Direct from source – a more traceable and transparent cotton supply chain

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The regenagri podcast explores the future of farming and the main regenerative agriculture topics with leading industry experts. In episode 29, host Rose Riley from Control Union UK was joined by Fabiana Furlan, Scheffer’s Head of Commercial, Finance, and Sustainability, and Alberto Candiani, Candiani Denim’s President. Here are some highlights.

How was the connection between Sheffer and Candiani Denim born?

The episode focused on the unusual connection between two companies from both ends of a textile supply chain which is typically fragmented. Scheffer is a Brazilian farm that grows regenerative cotton and supplies it to Candiani Denim, where we turn it into fabrics. Fabiana Furlan and Alberto Candiani discussed some values we share with Scheffer, such as traceability and transparency, and the solutions offered by regenerative agriculture.

“It is not usual to have this connection from a farmer directly to a spinner. We have connected because of regenerative cotton; we share some values and have the same sustainability approach”, said Fabiana Furlan.

“It all started when I decided to investigate the regenerative world a little deeper, meaning that some years ago, we were trying to develop fabrics with smart or regenerative end-of-life, i.e., recyclable or even biodegradable and compostable fabrics. So, I discovered that even in agriculture, they were trying to adopt regenerative practices, and I decided to use regenerative cotton. I was not surprised Scheffer was working on it; I knew we had sourced cotton from Sheffer in the past, and they have a great reputation, and we surely share values. I reached out to them telling them we had to discuss something because I believed we were ready to implement regenerative cotton in our production line”, explained Alberto Candiani.

“This initiative with Candiani Denim is unique because we make the supply chain shorter. We have understood that special collaboration is needed to bring transparency in the process overall”, underlined Fabiana. “We are going back to the field”, added Alberto.

What is the difference between organic and regenerative?

Organic and regenerative practices are often seen as rivals, but they are actually two completely different approaches that can co-exist.

“Regenerative has recently gained popularity. The regenerative approach is about the soil. Our target is the soil’s health since it is our most valuable asset. Without healthy soil, we do not have good crops, yields, and longevity in our business”, stated Fabiana.

“20% of our production is organic. Organic and regenerative do not have to compete, and no approach is better than the other, but one is more scalable and potentially has a better impact when we talk about big scale, and that is regenerative. Regenerative agriculture is the only solution to make a big change in the industry”, underlined Alberto.

Why did Scheffer and Candiani Denim decide to go for the certification against the regenagri standards?

As you can read on its website, “regenagri is a regenerative agriculture initiative aimed at securing the health of the land and the wealth of those who live on it”. Its certification has a 3-year cycle and can be applied to food and non-food commodities, including natural fibers. Companies within the supply chain can also be certified if they use products from regenerative farming.

“I think the regenagri certification has brought a very clear standard and credibility into the global market. It is also contributing to avoiding false claims and bringing more transparency based on data and science”, said Fabiana.

“Credibility is the keyword. The regenagri protocol preserves the integrity of the people committing to it and is about improvement. Improvement means innovation, and when you innovate, you do something better than before. Improvement never ends”, added Alberto.

What does the future look like for the two businesses and for regenerative agriculture as a whole?

Can regenerative agriculture become a widely adopted approach worldwide? It probably can since its specific characteristics allow it to adapt to all different farming situations.

“We need to prioritize the health of the soil to have longevity in our business. Applying regenerative practices for the last seven years has proved it is doable on a large scale. We are confident that focusing on soil is the future, and it has a great potential to change how agriculture is done in the world”, highlighted Fabiana.

“In my opinion, the future is regenerative, especially in the fashion industry”, stated Alberto. 

The entire episode is available on Spotify, Google, and Apple.

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