Cotton LEADS

Partner Profile: Australian fabric manufacturer ensures ethical, safe work standards for employees
May 24, 2022

Cotton LEADS partner shares why they look to the program for information

With a growing demand for sustainably produced cotton, Melbourne fabric manufacturing company Topknit Fabrics Australia looked to the Cotton LEADS(SM) program for information.

Topknit joined Cotton LEADS as a partner about 10 years ago, and owner Ralph Bonadio says knowing what happens in the field is vitally important for his business.

Not only is he committed to sourcing sustainably produced and traceable cotton, but he’s also committed to protecting and upholding his worker’s rights.

Mr Bonadio started working in textiles at the age of 18, and after becoming sole owner of the business in 2010. In 2021, Topknit relocated an entire knitting mill to a newer premises where it was set up specifically to produce fabric in to the future.

Topknit gained its Ethical Clothing Australia certification two years ago which ensures Mr Bonadio’s workers are paid appropriately, receive all legal entitlements and work in safe conditions.

The accreditation maps a business’ Australian supply chain from design to dispatch and encourages companies to view supply chain management as a fundamental part of the business.

“We make sure the fabric we produce goes to businesses that uphold the same working standards as us,” Mr Bonadio said.

Not only is Topknit caring for its staff, but the business is also caring for the environment.

Mr Bonadio says solar panels were installed on the newest building, which helped to reduce the operation’s carbon footprint.

Topknit produces more than 4000 different qualities of fabrics in Melbourne, and supplies to Australian wholesalers.

Joining the Cotton LEADS program allowed Mr Bonadio to ensure the cotton he uses was grown and sourced sustainably along the supply chain.

“I love getting the emails and looking on the Cotton LEADS website to see what the farmers are doing in the field,” Mr Bonadio said.

“Australia grows some of the best cotton in the world. It has a good long staple, and we should be taking advantage of the growing conditions we have.”

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