Responsible and sustainable cotton production

  • The Australian cotton industry is recognised internationally as a leader in sustainable cotton production and has been used as a model for change by other Australian agriculture industries
  • Since 1991, the Australian cotton industry has conducted independent assessments of its environmental performance, to track performance and suggest improvements
  • The Australian cotton industry’s environmental stewardship is underpinned by the myBMP program – Best Management Practices, a voluntary online system for individual growers to assess and improve performance in 11 key areas of the farm operation.
  • There are many benefits to the myBMP program including safer farm workplaces, healthier natural environments, reduced input costs, better run farm businesses and improved community health and wellbeing
  • In 2014, Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) released the Australian Grown Cotton Sustainability Report, tracking and publicly recording the industry’s economic, social and environmental credentials
  • The world’s textile supply chain is increasingly demanding cotton (and other products) from responsibly-produced sources, right back to the farm
  • Cotton Australia promotes Australia’s efforts in responsible cotton production to the cotton supply chain including brands, retailers and manufacturers, via its Cotton to Market program

There are a number of international initiatives aimed at stewarding and continuously improving the global cotton industry, including:

  • Cotton LEADS™ is a program that is committed to responsible cotton production and is founded on core principles that are consistent with sustainability, the use of best practices and traceability in the supply chain. This joint program, initiated by Australia and the United States, offers manufacturers, brands and retailers a reliable cotton supply chain solution and confidence that their raw material is responsibly produced and identified (source: Cotton LEADS, 2015)
  • Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) operates as a not-for-profit organisation. BCI brings together farmers, ginners, traders, spinners, mills, manufacturers, retailers, brands and grassroots organisations in a unique global community committed to developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity (source: BCI, 2015)
  • Cotton Made in Africa is run by the Aid by Trade Foundation, and follows an innovative approach in development cooperation and ‘social business’ principles. (source: CMIA, 2015)
  • Fairtrade Cotton is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade provides a certification system and product labels (FAIRTRADE Mark) to connect consumers and producers (source: Fairtrade, 2015)
  • Organic cotton production methods are managed in accordance with organic standards (Source: Australian Certified Organic, 2014), of which there are many operating globally. The largest organic cotton producers by volume are India, China, Turkey, Tanzania and the United States (Source: Textile Exchange, 2014)


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