This section describes the sustainable cotton standards. It also describes a range of programmes and codes which could be helpful in your sustainable sourcing journey.

Listed in alphabetical order

Better Cotton

Better Cotton is the world’s largest sustainability initiative for cotton. Their mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment. They aim to achieve this by embedding sustainable farming practices and policies, enhancing wellbeing and economic development for farming communities, and driving global demand for sustainable cotton.

Better Cotton stewards the Better Cotton Standard System.

The Better Cotton Standard System has six components.

  1. Principles and Criteria: Provides a global definition of Better Cotton.
  2. Capacity Building: Support and training for farmers to enable them to grow Better Cotton.
  3. Assurance Program: Regular farm assessment and measurement of results, emphasising continuous improvement.
  4. Chain of Custody: Connects supply with demand for Better Cotton.
  5. Claims Framework: Guidelines for Members to ensure accurate communications.
  6. Results and Impact: Measures progress to ensure Better Cotton delivers intended impact.

The following sustainable cotton standards and programmes have been benchmarked with the Better Cotton Standard System and recognised as equivalent: myBMP in Australia, Algodão Brasileira Responsável (ABR) in Brazil, CmiA in multiple African countries, Agro-2 in Greece, and ICPSS in Israel.

Better Cotton Membership Process

  1. Attend a “Better Cotton Introduction for Retailers & Brands” webinar. Sign up here.
  2. Calculate your cotton consumption and forecast costs.
  3. Obtain high-level internal alignment and support for the Better Cotton membership.
  4. Submit your application and your cotton consumption details.
  5. Better Cotton carries out its due diligence, approves application and send invoices.
  6. On payment of invoices, you become a member-in-consultation for 12 weeks. You will have full access to all membership benefits during this time.
  7. If no issues arise during member consultation, you are a member of Better Cotton; we will communicate with you in case any issues are raised during consultation*.

*If your membership consultation results in membership being revoked, all fees paid to Better Cotton will be refunded.


Retailers and brands are obliged to be members of Better Cotton to implement the Better Cotton Chain of Custody and communicate about Better Cotton.

To join, retailers and brands must contact Better Cotton at
[email protected]


Better Cotton retailers and brands implement the Better Cotton Chain of Custody.

They are obliged to use the Better Cotton Platform as part of implementing the Better Cotton Chain of Custody.

The data entries on the Better Cotton Platform are subject to audit by Better Cotton.

Product Premium
  1. Better Cotton farmers do not receive a premium.
  2. Prices are set by the market.

Spotlight on Farmers

In just over 10 years, Better Cotton has become the world’s largest cotton sustainability programme and Better Cotton accounts for close to a quarter of global cotton production. Today, Better Cotton and its partners reach more than 2.7 million cotton farmers across 25 counties, delivering training and support on more sustainable farming practices. Better Cotton’s membership has also grown significantly, and it now counts more than 2,300 organisations, spanning the entire cotton supply chain, as its members.

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)

The Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative is the largest standard for sustainable cotton from Africa. Established in 2005, CmiA’s goal is to sustainably improve the working and living conditions of smallholder cotton farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In agricultural and business trainings conducted by agricultural extension staff of CmiA-verified partners, smallholders learn efficient and environmentally friendly cultivation methods. This knowledge allows farmers to comply with CmiA’s set of sustainability criteria. Women receive special support through a variety of measures that reinforce their rights and strengthen their role in society. Making farming communities more sensitive to gender equality and the importance of the child labour ban is fundamental to the CmiA programme.

An international alliance of textile companies and brands is built to create a strong demand network for CmiA cotton. Partners integrate the CmiA verified cotton into their supply chains and pay a licensing fee to use the CmiA seal. The proceeds of the licensing fees finance training, regular verification by third-party auditors at field and gin level, impact assessment and further projects in the Sub-Saharan region. Community cooperation projects, such as support for women clubs or water and sanitation, help tackle other SDG relevant issues.

