World Cotton Day: the importance of using responsibly sourced cotton
Adlington, UK: In 2021, the United Nations proclaimed World Cotton Day to be celebrated annually on October 7 to raise awareness of the importance of using responsibly sourced cotton, the ‘white gold’ grown. in more than 100 countries representing a vital source of fiber and food for least developed and developing countries.
Providing income to more than 250 million people worldwide and employing around 7% of the workforce in developing countries, cotton is the “largest profitable non-food crop” on earth according to WWF. Due to all the negative effects of its production on the environment, more and more textile manufacturers are switching to responsibly sourced cotton for their garment factories.
A number of brands have come under pressure to make their supply chains and business models more sustainable after a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the clothing industry mode produced 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions and used about 1.5 trillion liters. of water annually.
Additionally, recent reports of forced cotton labor practices in Xinjiang, China have prompted many retailers to stop using the Chinese product for more responsibly sourced cotton, sparking boycotts from brands like Adidas. , H&M, Nike, Puma and Zara in the Asian country.
Although textile manufacturing is essentially the same throughout the industry, the production of workwear fabrics is completely different from fast fashion in terms of durability, because a garment used to protect a worker can last a long time before it needs to. To be replaced.
It is important for global manufacturers of workwear fabrics to ensure that their fabrics not only pass rigorous testing to ensure their protective characteristics and appearance, but that they also use responsibly sourced cotton and supplies. in their production.
Carrington Textiles, for example, supplies its customers with Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton for a more environmentally friendly alternative, organic cotton or recycled cotton to support a circular economy so that cotton can ‘come alive’. . The company’s suppliers – and their suppliers – adhere to a code of conduct based on the United Nations Global Compact. In this way, they make sure not to use cotton from geographic areas where it is well known that harsh and unethical practices are used in cotton cultivation. Most of their suppliers also have third party accreditations such as SA8000, GOTS or OekoTex STeP where an audit is carried out on working conditions.
There are many alternatives available in the market to ensure that the best sustainable cotton is used for fabrics, including organic, converted, recycled, BCI and fair trade cotton. Regardless of the option, we all need to create positive change in the industry by working with stakeholders and ensuring that the use of responsibly sourced cotton is consistently at the top of the agenda. textile industry.