Options for This Page
Jul 15, 2007
I grew up in Southern California at a time in the 70’s when helicopters were dumping heavy doses of maltihion on not only the trees but everything else that stood in its way. All in the name of war against the Mediterranean fruit fly. The malathion not only succeeded in killing the med-fly but our family pet dog as well, ten years later both my parents would be dead from cancer. That was the beginning of my foray into the organic food market.
“If you don’t eat it, why would you care if your tee shirt is organic?” A question I was asked many times as the Ladies Apparel Buyer for Sam’s Club in 2004, where I suddenly found myself responsible and accountable for the economic, environmental and social impacts of tens of millions of textile garments that I purchased each year. The scale of such decisions was an enormous responsibility; given cotton’s chemical dependence. Cotton represents about half of the world textile market. They say that for change to happen you first have to be uncomfortable. Knowing that my decisions had the environmental impact of dumping millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the earth, water and air, picturing thousands of farm workers and their families being exposed to these toxins daily. I knew that I had to do something. I was certain of two things. One. I would “Do the right thing” for our Sam’s Club members and offer them Organic Cotton ladies apparel, the first items would be a yoga top and bottom priced similar to other yoga type items in the club. Why should some people be able to afford to buy organic apparel and organic food, and others are not? I believe that all people have the right to make healthier choices.
Second. What would be the impact if Wal-Mart became the largest user of organic cotton? Hmmmmm, now that is a worthy goal. A goal that could actually make a difference and one I was committed to. The yoga items sold incredibly fast. A co-worker and I led the Wal-Mart Sustainable fibers and organic cotton team, that team was responsible for global change.
In 2006 I founded Eco-Innovations, sustainable textile consulting. Eco-Innovations provides clients with sustainable value leadership, focusing on the development and marketing of organic cotton and sustainable textiles. We support our client’s goals in creating market leadership and competitive advantage.