CmiA membership process

  1. Contact CmiA to determine how and where you want to source CmiA-certified cotton.
  2. With the support of CmiA, choose your appropriate license option.
  3. Decide on one of two models for integrating CmiA into your value chain – mass balance or hard identity preserved.
  4. Sign a license agreement with CmiA.
  5. CmiA offers ongoing support in your supply chain management, as well as external communication and marketing.
  1. Companies pay a minor license fee to CmiA for using sustainable CmiA certified cotton in their supply chains.
  2. The license fees are directly re-invested to foster sustainability in the CmiA project and cotton growing regions.
  3. Companies gain transparency and traceability in their supply chains.
  4. CmiA company partners can communicate on their engagement on product and/or corporate level with the support of CmiA.
  1. The verification system is based on the CmiA matrix of sustainability criteria for cotton companies and their contracted farmers.
  2. Cotton companies provide an annual self-assessment.
  3. Both cotton companies and farmers are regularly audited by independent third-party auditors following a two-tiered verification system that consists of missions at field and ginner level.
  4. Cotton companies issue a comprehensive management and improvement plan for sustainable development.
  5. Upon compliance with the CmiA matrix, cotton companies are issued a certificate and license to sell their cotton as CmiA certified.
Product Premium

No price premium.


As one of Cotton made in Africa’s largest retailer partners, bonprix has integrated the CmiA story into its customer communication at their corporate websites. Bonprix shows their impact and introduces the Cotton made in Africa small-scale farmers and their work on the ground:

Spotlight on Farmers

In choosing CmiA-verified cotton for their production, textile companies worldwide are supporting small-scale farmers and their families.

Two out of the one million farmers CmiA is cooperating with are Sabina and Paul – a cotton farming couple from Tanzania. What helps them a lot on a daily basis are the agricultural trainings CmiA is offering farmers in close cooperation with the local cotton company. Thereby they learn about new and sustainable cultivation methods and techniques that help them improve their yields and income. During their trainings Sabina and Paul also learned about the bio-pesticides: “At the beginning we were wondering if it really works. But now, we are very happy with it. With the help of bio-pesticides we were able to protect our cotton better against pests and thus harvest more cotton at the end of the season than the year before”. Asked about what they wish for their son Johann, they said: “We want our children to learn more than we did. Our wish for our son Johann would be to become a teacher at school.“


By making changes to the conventional trading system, Fairtrade aims to benefit disadvantaged small producers through promoting fairer terms of trade and expanding access to markets. Fairtrade’s goal is to empower small producers and foster sustainable livelihoods.

The Fairtrade system comprises of Fairtrade International, national organisations that license and promote Fairtrade, producer networks, and FLOCERT, an independent certification body, which inspects producers and supply chain actors to ensure compliance with Fairtrade standards.

Fairtrade cotton farmers receive the Fairtrade Minimum Price, which aims to cover the cost of sustainable production acting as a safety net against fluctuating market prices. The Fairtrade Premium is paid on top of the selling price and provides additional income that the farmers’ cooperatives democratically decide to invest. This can be spent on their businesses, families and communities, and is often invested in education and healthcare, farm improvements to increase yield and quality etc. Additional support includes pre-financing, access to credit and long-term contracts.

Fairtrade Standards are designed to protect the natural and human environment, with strict rules on pesticides, water conservation, soil erosion, GMOs, biodiversity, energy use and reducing carbon footprint. Fairtrade encourages organic farming practices and 75% of Fairtrade cotton is certified organic.

Fairtrade’s initial certification process for every step in the supply chain.

  1. Contact Fairtrade in your home country (details here) or at [email protected]
  2. Fairtrade supports and helps you understand about Fairtrade and it’s sourcing models
  3. Fairtrade guides and supports you in choosing the model, supply chain and product suitable for you
  4. Sign a license agreement with Fairtrade.
  5. Fairtrade continues providing sourcing and supply chain support for you and your suppliers.
  6. Fairtrade supports and guides you with on and off pack communication and marketing material.
  1. Certification is mandatory for every producer and company involved the supply chain of a Fairtrade product.
  2. Companies sign an agreement and pay a small license fee to Fairtrade. This certifies use of the Fairtrade mark and traceability of cotton.
  3. The mass balance model is a sliding volume-based fee.
  1. Segregation and physical traceability at every step in the supply chain.
  2. Three-year certification cycle with initial audit in year zero for entire supply chain.
  3. Up to two confirmation audits (focused or unannounced) per cycle.
  4. These depend on compliance with the Fairtrade Standards, Fairtrade Premium amount received/paid and deviations from standard, risks and allegations respectively.
  5. For mass balance model, physical segregation takes place until spinner and volumes are verified through online platform – Fairtrace.
Product Premium
  1. Fairtrade Premium of 0.05 Euros/kg of seed cotton for farmers.
  2. Fairtrade Minimum Price varies and is set for every region.
  3. Fairtrade Minimum Price for organic cotton 20% higher than conventional.
  4. Fairtrade labelled product is 5-12% more expensive for the company. This could be higher for small volumes for SMEs but is much lower with mass balance model.


