More than five hundred delegates from 37 countries descended on Liverpool, UK last week to participate in the International Cotton Association’s (ICA) ‘Moving Forward’ trade event.
Marking the culmination of one of the busiest times in the year for the cotton trade, the two day event, hosted by ICA President, Mr Ray Butler, was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and St George’s Hall on 20/21 October 2011.
Attracting 20 sponsors from the world of cotton, the event provided an ideal opportunity for delegates to network and focus on the international business of cotton with other leading industry professionals.
Speaking after the event Mr Butler said: “I am delighted that so many people travelled to Liverpool to participate in this year’s event. This clearly demonstrates that Liverpool, as the home of the ICA, retains a deep attraction as a venue and it will figure in the consideration of where future events are to be held. The presentations made were well received and attracted thought provoking question and answer periods, so our speakers deserve a special mention for taking the time and trouble to prepare for and participate in our sessions. I would also like to offer my heartfelt thanks to our event sponsors.”
Over the course of the two days, six high profile industry speakers took to the stage to deliver a range of presentations that were based on the ‘moving forward’ event theme, with particular emphasis on sustainability.
The first presentation, ‘Sustainability – A Merchant’s View’, was delivered by Ecom Cotton Group’s CEO, Mr Antonio Esteve. Lise Melvin, Executive Director of the Better Cotton Initiative outlined the factors that led to its creation and its plans for moving forward. Leon Picon, Cotton Purchasing Manager for Orta Andalou TAS, gave delegates an insight into sustainability from a mill’s viewpoint. Mark Sumner, Sustainable Raw Materials Specialist at Marks & Spencer took to the stage to focus on sustainability from a retailer’s view. In between the presentations on sustainability an in-depth look was taken at the future of the Chinese cotton industry by Madam Gao Fang, Executive Vice President and Secretary General of the China Cotton Association and Madam Zhang Fangchun, General Manager -International Trading Department, CNCGC. The event also played host, for the first time, to the ICA Annual General Meeting, enabling more members to attend and participate.
In addition to the presentations, delegates had plenty of opportunity to network and do business with two networking lunch sessions, a cocktail reception and a closing gala dinner, held in the magnificent surroundings of St George’s Hall. During dinner, the official handover of the ICA presidential badge was passed from Mr Ray Butler to Mr Antonio Esteve, who now takes up his year in office.
Mr Butler concludes: “Being able to report on my year in office to such a huge audience during dinner, in the surroundings of Liverpool’s magnificent St. George’s Hall, is a memory that will stay with me. The occasion was just right to hand over the presidency to my successor. We also used the occasion to help raise funds for a local children’s charity – Claire House – a concept that will be retained in future. Cotton companies and delegates showed their support and raised a total of £11,431.78. Taking into consideration the costsof the prizes, this leaves £9,606.78 donated directly to the charity. Sincere thanks to all those who contributed so generously.”
Adding to Mr Butler’s thanks, Claire House Area Manager, Helen Carlson said: “On behalf of Claire House I would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to ICA for choosing Claire House to partner with them for this fantastic event. To raise such an enormous amount of money from an international event really does show the global support people have for children with life shortening illnesses. I hope every single donor understands just how much of a difference they have made. Thank you”.