Nearly three years ago, a group of California farmers and sustainable material organizations came together with a shared idea: To implement practices in cotton cultivation that rebuild the carbon of the soil.
That idea became the California Cotton & Climate Coalition or C4, which works with farmers and cotton buyers to promote locally grown “climate beneficial” cotton. Luxury home goods and apparel maker Coyuchi was one of the founding brand members of C4, and this month, the company launched its first Climate Beneficial collection.
“We started working with climate beneficial wool about five years ago, and we’re doing some bedding with that, wool comforters, mattress toppers, some wool blankets,” said Eileen Mockus, CEO, Coyuchi. “As we started working more closely with Fibershed, who facilitates the Climate Beneficial Wool, and we worked with White Buffalo Land Trust, the opportunity surfaced to look at how we could work on a cotton project.”
C4 has begun work with cotton farmers in the bioregion of California’s Central Valley, where significant amounts of carbon from the land’s original, natural storage levels have been lost. And much of that loss can be attributed to farming practices, such as the use of chemicals and tilling in industrial agriculture.
“Healthy soil is biodiversity—increased organic matter, improved water retention and sequestered carbon,” Mockus said. “All of those things matter as we look at what would help prevent climate change. But if we think specifically about things that we need to learn along the way, those are things that we don’t typically measure in terms of working with and buying cotton.”
Coyuchi’s Climate Beneficial collection is the first home goods line born of this initiative, with an initial offering of sheets and a duvet with climate beneficial cotton fill inside an organic cotton cover. The line comes in a range of earth-inspired neutrals, ranging in price from $98-$548 for sheets and $548-$598 for the duvet insert.
“We’ve got the sheet set, and then we’ve got a warm layer,” Mockus said. “We know that we have a customer that is looking for a non-petroleum and non-animal-based warm layer—avoiding polyester, down and feathers.”
And while the staple length of the climate beneficial cotton doesn’t work for all applications, Mockus said the length allows Coyuchi to still create the feel that its customers appreciate.
“We started with sheeting quality that we’ve run in the past and knew that this is not an extra-long staple, but it’s certainly a nice staple-length cotton that works really well in this particular fabric construction,” Mockus said. “We want to focus on creating a comfortable environment with our natural fibers that’s great to sleep in.”
Mockus said Coyuchi’s partnership with C4 will likely result in more products in the future, but in the meantime, the company has been thrilled to be in on the ground level of a collaborative that brings together so many different entities in the cotton industry in pursuit of one goal—creating a more sustainable product.
“That was really exciting about this project for us, this mixture of science and a commercial opportunity, and a collective effort with other brands,” she said.