Brands pledge sustainable cotton to drive change in the industry


african-cottonMore than a dozen of the world’s biggest clothing and textile companies have signed a pledge to source 100 per cent sustainable cotton by 2025. The pledge was organised by The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit in collaboration with an objective to set a challenging target whereby brands and retailers can drive change in the industry. Participants to the sustainable cotton communiqué are: ASOS, Eileen Fisher, Greenfibres, H&M, IKEA, Kering, Levi Straus, Lindex, M&S, Nike, Sainsbury’s, F&F at Tesco, and Woolworths Holdings. The pledge encourages retailers and brands to work with existing standards including organic, Fairtrade, and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), to certify their sustainable cotton. The companies that pledged their support are at various stages of using sustainable cotton, with some just beginning and others, like Greenfibres, already securing all of their cotton from sustainable sources.

The pledge comes in the wake of the announcement that Marks and Spencer and Target have joined Cotton 2040, a new cross-industry initiative to make sustainable cotton a mainstream commodity. Companies who are looking to source sustainable cotton, this cotton 2040 attended the pledge meeting and are helping to communicate with the companies involved on which frameworks are available to companies.

With an additional 10 companies already looking to sign the pledge it will inspire a lot of companies to join. If sustainable cotton is to become the norm, the amount of sustainable cotton grown and bought needs to increase significantly. But pointed out that much organic cotton struggles to find buyers and is sold into the non-organic cotton supply chain.