So, what’s new in cotton? For a fibre that has been around for hundreds of years, sustainability and innovation are two critical elements that distinguish U.S. cotton today and help make it “The Cotton The World Trusts”
The U.S. cotton industry has made great gains in sustainability over the past 35 years and has reported significant declines in land use, soil loss, improvements in water eﬃciency, energy use and greenhouse gas US cotton farmers have one of the highest rates of adoption in the world for precision agriculture, which means they use modern technologies to manage variations of the soil, nutrient requirements, plant stresses and optimize inputs. Basically, they can micromanage their land down to the square foot.
US farmers also operate under the most voluminous, stringent, and enforceable regulations in the world. The United States has a comprehensive system for monitoring and measuring all the key metrics involved in sustainability using USDA data and the Field to Market platform.
But, we do not just aim to meet the current standards of sustainability. The U.S. cotton industry is setting its goals higher and building upon the strong environmental gains already achieved over the past 35 years to further reduce its environmental footprint.
In February 2017, the entire US industry established a Cotton USA Sustainability Task force with the purpose of setting national goals for measurable continual improvements in key areas of environmental stewardship, farm productivity and resource eﬃciency such as land, water, air, input and energy use.
The USA cotton industry is using science-based metrics and benchmarks developed by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture to assess environmental impacts and identify opportunities for improvement.
Field to Market works across the entire agricultural supply chain to define, measure and advance the sustainability of USA crop production.
The US cotton national sustainability goals, as announced last year, aim for the following by 2025:
- 13 percent increase in productivity, i.e. reduced land use per pound of fibre
- 18 percent increase in irrigation eﬃciency
- 39 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
- 15 percent reduction in energy expenditures
- 50 percent reduction in soil loss; and
- 30 percent increase in soil carbon.
To help accomplish these goals, the USA cotton industry recently introduced the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol: an integrated data collection, measurement and verification procedure that will document USA cotton production practices and theirenvironmental impact. The data is intended to benchmark farmers’ gains toward the industry goals and will provide the global textile supply chain additional assurances that U.S. cotton is produced in a responsible manner.
The United States is currently the only country that has set quantifiable goals for sustainability. Cotton USA’s objective is to be the supplier of choice for mills, manufacturers, brands and retailers who are committed to only buy cotton that is produced with sustainable and responsible environmental, safety and labour practices.
As the world’s largest cotton exporting country and the third largest producer, the U.S. cotton industry’s sustainability eﬀorts have the potential to reverberate throughout the global textile supply chain.
It’s not only the cotton that the U.S. industry cares about. The majority of U.S. cotton farmers own the land and live on the land that they farm. This is their home. U.S. cotton is produced by over 18,000 family farmers who operate as small businesses and have farmed the land for decades. U.S. cotton farmers want to leave the land better than they found it.
Cotton USA wants to make a diﬀerence in sustainable agriculture and drive change to make the world a better place for future generations. In setting quantifiable goals for sustainability, Cotton USA is taking a giant step toward a more sustainable future for the U.S. cotton industry.
Innovation is another reason that Cotton USA has become the cotton the world trusts. CCI’s ground breaking ‘WHAT’S NEW IN COTTON’ initiative showcases innovative technologies to inspire brands with new ideas for cotton and cotton blended fabrics, such as U.S. cotton garments that help you feel better faster after a workout, sweat- resistant tees and denim that keeps you cool on hot days. The objective is to inspire everyone in the textile business to think about the many opportunities in U.S. cotton as they relate to innovation in technologies, fabric blends, performance, design and fashion.
‘CCI has teamed up with 12 partners from across the world to present textile innovations that inspire new uses of U.S. cotton. Past innovations have included workout wear that promotes faster recovery times, all-natural odor control towels and bed linens and a new technology to produce a softer cotton.’
Since introducing the WHAT’S NEW IN COTTON initiative last year, CCI has teamed up with 12 partners from across the world to present textile innovations that inspire new uses of U.S. cotton. Past innovations have included workout wear that promotes faster recovery times, all-natural odour control towels and bed linens and a new technology to produce a softer cotton. All these innovations feature U.S. cotton-rich fabrics. WHAT’S NEW IN COTTON, displays showcase diﬀerent ways to use US cotton in apparel that benefit consumer demand, while providing global brands and retailers product opportunities that can drive sales growth. Via WHAT’S NEW IN COTTON, discover high tech natural cotton blends that do everything from reducing workout recovery times to inhibiting bacteria. See the latest research on how mills can be more productive. Cotton USA is committed to showcasing the latest in cotton innovation. It’s part of the premium value Cotton USA oﬀers the entire cotton supply chain.