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Mark J. Heiman
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Michael, Thanks very much for your interesting and informative postings. I am the owner of a start-up company with it's mission and values based on strong CSR principles and a large reinvestment of our profits going to sustainable development initiatives. I have been in the textile and apparel industry for many years and I must say that starting a business based on the above values is certainly quite a journey. I have run several trials by purchasing fiber from the Chinese "patent holder" and doing the spinning through end product in SE Asia and Central America. I love the end product, the feel and performance and the claims that have been made.This is where my journey has taken a detour.In July, prior to developing copy for our e-commerce site, I requested the fiber supplier to send me copies of all certifications and test results for each and every claim that they and every other bamboo fiber supplier makes.As mentioned in your article, the ISO certifications are an outline and I have asked for the status and ongoing improvement plans and progress. Organic certifications had expired (information can be found on the OCIA site)and lots of hemming and hawwing on the anti-microbial tests, UVC claims, moisture transport etc., etc. It is our policy that we will only make claims based on factual and scientific evidence from globally accepted 3rd party organizations, i.e. ASTM, AATCC test methods performed by certified testing bodies. As you know, there are many claims that have been made for bamboo and many that are not supported in the manner described above. There are also a multitude of Chinese companies that claim the patent rights to the bamboo viscose process. I explained the importance of having the supporting documentation not only for us, but also for the sustainability of their business.When the FTC made their rulings last month, I sent this information to China, more or less saying "I told you so", and asking what they will do to honestly and responsibly represent their product. We are now in the process of pushing very hard to convince them of the importantance of being authentic, transparent, and brutally honest. At the same time, we are doing our own independent testing through a 3rd party as described above and will make our claims based on the actual results and post the test results on our website (and even make it so they can be read and verified!) This is the continuing journey. I have read Adrien's comments and I agree with much he has said. The bottom line is that we must question everything, quantify and qualify everything, and be transparent in all that we do...if we are not personally responsible in our behavior and don't require that same behavior from others, it will be difficult at best to achive what I personally want to achieve, that of Repairing the World. Keep up the good work Michael!
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2009 on Bamboo Sprouting Green Myths at Organic_Clothing
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