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New coalition seeks to promote sustainable cotton

A group of international brands, retailers and other stakeholders have come together to form a new cross-industry coalition that will promote sustainable cotton.

Marks & Spencer, the London College of Fashion, Better Cotton Initiative and the Fairtrade Foundation are among those to have joined the Cotton 2040 coalition, which was convened by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future with support from the C&A Foundation.

One of its key aims is to increase the uptake of sustainable cotton so it becomes a mainstream commodity.

Over the next two to three years, working groups will develop best practice across the following areas:

  • Building demand for more sustainable cotton with the fashion and apparel industry
  • Closing the loop on cotton: scaling up cotton recycling and circularity
  • Traceability: building greater visibility and transparency throughout the cotton supply chain
  • Upskilling: creating a cross-industry forum to build resilience among smallholder cotton farmers

Sally Uren, CEO of Forum for the Future, said: “Past debate around sustainable cotton standards and industry initiatives has at times been polarising, but we know to make effective progress we need to work together.

“We believe that collaborative action is essential in order to address complex issues that no one entity – whether a business, standard, consumer group, NGO or government – can tackle alone.”

Mike Barry, sustainable business director at M&S, added: “We’re supporting Cotton 2040 as we recognise the important role that retailers play in driving demand for sustainable cotton. We have set out to significantly increase the amount of cotton we procure from sustainable sources by 2020 and we want to work collaboratively to affect material, lasting change across the industry.”





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