About this guide

Is this guide for you?

Are you a senior manager on a mission? A sustainability professional researching sourcing options? A buyer with targets to hit and suppliers to manage? If so, the answer is ‘yes’. 

This guide will provide you with the practical information and resources to either start sourcing sustainable cotton or increase your volumes. We’re here to help you go further, faster.

Learn more about how the CottonUP guide can help you with the recording of an introductory webinar we hosted recently. In 2019 we are planning to work with the Cotton 2040 partners and other organisations to use the guide to build capacity across the sector, for example through webinars, workshop or events. If you’d like to stay informed about our plans, please register your details via the sign-up fields below.

What is the CottonUP guide?

Cotton is vital for fashion brands and retailers, but it can come at a high social and environmental cost. Sourcing more sustainable cotton is essential to reducing the commodity’s negative impacts and ensuring future supply.

However, researching the most appropriate sourcing approach for your organisation’s sustainability priorities is time and resource intensive.

The CottonUP guide exists to help apparel industry professionals develop and implement sourcing strategies, in particular across multiple standards such as organic, Fairtrade or the Better Cotton Initiative, among others.

The guide shares direct experiences and learning from companies that have already navigated the complex challenges of sourcing more sustainable cotton.

How this guide can positively impact the industry

Deliver a lower-cost sourcing policy

Although producing a sustainable sourcing strategy for a fibre can be expensive and time-consuming, it can help big brands and retailers reach wider sustainability goals. The CottonUP guide provides a comprehensive overview of the information and processes organisations need to deliver and deploy a cotton fibre strategy.

Develop a shared vision

Organisations often have difficulty developing and aligning on a vision and its supporting goals. This can be especially true for the complex and rapidly changing landscape of sustainability. The CottonUP guide addresses this by raising awareness and understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in more sustainable cotton sourcing.

Skill up colleagues

In pursuit of its goals, this guide will also enable capacity building within organisations. We want colleagues to have a shared understanding of the benefits, challenges and options for sourcing sustainable cotton. This equips them to participate in policy setting, support any resulting decisions, and – when necessary – take action.


Cotton 2040

The CottonUP guide was made possible by generous funding from the Laudes Foundation. It was jointly developed by the members of the Cotton 2040 initiative, with input from numerous other industry stakeholders.

Cotton 2040 is a unique cross-industry partnership, bringing together leading international brands and retailers, cotton standards, existing industry initiatives and other stakeholders across the supply chain. The initiative is convened by global sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future.

Cotton 2040 aims to integrate and accelerate action on critical issues to sustainably grown cotton, reducing the system’s negative impacts and ensuring supply for the future.

One priority of Cotton 2040’s work is to increase how much sustainable cotton brands and retailers source, by enabling professionals in the apparel industry to more easily develop and implement sustainable cotton sourcing strategies.

Help us improve this guide

We want this guide to help you on your cotton sourcing journey – whether you’re just starting out or are working towards a 100% sustainable cotton target.

Your feedback is vital. We’d love to know what you think of this guide, and how we can improve it. Which information is particularly valuable? What is missing? Which resources would help you move forward more quickly?

Please take our short survey and help us drive uptake of sustainable cotton sourcing.

By registering your contact details, we can better support you on your sustainability journey. For example, we’ll let you know about events, webinars, resources and case studies we think you’ll find useful.

WordPress Video Lightbox