Organic textiles: big brands commit to sustainable cotton
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Thirteen of the world's biggest clothing and textile brands have today committed to using 100% sustainable cotton by 2025. Major fashion and sports brands ASOS, H&M, Nike and Levi Strauss & Co. and Swedish furniture and household goods retailer IKEA are among some of the companies that have signed up to the Sustainable Cotton Communique at a high-level meeting attended by HRH The Prince of Wales and organised by The Prince's International Sustainability Unit (ISU). Together, these companies use more than 300,000 tonnes of cotton every year. Over 3 million tonnes of more sustainable forms of cotton were produced in 2016, yet companies actively source less than a fifth of this.
Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said: “The Soil Association warmly welcomes the commitment of these companies to move to 100% sourcing of sustainable cotton by 2025. This is a significant moment and a demanding commitment to achieve existing standards – organic, Fairtrade, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton Made in Africa and certified recycled cotton."
“While each of these standards delivers different outcomes, together they form a strong foundation for improving cotton’s social and environmental sustainability across the industry. Many of the companies supporting the initiative have a considerable way to go, while others have already achieved the commitment. Blazing the sustainable cotton trail is Greenfibres, which has produced 100% organic cotton products for two decades.
Around 100 million rural families directly depend on cotton production
“Switching to organic cotton supports a way of farming that directly benefits both the local and global environment. Organic cotton farming has been proven to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use and virtually eliminates the use of pesticides. Organic cotton farmers grow a variety of crops to minimise pests and diseases and to maintain healthy soils, which means farmers have the additional benefit of a more secure livelihood, and secure access to food. The FAO estimates that nearly 100 million rural families directly depend on cotton production, and a move to producing sustainable cotton will help change the lives of these families for the better.”