We are also proud to welcome the following speakers and panelists:
Updated as of 28 April 2017
Fiona Wheatley, Plan A Sustainable Development Manager, Marks & Spencer’s
Fiona Wheatley, Plan A Sustainable Development Manager at Marks and Spencer, has a wealth of experience in the retail sector and a history of improving the environmental and social footprint of retail product supply chains. Her aim is that all materials used for M&S products, packaging and operations come from the most sustainable sources available.
A firm believer of collaboration being essential to address the complex and deep-seated challenges of global supply chains, Fiona Co-Chairs the Consumer Goods Forum Palm Oil and Soy Working Groups, is on the Board of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and participates in various Advisory Groups on sustainable commodities and certification.
Ruth Mathews, Chief Policy Advisor, Water Footprint Network
Ruth Mathews is the Chief Policy Advisor of the Water Footprint Network and has two decades of experience in tackling the world’s water issues in Asia, Latin America, the US and Europe. She has worked with companies, including those in the textile sector, to help them understand their water dependence, assess the sustainability of their water use and prioritize strategic actions in their operations and their supply chain and with governments on policy and regulatory formulation and reform. She has been involved in numerous multi-stakeholder river basin dialogues, providing leadership in finding solutions from the technical to broad policy.
Mark Pryor, Chairman and CEO, The Seam
Mark Pryor is the Chairman and CEO of The Seam, where he orchestrates the company’s strategic initiatives in blockchain, commodities trading, tracking, clearing and software development solutions. Pryor was the founding technology director for The Seam when the company began in the year 2000. Under his direction, The Seam’s cloud-based platforms have since facilitated the trading and management of tens of millions of cotton bales with over $8 billion in trade clearing to date.
Pryor serves on multiple cotton industry and organizational committees. He was recently featured in Forbes, NASDAQ, Fibre2Fashion, and other industry news outlets for spearheading the formation of a global cotton industry blockchain consortium with IBM.
Amit Shah, CEO, Spectrum International
Amit Shah is the CEO and Founder Director of Spectrum International, one of the largest BCI verified cotton producing, processing and trading companies in the world.
Amit has been active in sustainable cotton business for the past two decades. He is a BCI Council Member since 2014 and a Board Member of the European Board of the Textile Exchange since 2016.
Merrilee Avila, Sustainable Materials Manager, Nike, Inc.
Merrilee Avila is the Global Apparel Sustainable Materials Manager, Nike, Inc.
Within international NGOs, local start-ups, and Fortune 100s alike, Merrilee has been developing programs and strategy in sustainable materials, global supply chain security, and agriculture for over 15 years. At Nike, she’s project managed the cross-functional team developing Nike Inc.’s sustainable cotton program. The project, and its lessons learned, are being used to model systemic materials change across the business. Now she’s helping Nike take raw materials strategies even further with Nike’s bold ambition to “Double the business with half the impact.”
Robert Antoshak, Managing Director, Olah, Inc.
Robert Antoshak is the Managing Director of Olah Inc., a global leader in the apparel textile industry, specialising in denim and textile education, apparel sourcing and textile consulting.
Robert has more than 30 years of experience in the fibre, textile and apparel industries. He has an extensive background in strategic planning, fibre marketing, cotton supply chain sustainability, management consulting, and government relations
Besim Ozek, Purchasing & Logistics Director, Bossa
Besim Özek is the Strategy and Business Development Director at Bossa, one of the largest denim producers in Turkey and an active supporter of Sustainable Textile Production and Better Cotton.
Ozek is a Board Member of various organisations including the Turkish Exporters Assembly (ITHIB), Turkish Cotton Textile Manufacturer’s Union and Turkish National Cotton Council and is also an active member of The Union of Chambers and Commodity of the Turkish Textile Industry Assembly.
Patrick Mallet, Director, Innovations, ISEAL
Patrick Mallet is Director of Innovations at ISEAL Alliance, the global network for sustainability standards.
Patrick founded ISEAL and served as its first Executive Director until 2005. He is responsible for ISEAL’s Codes of Good Practice that support effective standards and certification, and for ISEAL’s learning communities to encourage standards systems to improve their practices. Through ISEAL’s Innovations Programme, Patrick is helping to define what effective sustainability standards will look like in the future. He lives in British Columbia, Canada.
