This is part one of our conversation with Crispin Argento, Managing Director at the Sourcery and former Executive Director of the Organic Cotton Accelerator.
We kick off with some context: Why are brands disconnected from cotton growers in the first place? And why does this matter? What are the all the steps that cotton goes through before it lands in a retail shop as a finished t-shirt? What’s the role of the merchant? What would it take to change the way cotton is sourced? Why is brands buying directly from growers such a radical idea?
We then get into a question that’s been on our minds for a while: if there’s a shortage of sustainable cotton (however that might be defined), why doesn’t this lead to higher prices for growers? How is risk and reward distributed across cotton supply chains?
Want to dig deeper ?
We recommend Empire of Cotton, a book by Harvard history professor Sven Beckert.
Check out Crispin Argento’s piece on why cotton won’t ever be sustainable until farmers are paid more.
Check out Elizabeth Cline’s piece for Another Tomorrow: The Controversy Over Cotton
Check out Cotton Diaries, a global community of people passionate about cotton and committed to making cotton supply chains more sustainable.
Photo by Carsten Vollrath