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WHY SOURCE
SUSTAINABLE COTTON?

How can my organisation benefit from sourcing (more) sustainable cotton?

In addition to the environmental and social benefits of sourcing sustainably grown cotton, there are strong business benefits for companies that either shift entirely to sustainable cotton or significantly increase the amount they buy. These are summarised below.

We also share some success stories from companies that have benefitted from using sustainably grown cotton on the Learning from Others page, or through the links below

BUSINESS BENEFITS

To read case studies of how real businesses have benefited from improved sustainable practices:

Build brand positioning for responsibility

Wins:

  • Build customer loyalty
  • Differentiate your brand
  • Gain investor approval
  • Attract and retain talent

Minimise reputational risk

Wins:

  • Avoid cost of supply chain scandals
  • Answer your critics
  • Score well in sustainability rankings of raw materials

Demonstrate positive impact

Wins:

  • Share tangible results with customers and other stakeholders
  • Meet and go beyond legal requirements and voluntary commitments

Keep pace with competitors

Wins:

  • Build / maintain trust with customers
  • Be part of a wider movement
  • Avoid negative comparisons with more sustainable brands

Maintain and build investor interest

Wins:

  • Increase investment
  • Reduce costs
  • Mitigate risk

Increase transparency

Wins:

  • Building trust in your product
  • Enable accountability to stakeholders

Create long-term resilience and security of supply

Wins:

  • Build resilience and reduce risk

Demonstrate commitment to systemic sustainability

Wins:

  • Lay the foundations for more ambitious systems change
  • Play a proactive role in a wider movement

BENEFITS TO FARMERS

All sustainable standards benefit farmers in several ways; these vary depending on the standard and where the cotton is grown, and how the standard is implemented.

Reduction of inputs

Wins:

  • Improve farmers’ and workers’ health
  • Improve health of local ecosystem, particularly water systems
  • Reduce costs of inputs
  • Build capacity for sustainable farming techniques

Resilience in changing conditions

Wins:

  • Training that enhances resilience
  • Increase fertility of the land in the long term
  • Benefit future generations of farmers

Cotton premiums improve livelihoods and communities

Wins:

  • Many cotton standards create premium opportunity for farmers
  • Ripple effect of increased farmer income felt in local community
  • Support gender equality – improving opportunities for women in farming communities
  • Prevent the use of child and forced labour

Training opportunities

Wins:

  • Educate and skill up smallholder cotton farmers
  • Build capacity for long-term sustainable farming

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