Bigger apparel brands lead the way towards more sustainable cotton

IDH has been a long-term supporter of both, sustainable cotton creation at the field level, and uptake by retailers and brands; and as such, we are happy to support The Cotton Ranking 2020, by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK, Solidaridad, and WWF, based on research conducted and compiled by independent consultancy Aidenvironment.

The report assesses 77 cotton-using companies estimated to use more than 10,000 metric tonnes of cotton annually on their public policies and commitments, how much of the cotton they use is actually from sustainable sources, and on how open they are with their supply chain traceability.

Overall the Cotton Ranking 2020 reveals significant progress by big brands towards more sustainable cotton.  Progress has been exemplified by companies like Bestseller (Jack&Jones, Vera Moda, ONLY) and Decathlon, which in 2017 were ranked as ‘starting the journey’ but are now ‘leading the way’ thanks to the sharp increase in their uptake of sustainable cotton. Almost all companies who made public commitments have made substantial improvements, including well-established trailblazer IKEA, and the new front-runner Adidas.

The number of companies lagging behind is largely unchanged since 2017. Around one-third of companies, including global names like Amazon, Footlocker, Giorgio Armani, and Forever 21 all scored zero in the ranking.

The report also reveals that for the first time more than half of ranked companies now have commitments to use sustainable cotton, but the three NGOs express concern that overall companies are not achieving as much as they should. 11 big brands, including Nike, H&M, and C&A group, have committed to sourcing 100% of their cotton from more sustainable sources by the end of this year. This includes IKEA, Adidas and Marks and Spencer who are aiming to maintain their 100% sustainable sourcing track records. The report publishers encourage them all to not only meet and sustain their target over time, but also to uphold their commitment to making the global cotton sector more sustainable and have a deeper positive impact on cotton farming communities and their environment.

Read the full report here: