Textile Exchange announces the winners of inaugural Ryan Young Climate+ Awards for sustainable textile industry leaders

  • The Ryan Young Climate+ Awards recognize five leaders driving progress towards a lower impact textile industry with organic, recycled and regenerative solutions.
  • Winners include “Climate Leaders” Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed, Prama Bhardwaj of Mantis World, Helene Smits of Recover™ and Margot Lyons of Coyuchi, as well as “Rising Stars” Annabelle Hutter of Säntis Textiles and Landon Nash of Tact & Stone.
  • The annual awards have been established in memory of the late Ryan Young, Textile Exchange’s Chief Operating Officer from 2017 to 2020, and the driving force behind the organization’s Climate+ Strategy.

Global nonprofit Textile Exchange has announced the winners of its inaugural Ryan Young Climate+ Awards for sustainable textile industry leaders, recognizing organic, recycled and regenerative solutions.

The five recipients have been honored for their work in driving progress towards the defining goal of Textile Exchange’s Climate+ Strategy: a 45 percent greenhouse gas reduction in the textile fiber and material production phase by 2030.

“Climate Leader” awards are dedicated to individuals, teams, or departments within an organization displaying an overall commitment to meeting the Climate+ strategy goals. Meanwhile, “Rising Star” awards recognize young leaders with up to three years’ sustainability experience who have already demonstrated impressive initiative and leadership.

The awards were established in memory of the late Ryan Young, Textile Exchange’s Chief Operating Officer from 2017 to 2020. In response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning that countries must halve emissions from textile production by 2030 to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change, Young led the creation of the Climate+ strategy.

La Rhea Pepper, Founder and CEO at Textile Exchange, said: “We are honoring Ryan Young’s pioneering efforts with the creation of these awards. He often used to say, ‘Do we want to be someone who is part of the solution or someone who is part of the continued problem?’ I think he would agree that all of today’s winners want to lead the solutions.”

Helena Young, Ryan Young’s wife, science educator, and climate change activist, said: “Ryan cared deeply about sustainability in the true essence of the word. He wanted everyone to stop, listen, and acknowledge their impact on the world today and on future generations. He encouraged companies to be strategic and ambitious with their goals on reducing carbon emissions. He understood the urgency of the problem and the responsibility of companies to create systemic change. If he were here today, he would be in awe of the creativity, leadership, and dedication of all the distinguished awardees we are honoring.”

Beth Jensen, Climate+ Strategy Director at Textile Exchange, said: “It is exciting to honor several award recipients who are just starting out in their careers alongside others who have been driving impact reduction for many years. The sense of urgency we face as an industry and a global community has never been greater, and it’s only through efforts like these that we will have any chance of evolving the way we do business in our industry toward preserving a livable and abundant way of life for all.”

Ryan Young Climate+ Awards 2021 winners

  • Climate Leader | Rebecca Burgess, Fibershed. Rebecca Burgess is the Executive Director of Fibershed, an organization based near San Francisco, California. Burgess has been recognized by Textile Exchange as a Climate Leader for her work with growers, scientists and textile brands to research, demonstrate, and operationalize “climate-beneficial” cotton and wool. These fibers come from regional and regenerative farming systems that draw carbon from the atmosphere into the soil.
  • Climate Leader | Prama Bhardwaj and team, Mantis World. Mantis World is the first printwear company in Europe to introduce organic cotton to its market. The company has been making casual apparel for babies, kids and adults for over two decades. CEO and Founder Prama Bhardwaj is recognized by Textile Exchange as a Climate Leader for converting all the brands’ cotton to organic six years ahead of schedule, certified to numerous standards. In addition, Ms. Bhardwaj is the chair of the Textile Exchange Pan-Africa Sourcing Working Group.
  • Climate Leader | Margot Lyons and team, Coyuchi. Coyuchi, a California-based manufacturer of home textiles and apparel made solely from organic fibers, is the first Recover™ partner to supply its own materials to be recycled through its “2nd Home Take Back” program. The two teams have been jointly recognized by Textile Exchange as Climate Leaders.
  • Climate Leader | Helene Smits and team, Recover™. Based in Spain, Recover™ focuses on scaling the production and adoption of recycled cotton fiber in the textile industry. It turns discarded fabric into fiber for apparel and home textiles using a high-tech, low impact separation process.
  • Rising Star | Annabelle Hutter, Säntis Textiles. Säntis Textiles offers products made from 100 percent recycled pre-and post-consumer cotton waste. Serving as Global Creative Director while also studying sustainable textiles management, Hutter has been recognized by Textile Exchange as a Rising Star for her close work with leading fashion brands regarding the company’s RCO100 recycled cotton, and her own “Born on Saturday” brand of hand-made 100 percent recycled cotton tote bags and t-shirts, created to educate people in Southeast Asia about circularity in the fashion industry.
  • Rising Star | Landon Nash, Tact & Stone. Tact & Stone is a menswear company making a range of apparel from button-down shirts to pants and blazers. From the start, it has only used certified organic and recycled fibers and materials while pursuing circularity with a take-back program launching by end of this year. Nash, CEO and Founder, is recognized by Textile Exchange as a Rising Star, and wants to prove that consumers do not have to sacrifice quality or style for sustainable products.
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