Binay Kumar Choudhury, Chief Technical Advisor, Control Union
Binay Kumar Choudhury is the Chief Technical Advisor – Certification and General manager at Control Union.
He started his career as Technical Manager & Head for Regional Centre Food Research and Analytical Centre, Bangalore and his journey of success initiated with focus towards research on feed additives with US based multinational organization as senior research fellow.
He joined Control Union as an auditor in cotton and textile certification and in his present capacity focuses on certification of various fibers and testing of related parameters to traceability and integrity testing.
Leon Picon, Cotton Purchasing Director, Orta Anadolu
Leon Picon is the Cotton Purchasing Director at Orta Anadolu, a major denim manufacturer based in Turkey and Bahrain which produces over 60 million meters of material a year. In addition to this, Picon is also the founder and current chairman of IPUD (Good Cotton Practices Association-Turkey), a strategic partner of BCI responsible for Better Cotton implementations in Turkey.
Picon has been representing suppliers and manufacturers on the BCI council since 2011. He also serves on the boards of ICA (International Cotton Association) and the National Cotton Council of Turkey.
Graham Burden, Principle, Sustainable Textile Solutions Ltd
Graham Burden is the Principle at the Sustainable Textiles Solution. He has over 40 years experience as a technologist in the textile and clothing industry having worked at Marks and Spencer for 35 years, and since retiring in 2008, as a consultant in Sustainable Raw materials particularly cotton.
Graham is a technical and commercial expert in cotton use from fibre through to retail engaging with all aspects of the entire value chain globally. For a number of years Graham represented Marks and Spencer on the board of what is now Textile Exchange.
Through his engagement with the total value chain over the years and his practical/technical knowledge of production, Graham has helped create realistic and viable supply chains to deliver more sustainable cotton products for the mass market.
Dr. Alexander Ellebrecht, Prokurist, ChainPoint
Dr. Alexander Ellebrecht manages ChainPoint Germany. He has extensive experience in sustainability, quality management and traceability along food and textile supply chains. Alexander’s expertise covers developing innovative business solutions in multiple global supply chain and sourcing networks. He has worked as an expert for governmental projects that envision to establish better sourcing strategies up to farm level, in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Alexander holds a PhD in agriculture and is a Guest Lecturer at the University of Bonn on the topic of precision farming.
Marco Bänninger, Head Trader Hand Picked Cotton, Paul Reinhart AG
Marco Banninger is the Head Trader Handpicked Cotton at Paul Reinhart AG. He has been working in the cotton industry and for Reinhart for more than 20 years.
He frequently travels to the production areas to follow up on business. He is a firm believer that this helps in understanding the requirements and needs for leading the sustainable activities of the company.
Andreas Dorner, Commercial Director for Europe and Americas, Lenzing Fibers
Andreas Dorner is the Commercial Director for Europe and Americas at Lenzing. Prior to this, he has held several other positions at Lenzing including Global Marketing Director and Global Director of Business Development. Previously he was employed by Kufner Textiles and Schneiders Bekleidung.
In 2012 Dorner earned his MBA in International Strategic Management.
Fernando Rati, Sustainability and Data Manager, ABRAPA (ABR)
Fernando Rati is from Brazil. An Agronomist and Economist, with master degree in Agricultural Economy (from Federal University of Lavras/Brazil) and specialization in International Business from Nortern Michigan University. He worked as a consultant for seven years in corn, soy, coffee and cotton production. Today, Fernando is the Sustainability, Traceability and Data Manager of ABRAPA – Brazilian Cotton Growers Association.
Hilde van Duijn, Executive Director, Organic Cotton Accelerator
Hilde van Duijn acts as a catalyst for change in commodity sectors at large, and in the organic cotton sector in particular. She currently does so as the executive director of the Organic Cotton Accelerator, an independent foundation and multi-stakeholder initiative fostering industry-wide collaboration to create a prosperous cotton sector that benefits everyone, from farmer to consumer. OCA’s interventions include a seed breeding program to ensure availability of high quality organic cotton seed and sourcing pilots to create the right levers for change throughout supply chain. Besides, OCA took the initiative to lead the sector towards a shared vision, enabling all sector stakeholders to play their role while pushing the sector as a whole onwards and upwards.
