Textile Exchange Opens European Office in UK, LaRhea Pepper Becomes Global Managing Director

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US-based Textile Exchange is opening a new Textile Exchange Europe office in Bristol, UK. The new office is an example of the kind of organizational growth and expansion directed by David Bennell who is stepping down as the executive director of Textile Exchange May 7, 2011. LaRhea Pepper, founder and former executive director of Organic Exchange, and more recently senior director of Textile Exchange, will become the organization’s managing director. Textile Exchange most recently launched the “Farm Hub” website (http://farmhub.textileexchange.org/), a one-stop-shop for people interested in organic cotton’s commercial benefits and the role it plays in sustainable development.

US-based Textile Exchange today announced the opening of the new Textile Exchange Europe office in Bristol, UK. The new office will enable the organization to work more closely with the Europe-based companies driving much of the growth in the sustainable apparel and home textile marketplace. Textile Exchange Europe will be managed by existing staff and supported by a talented Board chaired by Simon Cooper, founder of CSR Consultancy Ltd. Trustee directors are Abigail Petit, founder of Vericott and the popular Gossypium brand, and Toby Shillito, a director at Business in the Community.    

The new office is an example of the kind of organizational growth and expansion directed by David Bennell who is stepping down as the executive director of Textile Exchange May 7, 2011 (he will remain as senior advisor until July 7). Bennell has been integral to the successful conversion of what was ‘Organic Exchange’ to ‘Textile Exchange,’ supporting the industry needs of a rapidly growing market of other sustainable fibers. In addition to the organic cotton fiber market, manufacturers of apparel and home textiles now have extensive information and an integrated supply chain network to support a full portfolio of fibers to work with as they “green” their product lines.

LaRhea Pepper, founder and former executive director of Organic Exchange, and more recently senior director of Textile Exchange, will become the organization’s managing director. She will be supported by the senior management team of Heidi McCloskey - Senior Director, Communications + Resource Development; Sandra Castaneda - Outreach Director; Liesl Truscott - Farm Engagement Director; and Anne Gillespie - Industry Integrity Director.

“Textile Exchange would like to thank David Bennell for successfully rebranding and repositioning the organization to support the broader sustainable textile industry and for cementing relationships with key partners such as North Carolina State University, CEMATEX/ITMA, Outdoor Retailer, and CottonConnect,” said Eraina Duffy, Chair of the Textile Exchange Board and Senior Materials Researcher - Considered Team at Nike, Inc. “We look forward to continuing the growth and expansion of the Textile Exchange programs under the direction of LaRhea Pepper and the strong senior leadership team.”

Textile Exchange most recently hosted a sold-out sustainable textiles seminar in Izmir, Turkey and launched the “Farm Hub” website (http://farmhub.textileexchange.org/), a one-stop-shop for people interested in organic cotton’s commercial benefits and the role it plays in sustainable development. One of the key features of the Farm Hub, funded by the Dutch development agency ICCO, is the “Find a Producer” interactive web tool enabling organic cotton producers to market their products online while providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to get closer to the grower communities.

Online registration is open for the 2011 Textile Exchange Sustainable Textiles Conference taking place in Barcelona, Spain September 19-20. A record 347 representatives of the global textile value chain from 32 countries around the world attended last year’s event in New York City.

About Textile Exchange (http://www.TextileExchange.org)

Founded in 2002, Textile Exchange (formerly Organic Exchange) facilitates expansion of the global organic cotton and sustainable fiber supply and marketplace by working closely with the entire value chain, from farmers and textile suppliers to retailers and consumers. Textile Exchange has hosted numerous conferences and trainings in supply chain centers around the world, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, The Netherlands, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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Heather Hocker
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