Spotlight on Farmers

Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company Ltd (COAPCL), India

Established in 2004, Chetna Organic supports more than 15,000 farmers, helping them increase the sustainability and profitability of their farming systems.

Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company Ltd (COAPCL) is a part of Project Chetna, a development initiative aimed at improving the lives of smallholder and marginalised cotton farmers in different rain-fed cotton growing regions in India.

Find out more at


myBMP (Best Management Practices) is the Australian cotton industry’s environmental management standard for growers, ginners and classers. It provides self-assessment mechanisms, practical tools and resources, on-farm extension, technical support and independent third-party auditing to ensure that Australian cotton growers are implementing best practice to produce economically, socially and environmentally sustainable cotton.

myBMP is a whole-farm approach consisting of over 400 standards that growers must meet to achieve full certification, across 10 modules:

  • Biosecurity – the avoidance, management and control of pests and diseases
  • Energy and input efficiency – efficient energy inputs such as electricity, fuel and fertilisers
  • Fibre quality – growing the best quality cotton possible
  • Human resources and work health and safety
  • Integrated pest management
  • Sustainable natural landscapes
  • Pesticide management, storage and handling
  • Petrochemical storage and handling
  • Soil health – maintaining and/or improving soil quality and fertility
  • Water management – quality, efficiency of storage and distribution

In 2022, 636,700 bales of myBMP certified cotton is forecast by Cotton Australia. Over the last eight years there has been a 23% increase in myBMP certified farms.  More than 1.8 million bales of cotton were produced from certified myBMP farms in the 2020-2021 season.

Sourcing process

myBMP cotton has a different membership process to other standards. myBMP/ Australian cotton can be sourced through the supply chain without becoming a member of a specific organisation.

  1. Contact Cotton Australia at [email protected]to enquire about the use of myBMP/Australian cotton
  2. Cotton Australia works with brand/retailer to source and trace myBMP/Australian cotton into the supply chain
  3. Brand may apply to use the Australian Cotton Mark(s) on products
  4. Brand signs license agreement with Cotton Australia

Farm Level Certification

  1. Grower registers on-line at
  2. The myBMP office (run by Cotton Australia) establishes a user account for the grower and provides initial advice and support to get started in the program.
  3. Grower works through the self-assessment for all modules.
  4. Grower is invited to request an audit when all Level 1 and Level 2 checklist items are completed and then selects an auditor from a list of accredited independent auditors.

For more information please visit this website.

My BMP Membership Process


No membership fees.


Certification Audits

  1. Once the risk assessment is completed and a grower is confident that all certification standards are met, growers seeking myBMP certification are independently audited.
  2. Requested audit completed on farm.
  3. The auditor reviews the grower’s assessment and associated documentation and follows the myBMP Audit Procedure and Guidelines when conducting on-farm audits.
  4. The audit report is then written to determine whether the grower has achieved all the myBMP certification standards and should be certified. If granted, the myBMP certification remains in place for five years.

Random Audits
To monitor the effectiveness of the certification process, random surveillance audits are also conducted across certified farms.

Product Premium
  • Australian cotton growers do not receive a premium for participating in the myBMP program
  • Prices are set by the market

Spotlight on Farmers

“Over two years ago our farm became accredited in the Australian Cotton industry’s myBMP programme. We realised that for most of the modules we were already achieving sustainability at a high level, however through the process we were able to improve some of our practices to a greater level. This continuous improvement approach is central to our farming strategy that focuses on improving yield and profitability, maximising water efficiencies, reducing inputs like pesticides and fertilisers and using technology to drive innovation. Most importantly, we want to pass on our farm in better health and we see ourselves as custodians rather than owners of the land.”

