Patel Cotton Industries (PCI) and Welspun, India

OUR GINNER AND SPINNER PAIR
(download a pdf of this interview here)

PCI pic

Mr Jayesh Patel , Patel Cotton Industries (PCI).
The PCI team have a legacy of 60 years of experience in the Sustainable Textile Industry. Jointly, Patel Cotton Industries (one of the largest ginners in Gujarat India), Omax Cotspin (a newly established state of the art spinning unit) and STAC Pvt Ltd (a sustainable farming and trading company), are working together to support producers in the farming and marketing of their cotton grown to different sustainable standards. We export globally and have recognition of brands such as H&M, IKEA and Tesco.

Welspun picMarazban F Velati, Welspun, India. 
The Welspun Group is one of India’s fastest growing conglomerates and a fully integrated player within the Pipes, Plates & Coils and Home Textiles sectors. Welspun is the largest integrated towel manufacturer in Asia and a leading supplier to 14 of the top 30 US retailers. Our manufacturing base sits within our core facility in Anjar, Gujarat. We have other units in different parts of India and a plant in the USA and Saudi Arabia. Welspun has a highly developed CSR programme which focuses on the three ‘E’s – Education, Empowerment & Health and Environment. With an aim to give back to society, we have driven a campaign to empower the underprivileged and are establishing a sustainable business model that takes care of the environment. The social activities aren’t just limited to high profile projects, every Welspun employee is encouraged to contribute to the community in any way they can.

WHY BETTER COTTON?

JP: BCI is giving us an opportunity to work with farmers and improve numerous aspects of cotton farming.
MFV: Better Cotton supports social and economic aspects of farming by increasing farmers’ yields through environmental sustainability initiatives. As our focus is on three ‘E’s; Education, Empowerment & Health and Environment, BCI fits our focus. We believe that BCI are doing a great job in educating farmers on various aspects of sustainability.

HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN PARTNER?

JP: Since we have been in the business of ginning we have been in contact with several spinners – one of them is Welspun. When they learnt that we are connected to BCI Farmers, our relationship with them was further cemented.
MFV:Patel Cotton had been supplying conventional cotton to us for a while, and once we knew that they were linked to BCI Famers, this made them our preferred choice for supply.

 

DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY CHALLENGES IN SUPPLYING OR PURCHASING BETTER COTTON?

JP: As we are located close to Better Cotton farms, the procedure has been easy for us. Once picked, and when the farmer is ready to sell the cotton, our field representatives in the local area are contacted and the price is agreed based on the prevailing market price and quality. Farmers are paid immediately after the cotton is delivered.
MFV:We procure Better Cotton from ginners who are registered in BCI’s traceability system. The system of mass balances has helped us as we don’t need to keep inventories and further yarn sales can be made from our existing stocks.

WHY SHOULD OTHER SUPPLY CHAIN ACTORS BECOME BCI MEMBERS?

JP: BCI membership gives you exposure to the supply chain. Members can gather information about different developmental aspects of business. It is a platform to share experiences which support us to grow in a sustainable way.
MFV:BCI gives us visibility in to the supply chain, and also gives us an edge in our marketing.

WHAT DIFFERENCES, IF ANY, HAVE BEEN MADE TO YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS AFTER LEARNING ABOUT AND WORKING WITH THE BETTER COTTON STANDARD SYSTEM?

JP: BCI has provided us with a  more focused market and easier access to new customers.
MFV:Our yarn quality has improved a lot – we see significantly reduced foreign fibre contamination in Better Cotton.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE FOR BETTER COTTON?

JP: Better Cotton has no limits. There are a lot of areas and regions that are currently untapped where Better Cotton can grow.
MFV:There could be challenges to face in reaching out to the large numbers of farmers who are currently in remote locations, however, we believe Better Cotton will go a long way in sustainable cotton production – it will definitely have a positive impact on the environment.