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Published on Monday, 23 May 2011

M&S to open RITE Group conference

Written by John Mowbray

RITE logoLONDON – Mike Barry, the Head of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer will open this year’s RITE Group annual conference on sustainable textiles which takes place on 12th October at Central Hall, Westminster, London.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘will supply chain transparency end greenwash?’ and will focus on the collection and use of real data to deliver genuine change in the industry and combat green distortion and marketing hype.

Delegates will also hear from speakers such as Baroness Lola Young, Chair of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on ethical and sustainable fashion who will update delegates on this initiative via a video link. Linda Hwang from BSR will talk about how the industry can manage water on a global basis and Bob Buck from DuPont will talk about the responsible use of chemicals from an environmental health and safety perspective.

Other speakers confirmed to date include Rob Drake-Knight Co-Founder of the vibrant, new UK brand Rapanui Clothing. This small eco-Fashion company is based on the Isle of Wight and has sustainability at the core of its business. Delegates will also hear from inks, printing and auxiliaries’ specialist Magna Colours which will explain how it has successfully turned its business model on its head to supply products which meet the stringent environmental demands of leading retailers and brands.

RITE is waiting for confirmation from other industry leaders who will debate progress being made to create widespread supply chain transparency; how metric systems are being utilised to gather actual data and how to avoid pitfalls of ‘greenwash’.

Phil Patterson said, “Despite increasing demands on individuals involved in sustainability and a growing number of organisations extending their remit to cover environmental aspects of textiles, the RITE Group has yet again attracted a mix of leading international companies and inspirational SME’s for the 2011 conference. Supply chain transparency and greenwash are the biggest issues facing textiles and, true our principles, we look forward to a robust debate on whether the textile industry really is doing all it can to reduce its impact on the environment.”

Similar to last year, there will be five breakout sessions led by members of the RITE Group steering committee, these include ‘Sustainable Materials’ led by Dr Richard Blackburn; ‘Legislation, Green Public Procurement’, coordinated by new Steering Group member Dorothy Maxwell; ‘Traceability & Metrics, Energy and Water’ led by Phil Patterson; Population Growth, ‘Raw material selection’ with Simon Ferrigno and ‘Design and small brands’ led by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion.

There will also be an update on the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan which is now overseen by the WRAP not for profit organisation.

To reserve your space at the event, please visit www.ritegroup.org





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