Nigel and Beth Burnett
Colorada Cotton
Emerald – Queensland Australia

Definition of Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified according to organic agriculture standards. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, expand biologically diverse agriculture, and prohibit the use of synthetic toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilisers, as well as genetically engineered seed.

Organic Farm Standards

IFOAM – Organics International is the overarching body for organic agriculture and provides information on the ‘family of standards’ for organic farming. Organic standards most commonly associated with organic cotton at farm level include (but are not restricted to) the USDA – National Organic Program (NOP), EU Organic Regulation, and APEDA’s National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) in India.

Organic Chain of Custody and Textile Processing Standards

The Organic Content Standard (OCS) from Textile Exchange and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are voluntary standards that provide chain of custody assurance from farm to the final product, with GOTS also requiring textile processing social and environmental criteria.

Textile Exchange

Textile Exchange collects data on global organic cotton fiber production, convenes an Organic Cotton Round Table, and creates learning tools such as and the Quick Guide to Organic Cotton. Although there is no overarching body for organic cotton, Textile Exchange, along with other organisations, works hard to support the sector.

Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA)

As an accelerator, OCA unites the leading brands and suppliers in organic cotton to address the key challenges facing the sector around integrity, quality, supply and impact. Together, through its shared investment in seed, farmers, traceability and other market-driven interventions, OCA aims to create a viable and scalable organic cotton sector that benefits everyone—from farmer to consumer.

As of 2018, OCA represents the interests of over 70% of the organic cotton sector. Each year, OCA hosts its Organic Cotton Summit, a multi-day meeting for its global affiliates and partners to celebrate our shared investment in the future of organic cotton. If you are interested in membership or to learn more, please email us at [email protected] and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.





Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide

Published in 2019, the Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide provides practical answers to the question of how companies can procure organic cotton. The guide was produced by the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles in cooperation with Helvetas, Organic Cotton Accelerator and C&A Foundation. It provides six steps of how to go organic for brands starting to use organic cotton or those wanting to increase their share of organic cotton.

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Membership process overview

Farm Level Certification

The producer, or on occasion, the buyer of the organic cotton meets the certification costs.

In the USA, for example, farm certification costs approximately US$750 per farm per calendar year.

For smallholder farmers (such as in Africa and India), certification can be at the group level whereby farmers work in ‘producer groups (called an Internal Control System). For more information please visit IFOAM Internal Control Systems for Group Certification.


Third-party audit is required.

Annual and unannounced audits also take place.

Validity of certificate is one year.

Product Differential

Farmers may be paid more for their organically grown products (between 5-20% over conventional commodity prices).

Organic cotton – seed and fibre – differentials vary depending upon quality, geography and arrangements made with buyers.

For more information please see the Kering/Textile Exchange report on Organic Cotton Pricing and Trading.

Textile & Chain of Custody Certification


prAna: Taking the final step in our conversion to 100 percent organic cotton

In 2018, we reached our cotton goal of being 100 percent organic for all of prAna‘s cotton products. Our commitment to replacing all conventional cotton in our products speaks to the continued momentum of the Sustainable Clothing Movement and the drive to lessen our impact on the planet. This achievement was a big moment for us and represented the long journey prAna has been on ever since learning about the impact of insecticides and pesticides, not only the soil, but also on the farmers of conventional cotton. At prAna, we not only consider the best practices in the raw materials we use, but are also committed to hiring sustainable vendors to expand our value that all humans should be treated equally and have access to their basic needs. Therefore, we directly microfinance (See: Why Organic Matters — Sustainable Clothing Movement) an organic cotton farmer co-op in India that allows farmers to purchase cotton seeds and other supplies interest-free each season. This means the organic farmers can avoid high interest rates on bank loans, something which has contributed to one of the highest farmer suicide rates on the planet among conventional farmers.

Spotlight on Farmers

With the organic farming our field has become more fertile; we learned how to organize proper crop rotation. Besides, the income from organic farming is higher in comparison with conventional farming. This year I started working as village bio inspector (VBI). The work is difficult but very interesting. I want to prove that a woman can also work as VBI.

