"CmiA helped us to improve the business"
Taslimul Hoque on the purity of African cotton, smart customer acquisition and the influence of consumers
Mr. Hoque, you work at Square Textile Ltd., a vertically integrated textile manufacturer based in Bangladesh. What does that mean and what do you do specifically?
Square is a vertically integrated textile producer based in Bangladesh. We cover several stages of value creation from yarns to ready garments. I work here as General Manager and am responsible for procurement, production, marketing and logistics.
You have been a CmiA registered partner since 2009. What motivated you to become a partner?
After learning about the program, we immediately decided to trade CmiA cotton. Our decision was based on two major benefits: By using CmiA-certified cotton, we can reliably source sustainable cotton from Africa, thereby diversifying our raw material sources. The CmiA program also helped us to reduce quality and delivery risks. As a result, we were able to increase the use of African cotton at a much faster pace. However, it is also important for us to gain access to a number of new customers who purchase our CmiA-labeled yarns. In a nutshell, CmiA helped us grow and improve our business.
You were awarded the CmiA Best Practice Award in 2018. What was your biggest achievement?
Our business volume has increased steadily since registering for CmiA. In 2018, our CmiA yarn sales reached an annual turnover of 1.31 million kilograms. And we expect further growth in 2019.
What challenges did you face in implementing CmiA cotton in your production?
Before registering for CmiA, we were used to processing much cleaner cotton. At first, we found some challenges in mitigating the contamination in yarns and fabrics while processing CmiA cotton. We then developed new processes, invested in new machines to solve the problem and improve our capability to process more CmiA cotton.
Hand-picked cotton is often associated with poor quality and complicated processing. Is that correct?
With African cotton, the contamination is relatively high. We find our customers are increasingly becoming sensitive to fiber contamination. So, from cotton harvesting to ginning right through to the final processing stages of textiles, we need to put in more effort to remove contaminants.
You work together with companies and brands worldwide. What changes are you currently seeing in the demand for sustainably produced textiles?
There are three major changes: First, a keen interest from retailers in sustainable raw materials. In addition, a shorter delivery time for shipping garments. And last but not least, retailers and brands are continuously increasing their order volumes for clothing made from sustainable cotton.
What are the biggest changes facing the textile industry?
The changing preferences of consumers have a major impact on us all across the textile value chain. Greater attention to what has been produced changes the market by accelerating the implementation of sustainable processes and increasing the demand for sustainable raw materials.