Mr. green cotton - the legendary founder of a myth in modern organic cotton........ leif nørgaard
Leif Nørgaard was an exceptionally inspiring and engaged man yet with both feet planted solid in the earth - in Denmark - in Jutland - way over at the west far from Copenhagen in an area some would call remote and rural yet an area where a lot of very entrepreneurial people come from - companies like LEGO, Bang & Olufsen, Velux and numerous textile businesses such as In Wear, Matinique, Bestseller etc. all come from this region in Denmark.
GREEN COTTON as a brand was founded 30 years ago this year - 2016. In 1986 NOVOTEX started manufacturing what they called "The revolutionary GREEN COTTON" and yes it was in many ways "revolutionary" - at least is was one of the first major attempts to launch a much more environmentally friendly cotton - later also BASED ENTIRELY ON organic cotton.
NOVOTEX and Leif Nørgaard were real pioneers - I met them in 1987 as far as I remember and the idea for the O2goesWILD collection and show popped up as a way to spread the positive message even more. We in O2 thought it was about time that designers started to look more into eco possibilities when it comes to choosing materials and also designs (you can read a bit about the design concepts of the O2goesWILD collection by clicking here). We were a lot of people involved in developing this "test collection" and also a lot involved in the show and the conference and you can read and see more from this at these pages. Click here to go back.
What you see below is a little film partly in english - partly in danish - a small tribute to a man whom I knew and admired since he really did what he thought was needed - and he probably also died from that. Leif Nørgård was not only a pioneer in developing GREEN COTTON - he was also a big hedonist... he loved the good things in life - and maybe thats why he departed too early. Leif lived life to the fullest - and at the same time was a visionary and pragmatic man who knew how to operate in new and unknown territories, because that is what GREEN COTTON was.
I will never forget when Leif told me about the organic cotton fields that NOVOTEX had bought in turkey - or rather bought the rights to the crops from the land for the next 20 years - Leif and many others had forgotten that in order to grow organic you need to crop rotate. So after two years with organic cotton the farmers told Leif and his team that now they had to sell tomatoes - that was what they were going to grow in the crop rotation. And I remember chatting with Leif about the possibilities to use tomatoes in modern garment production - slightly complicated.... yes we all have to learn.
So this is all history and walking down "memory-lane" - but its showing that its possible to make in this case business sense of ORGANIC COTTON - and that is why I have done these pages and why I want to salute NOVOTEX and in particular LEIF NØRGAARD - but of course also the rest of the gang - the people who were with Leif at that time and whom some of them are still there - like Torben Faurholt, Maria Ruston, Inge Dam and Lasse Simonsen - and not the least Leifs daughter Sanne Nørgård.
Leif departed this world in 2002 - it could be cool if he could come back, but I doubt he can... he is probably having a ball wherever he is...and he is hopefully doing it super eco. See him here when he was still on this planet doing great work.
Today NOVOTEX is still thriving and doing great good & goods for companies that wants to do something better when it comes to cotton. The company is still run by danes - Torben Faurholt who was with from the very beginning with Leif, Torben is now part owner and director of sales and marketing - Lasse Simonsen who started as environmental manager and now is the CEO of Novotex - and lastly Sanne Nørgaard who is the daughter of Leif and who now owns a part of Novotex as well as running 3 separate brands in children clothing.
The cotton is grown, spun and dyed in Turkey - then sent to Ukraine where 400 men and women are making GREEN COTTON products for a whole range of other brands for all over the world. You can read more about NOVOTEX and who they are today by clicking here.
Below the video dedicated to Leif Nørgaard. As a matter of fact there are two, but the first is solely a condensed 5 min version of the second which last 20 min. - so if you just want to get a brief idea of the Mr. GREEN COTTON then see the first - if you want a bit more then see the second. Both films (as all other here on this site are edited by me - so bare with me if there are small editorial mistakes).
Niels Peter Flint
Leif Nørgaard trailer - or a short version of the film below (full version 20 min.) this short version with english subtitles.
The green cotton founders team..... TODAY 2016
I think its amazing that a company has kept it´s original spirit and still is trying hard to improve in anything they do. The people in GREEN COTTON GROUP does a lot of work still to make change for the better in the textile industry and they are seriously inspired by the man who started it all - they are all influenced by Leif Nørgaard - he is somehow still there with them as you can see in these small videos.
So I thought it would be fun to have a few small stories about Leif and GC from the people who know him the best - his old team-players - so these videos are a kind of celebration of Leif (from all of us) as being not only the founder of GREEN COTTON but also an extraordinary visionary business man, whom I as well as his team-players also admired a lot.
inge dam - key account manager at green cotton group
The first video is Key Account Manager Inge Dam, who is the person that has know Leif the longest.
torben faurholt - sales manager at green cotton group
The second video is with Sales Manager Torben Faurholt who was the person selling out "in the field". Torben has travelled and still does - the world to sell GC products.
lasse simonsen - ceo at green cotton group
The last little video is with CEO Lasse Simonsen. Lasse started as environmental manager at Novotex 30 years ago - he is now the CEO - hear a bit about his and the story of GREEN COTTON.
Below you find the orginal introduction made by Leif - or by Inge - Im not sure... ;-) for the O2goesWILD conference and event in 1989.