Shamshieva Sonunai, Kyrgyzstan Bio Farmer Coop (Shaidan village, Jalal-Abad County, Kyrgyzstan)

About Recycled Cotton

Recycled Cotton is the most environmentally friendly alternative to conventional cotton. This is because it avoids a number of environmental and social impacts that are inherent with the production of conventional cotton, for example the skipping of the farming and ginning processes. Recycled Cotton also reduces waste going to landfill or incineration.

Cotton can be recycled in two different ways

  1. Mechanical Recycling: Cotton is sorted into colours, then cut and re-spun.
  2. Chemical Recycling: Cotton is pulped, and then re-formed into a viscose like fibre.

Recycled Cotton can be bought from a number of different brands such as Recover, Evrnu, Renewcell, Worn Again and Refibra, and is certified under two main standards: Global Recycle Standard and Recycled Content Standard.

How it works

    • Recycled Cotton fibres come from either pre-consumer or post-consumer waste. Pre-consumer waste is generated from by-products of the textile, cotton and fibre industry. Post-consumer waste consists of cotton and household textiles that would otherwise end up in landfill or be incinerated.
    • Recycled Cotton is often blended with other fibres such as Polyester, Conventional Cotton or other fibres to maintain quality.
    • No pesticides or fertilisers are needed; however residues from these could still be in the products. There is as yet no certified GMO-free recycled cotton on the market.
    • Cotton is segregated from fibre collection through to finished product to enable chain of custody certification and on-product labelling.

Recycled Cotton Standards

There are currently two main independent certifications for recycled cotton both owned by the Textile Exchange:

  • Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
  • Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)

The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) are international, voluntary standards that set requirements for third-party certification of recycled input and chain of custody. The shared goal of the standards is to increase the use of recycled materials. Both certifications track the content of recycled cotton in the garment through the supply chain, however the Global Recycled Standard also looks at additional criteria for social and environmental processing requirements and chemical restrictions after the fibre collection stage.

Membership Process overview


N/A – You do not need to be a member of either body to enable certification of fibres.


The facilities that produce both GRS and RCS need to be certified; however facilities that produce GRS also need to be audited on a yearly basis to confirm compliance with GRS guidelines for example on social and environmental issues.

Product Premium

Recycled products can be more expensive due to the need for segregation of fibres and the certification/audit costs in the supply chain; however this is determined on a quality by quality basis.

Spotlight on Farmers

US Cotton Trust Protocol (USCTP)

US Cotton Trust Protocol sets a new standard for US cotton that brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the issue of sustainable cotton production that drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics. The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies US Cotton’s leading sustainability through sophisticated data collection and independent third party verification. With Trust Protocol cotton, growers are committed to reducing their environmental footprint, including water usage, soil diversity and greenhouse gas emissions. They closely track their sustainability progress against UN goals and use data to help them continuously improve their farming methods and reduce their environmental impact.

The Trust Protocol is aligned with existing sustainability programs including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to sustainable cotton production and drives continuous improvement in six key sustainability metrics – land use, soil carbon, water management, soil loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency. The Trust Protocol is designed from the ground up to address the unique regulatory and larger farm growing environment of the United States.

USCTP membership process


Membership fees and consumption fees apply to brands.
Membership fees apply to mills and manufacturers.
Farmers participate free of charge.


Self-Assessment/2nd Party Audits

  1. Growers complete annual self-assessment
  2. Aggregators/Traders provide 2nd party assurance as the cotton enters the market


  1. Control Union provides 3rd party assurance audit process and issues compliance certification to growers on an annual and statistically representative basis.
  2. Control Union assures the aggregated programme data outputs for use by brands
Product Premium

Prices are set by the market, there is no fibre premium built in.

Spotlight on Farmers


The Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (ABRAPA) has been an Implementing Partner of the Better Cotton Initiative since 2010, acting with the Responsible Brazilian Cotton Program – ABR.

