The cotton products story should be as familiar as the t-shirts and jeans that clothe us and our families and fill the shelves of our favourite stores. Yet many leading retailers remain unfamiliar with some of the serious ethical and reputational risks entwined in the cotton products story.
The lack of awareness is rarely intentional but partly the result of the scale and diversity of the industry. Cotton production and supply generate $32 billion annually. Roughly 100 million rural households worldwide depend on cotton production for their livelihoods. However, a lack of awareness puts corporate reputation at risk. Reports published regularly since 2005 have expressed deep concern about the social and environmental impacts of cotton, especially cotton from Egypt and Uzbekistan.
TFT works with pioneering businesses determined to rewrite the cotton products story. Companies that want to deliver responsible cotton products and turn repuational risks into opportunities.
A responsible cotton product respects the environment and improves people's lives at every stage of its lifecycle.
While there are issues all along the supply chain, delivering responsible cotton products requires intense attention to raw materials extraction, production and traceability.
Extraction: responsible cotton products must contain only legal, traceable and sustainably produced raw materials. TFT supports the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which aims to promote measurable improvements in the key sustainability impacts of cotton cultivation worldwide. Plantations growing responsible cotton would follow many rules including:
Production: responsible cotton products must also maintain high ethical and sustainable standards during the production stage. Factory operationsneed to meet strict environmental and social guidelines.
Traceability: this is the backbone of a commitment to developing only legal and Responsible cotton Products. To constantly prove that cotton products come from responsibly managed plantations, companies must implement robust tracking systems all the way back to the source.
Tackling environmental and social issues at the extraction and production stage can be particularly complex and is often distant from a company’s core business and markets. TFT supports its Members on the ground, giving objective insight into the realities of the supply chain and the practical support needed to deliver Responsible cotton Products.
TFT has a decade-long track record of successfully assisting businesses to deliver Responsible Products to market. We help you develop and implement a credible action plan. We’re present on the ground, in fields and factories, to identify and mitigate your key environmental and social risks. Our approach includes 5 key services:
If you are interested in becoming a TFT Member and embark on the Responsible Product journey, please check the Engage with us section.