VICUNHA TEXTIL recycles more than 5,000 tons of cotton per year and generates zero landfill. 100,000 tons of cotton are consumed every year in five plants located in Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina. What makes VICUNHA really stand out is that virtually all of that is “Brazilian Responsible Cotton”. Thomas Dislich, Managing Director VICUNHA TEXTIL for Europe and Asia, gives a closer look of using BCI cotton and shows how VICUNHA sets worldwide standards in terms of sustainability.
What types of cotton does your company mostly employ? Why?
VICUNHA is one of the largest cotton consumers in the world. 100,000 tons of cotton are consumed every year in five plants located in Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina. What makes VICUNHA stand out is that virtually all of those are “Brazilian Responsible Cotton”.
What characteristics are you “asking” cotton in order to produce high-quality, long lasting and beautiful denim?
As we produce 600,000 meters every single day, we can leave nothing to chance. Zero tolerance: every ounce of cotton must absolutely be first quality. We must be totally in control of cotton type, fiber length, resistance, evenness and color so that day after day our fabrics come out looking the same.
Organic cotton, BCI cotton, recycled cotton, e3 cotton, etc.. What cotton types are most sustainable, environmentally friendly and right for producing good quality denim according to your experience?
Organic cotton is far too small and technically uneven. Furthermore it is not efficient in terms of water consumption and yield per hectare. We believe that water and land are precious, so BCI – Better Cotton Initiative offers the most honest answer to the real-world denim. Our “Brazilian Responsible Cotton” is BCI-approved. No other textile mill gets anywhere near in terms of BCI consumption. 100’000 tons represent about 5% of the total BCI cotton planted worldwide (2014). We work very closely with BCI and can offer fast and reliable service in providing certificates to our clients. We credit BCCUs (Better Cotton Claim Units) directly onto our partners’ BCI accounts.
The questions leave out two very important aspect of our operation:
a) VICUNHA recycles more than 5,000 tons of cotton per year. This is done entirely inhouse and for our own consumption, so here again we strictly control the content and quality of what we recycle. No surprises if you buy VICUNHA. Our recycling operation is certified by GRS (Global Recycling System). The residues that remain after recycling are pressed into bricks that are used for isolation in buildings or transformed into biomass for cattle feed. So we have zero landfill from the 100’000 tons of cotton that we use every year.
b) In order to be sustainable one needs to be well-organized. The main principles guiding our systems are that we are fully vertical from spinning to finishing, and that we have absolute control on trace-ability. From the barcode on our fabric rolls we can take the client all the way through our production, machine by machine, until we virtually reach the square
meter where the cotton was grown.