ABR seeks to:

  • Promote the progressive evolution of good social, environmental and economic practices in order to build a good image for Brazilian cotton and gain space in the growing responsible cotton market.
  • Continuously improve the sustainable management of production units as they raise the level of compliance with sustainability criteria and the ABR program.
  • Raise awareness of sustainability issues among its members, placing the sector in line with the issues that guide governments, other organisations and society.

The ABR program is sustained by three pillars: social, environmental, and economic.

ABR Membership process

See the BCI membership process for information about corporate membership

Diagnostic and certification criteria

The Verification for Property Certification (VDP) lists the necessary requirements for the conformity assessment of the production unit. It is divided into eight criteria: (1) work contract; (2) prohibition of child labour; (3) prohibition of work analogous to slavery or in degrading or unworthy conditions; (4) freedom of association; (5) prohibition of discrimination against persons; (6) safety, occupational health and the work environment; (7) environmental performance; (8) good agricultural practice.


ABRAPA’s Quality Program for Brazilian Cotton:

Spotlight on Farmers

Carlos grows cotton on three properties, and all have been licensed by BCI and certified by ABR since the beginning of the programme in 2013. The properties have met the continuously evolving economic, environmental and social requirements of the programme. For the 2016/17 crop, Carlos Moresco applied 25% fewer pesticides to control cotton boll weevil than in the 2015/16 season. Several other achievements were possible thanks to the combination of technical knowledge, software for monitoring and operational efficiency. Carlos is learning more about sustainable practices each day, thanks to the continuous improvements of the Brazilian Cotton Responsible program, the Better Cotton Initiative and the experience of other Brazilian cotton growers.

REEL (Responsible Environment Enhanced Livelihoods)

The REEL Cotton Programme is a three-year agricultural programme that provides farmers with training on sustainable cotton farming practices. Run by CottonConnect in partnership with leading brands and retailers, the programme is proven to increase yields and farm profits while reducing environmental impacts. REEL Cotton can be fully traced from farmer to store by its complementary organisation, TraceBale. Brands can opt to include this as part of supply chain mapping and market linkage support expected from CottonConnect, but TraceBale is not a mandatory offer along with REEL.

Since 2010, the REEL programme has trained over 20,000 farmers, mainly in India, China, Pakistan and Peru.

The REEL Cotton Programme is independently verified by the REEL Code, a code of conduct developed with FLOCERT. The REEL Code verifies that farmers in the REEL programme are using sustainable practices, with added elements that ensure traceability and decent work.

The code is based on eight principles:
1. Management skills
2. Plant and field management
3. Soil nutrient management
4. Pest management
5. Water management
6. Ecosystem protection
7. Waste management
8. Institutional grouping

REEL is a code rather than a standard. This means it can be tailored to focus on sustainability issues that brands and retailers are trying to address in their supply chains. Social intervention programmes include ‘Women in Cotton’, ‘Farmer Business School’ and ‘Health and Safety in Cotton Gins’.

Membership fees:

CottonConnect is yet to publish a standard fee structure template. Fee structure for Program development, verification and certification can be advised by CottonConnect on a case by case basis depending on the geography, project size and supply chain optimisation required.

REEL application process

  1. Submit your application to REEL for evaluation
  2. REEL assign the verification assessment to a 3rd party verifier FLOCERT (accepted/denied)
  3. Fee structure for Program development, verification and certification can be advised by CottonConnect on a case by case basis depending on the geography, project size and supply chain optimisation required
  1. Three year agricultural training course that promotes sustainable cotton farming practices.
  2. The REEL Cotton Code is developed with and independently verified by FLOCERT.
  3. Fee structure for Program development, verification and certification can be advised by CottonConnect on a case by case basis depending on the geography, project size and supply chain optimisation required
  1. Verification Assessment Tool to be completed by the producer group.
  2. Assessment Order with description of scope, allocation of time, interpreter reference etc.
  3. Check on verifier’s compliance ratings against self-assessment.
Product Premium

Zero premium model.


Helping Primark to source cotton sustainably and make a meaningful difference to women cotton farmers and their families

CottonConnect has been working with Primark, and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) since 2013 on Primark’s sustainable cotton training programme. The Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme, based on the REEL Cotton programme, trained 1,251 female cotton farmers in the Gujarat region in India in its first three years. Since the outcomes of the Programme far exceeded expectations, in 2016 Primark decided to substantially scale up the initiative to train an additional 10,000 women farmers over the next six years. They are also supporting CottonConnect’s Farmer Business School and Rights and Life Skills Education programmes, to build resilience and capacity within cotton growing communities.

