Ryan Immegart, Chief Marketing Officer at Volcom. “In addition, it represents another
strategic milestone in our never-ending mission to be True To This planet.”


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