Subindu Garkhel, Cotton Product Manager, Fairtrade Foundation
Subindu Garkhel has hands on commercial experience of working at different stages in the clothing industry in India, Bangladesh and the UK. With a Masters in Social development from the top International Development University, she brings in a perspective and sensibility of the challenges and realities of both worlds. She is passionate about participatory and inclusive approach to development. This is aligned with the principles of Fairtrade, where she works. She looks after cotton and textiles here. She is an advisory council board member for Textile Exchange.
Olivier Jan, Partner | ERS | Sustainability, Deloitte Conseil
Olivier Jan is a Sustainability Partner of Deloitte. He has more than 20 years of experience in professional services and a double expertise in sustainable development and supply chain management. His experience includes assisting with the development of environmental public policies, helping companies draw up and implement their sustainable development policies, assessing, reengineering or designing companies' supply chain. His methodological expertise include multi-criteria environmental analysis of product life cycle, product eco-design, waste prevention and management, Supply Chain analysis and improvement.
Chamangul Abdusalomova, Agricultural Advisor, Sarob (Tajikistan)
“Chamangul Abdusalomova is an agronomist from Tajikistan with thirty years’ experience in the sector. She has been an agricultural advisor with Sarob, a BCI Implementing Partner in Tajikistan, since 2013, supporting field facilitators in delivering training and advice to farmers. With previous roles focusing largely on improving agronomic practices, due to her role at BCI she now advises on both environmental and social issues.”
Divyang Waghela, CEO, Coastal Salinity Prevention Cell (CSPC)
Mr. Divyang Waghela anchors drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) portfolio namely Tata Water Mission (TWM) of the Tata Trusts. He also acts as a CEO of the Coastal Salinity Prevention Cell, Ahmedabad, which works to evolve sustainable approaches for salinity ingress prevention and mitigation and enhance livelihood resilience of coastal communities.
After working with the Asian Development Bank on project finance and project management for bulk water transmission in Gujarat; Mr. Waghela made a transition to the non-profit sector in 2004 and got involved in implementation of community-based decentralized drinking water and sanitation projects.
Mustafa Bülbül, Producer Unit Manager, Turkey
Mustafa Bülbül was born in Nizip, Gaziantep. He has three brothers and three sisters. Mustafa studied Agricultural Engineering, as his family's main business is agriculture. His family has owned a ginnery in Şanlıurfa since.
2003 and he is responsible for all agriculture activities on 600 ha of land (including 400 ha of cotton) in Şanlıurfa. Mustafa is also a Better Cotton farmer with 32 ha, as well as being the Producer Unit Manager for 547 ha of Better Cotton production since 2016. Mustafa is married and has two daughters.
Zhang Biao, Producer Unit Manager, Yuli Zhang Wong (China)
Zhang Biao is the third generation of a cotton family in Xinjiang. His family has been running a ginning factory since from 1998 and established the Yuli Zhong Wang Cotton Cooperatives in 2015. Zhao Biao is the PU manager of Better Cotton project in Zhong Wang Cotton Cooperatives. He graduated from Nanjing Forestry University in 2012 with a bachelor degree of Engineering in Traffic and Transportation. In his spare time, Zhao Biao loves singing and held his personal solo concert in the University. He is also a basketball lover.
Alison Ward, CEO, CottonConnect
Alison Ward is the CEO of CottonConnect, where she leads a team of 45 employees and over 700 implementing associates in India, Pakistan, China and Peru, impacting the lives of a million farming families.
Alison has over 20 years of international experience in sustainability and corporate affairs, shaping system change and translating social impact programmes into commercial value within the FMCG, food and apparel sectors. With a mission to drive scalable change, Alison serves as an Advisory Board Member at Textile Exchange and on Forum for the Future’s Working Group, Cotton 2040. She also sat on the Sustainability Advisory Committee for the London Olympic Games and has been a Coach and Mentor to commercial teams at WWF and the Ethical Trade Initiative.
- Liesl Truscott, European & Materials Strategy Director, Textile Exchange
- Carl Peltzer, Director Cargill Cotton UK, Cargill
- Jens Soth, Senior Advisor Value Chains / Sustainable Commodities, Helvetas
- Simon Platts, Sourcing Director, ASOS.com
- Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary, Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
- Bill Ballenden, Head of EBS Cotton Platform, Louis Dreyfus Company Suisse S.A.
- Johnathan Spenser, Israel Cotton Production and Marketing Board (ICB)