NEW YORK CITY — August 1, 2012 — Cotton Incorporated, the research and promotion company for
cotton, continues its long-term commitment to advancing sustainability through research and
information dissemination. Its most recent benchmarking tools, Cotton’s Life Cycle Inventory (LCI)
and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), were used to help complete two key sustainability indicators: the
Field to Market National Report on Agricultural Sustainability; and the Higg Index developed by the
Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
Last year, Cotton Incorporated completed a two-year data-collection and assessment project
that established an up-to-date and accurate global baseline for cotton’s environmental impact. The
holistic approach resulted in the world’s most comprehensive sustainability data set on cotton,
which is intended to better inform key decision-makers in the global textile supply chain as well
as serve as a guide for future research that will lead to even greater sustainability gains moving
forward. This research is proving to be useful in providing a more accurate characterization of
cotton’s improving footprint in both agricultural production and textile processing.
“Sustainability is not a fixed point, but a continuum of measurable improvement,” explains J.
Berrye Worsham, President and CEO of Cotton Incorporated. “As an organization, Cotton Incorporated
recognizes that sharing information and best practices across the supply chain is the best and most
effective means of making and measuring sustainable gains.” Worsham also stresses the importance of
collaboration: “We are proud to be active members and contributors to the work of such
well-respected groups as Field to Market and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which share our
values of transparency and vision with respect to sustainability.”
Agricultural production data from Cotton’s Life Cycle Inventory was incorporated into a
recent study by Field to Market, the Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. The
organization’s National Report on Agricultural Sustainability revealed that U.S. agriculture (corn,
wheat, soybeans, cotton, rice, and potatoes) demonstrated measurable improvement in sustainability
metrics over the past 30 years. Specifically, the study finds that cotton improved on all measures
of resource efficiency, with decreases in per-pound lint land use (-30%), soil erosion (-68%),
irrigation water applied (-75%), energy use (-36%), and greenhouse gas emissions (-30%).
Output from Cotton’s LCI also helped improve the Materials Sustainability Index module of the
Higg Index, released last week by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. “As with the Field to Market
report, cotton’s ongoing gains are reflected in the Higg Index, which scores cotton as one of the
top fibers from a raw materials point of view,” says Michele Wallace, Associate Director, Product
Integrity for Cotton Incorporated.
Wallace stresses that while all fibers have unique sustainability challenges, the textile
processing phase presents a unified opportunity for improvement. “Textile processing has a major
impact on a finished product’s footprint,” says Wallace. “To address this, Cotton Incorporated
focuses a significant amount of research on alternative processes, technical innovations, and the
dissemination of that information to the industry at large.” Wallace cites the “Great Ideas In
Cotton” conference in Hong Kong this past May as an example of the company’s outreach.
Posted on August 7, 2012
Source: Cotton Incorporated/PRNewswire