For more information about CottonConnect’s partnership with Primark click here.

Spotlight on Farmers

Thanks to the REEL Cotton Programme we learnt about the essential nutrients required for healthy cotton growth. For the first time in so many years we received a better quality of cotton with increased yields which resulted in a high market price for our cotton.” – Godiben Vasani, cotton farmer from Surendranagar, Gujarat, India.

The Cotton LEADS™ Program

The Cotton LEADSTM Program is founded on a partnership between the Australian and U.S. cotton industries. The goal is to engage and connect textile businesses across the global supply chain with leading efforts in sustainable cotton production. Over 500 brands, retailers and manufacturers are partners in the Cotton LEADSTM Program, in support of national sustainability efforts in both founding countries.

Australia and the U.S are producing cotton with nationwide commitments to sustainability, traceability, data collection, research and technology. Cotton from the two Cotton LEADS countries is grown with robust government and industry oversight ensuring that worker, consumer and environmental safety is prioritised during production.

This national approach is an effective way to drive large-scale, continuous improvements that are accessible to the greatest number of growers and downstream businesses.

For many companies, Cotton LEADS provides assurances that cotton sourced from Australia and the U.S. has been sustainably produced.

To find out more:

Enquiries or to become a partner:

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Heinz Zeller
Head of Sustainability & Logistics

“To have a transparent global supply chain, it is essential to have recognised national sustainability programs in place to respond to the enormous complexity of the cotton system. For HUGO BOSS, the five core principles of the Cotton LEADS™ sustainability program match well with our own cotton commitment. There is transparency around the continuous improvement programs and through the Cotton LEADS™ traceability system, with its unique bale identification number. Cotton is our most important raw material and the availability of long and extra-long staple cotton and high purity of cotton fibres are critically important for HUGO BOSS products.”

Spotlight on Farmers

Hamish and Mary McIntyre
McIntyre Agriculture
St George, Queensland, Australia

“We’ve always been involved in myBMP, and around five years ago we went down the certification path. It allowed us to fund farm improvement programs and it’s also good for our business. We can now demonstrate that we operate to the highest industry standards in all areas, such as employee safety and soil health. A sustainability program like Cotton LEADS is good for the end user because they can have confidence the cotton they are sourcing has been produced sustainably and ethically. We produce above the world average and so it’s important that we lead from the front. From the end user’s perspective, it ticks all the boxes.”

Bayer’s CropScience’s e3Cotton

e3 farmers sign up to commit to grow cotton more efficiently and without harming the environment. Third-party, independent auditors certify a farmer’s commitment to grow e3 cotton in an environmentally responsible, economically viable, and socially equitable manner in the United States. e3 is U.S. grown from superior seed which produces high-quality fiber and yarn. The e3 program supports farmers with the latest techniques. e3 also meets the needs of consumers by providing enormous quantities of sustainably produced cotton.

membership process

  1. Farmers sign up and commit to grow cotton efficiently and responsibly
  2. Third-party, independent auditors certify a farmer’s commitment to grow e3 cotton
  3. All e3 cotton originates with Bayer Crop Science’s Certified FiberMax® or Authentic Stoneville® seed that can be traced
  4. Farmers will show improvement in aggregate by region and country on an annual basis
  5. A third party for random inspections of baselines assessment & if no attempt is made at improvement, the producer will not be enrolled
  1. There is no cost to the grower to participate. Requires annual sign-up and qualification to participate.
  2. All e3 cotton originates with Bayer Crop Science’s Certified FiberMax® or Authentic Stoneville® seed that can be traced

e3 cotton growers agree to certification, verification and independent audits by Wakefield Inspections

Product Premium
  1. Improving on input efficiencies improves the bottom line and, thus, profit
  2. e3 farmer will be paid a small per bale incentive to reinvest in sustainable improvement practices
  3. Small premium is negotiated with the individual retail and apparel brand
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