The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit has brokered an ambitious deal to increase demand for sustainable cotton with 13 of the world’s biggest firms.
In collaboration with Marks & Spencer and the Soil Association the firms will source 100 per cent sustainable cotton by 2025.
The move comes just a week after both Marks and Spencer and Target pledged to join Cotton 2040 — an industry initiative to make sustainable cotton a commodity.
Lord Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, said:
It’s difficult to get consumers to make the link between clothing and their supply chains. They look to retailers they trust to make moves.”
“We wanted to avoid the kind of controversy there was with sustainable palm oil, introducing a set of new standards … we wanted to keep it simple and inexpensive.”
Cotton is greatly important to the global economy, but it is also one that faces many challenges, including some relating to the environment. The industry produces over 20 million tonnes of cotton in over 100 countries
According to a statement by The Prince of Wale’s International Sustainability unit the industry needs to improve in a range of areas including:
- Increasing the income of small farms
- Eliminating highly hazardous pesticides and reducing the amount of pesticides and synthetic fertiliser
- Improving the use of and quality of water
- Improving soil health and the carbon impact that carbon has as a result of the cotton industry
It plans to implement a range of changes throughout the industry which includes working with existing initiatives and efforts, supporting sustainable policies, education throughout the supply chain and engaging with industry peers.
Included in the firms are:
- Levi Strauss & CO.
- Eileen Fisher
- Green Fibres
- Marks and Spencer
Together the aforementioned companies use in excess of 300,000 tonnes of cotton every year.