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Sustainable Cotton Ranking System Assesses More Global Brands

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK, Solidaridad and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are ranking more international brands for cotton sustainability this year.

The four organizations released a list of companies that will be evaluated in the second Sustainable Cotton Ranking, which is set to publish in October 2017. Major companies from all nations, including Brazil and China, along with online companies such as Amazon and Zalando, will be featured in the second cotton sustainability ranking. Like the first edition, the new ranking will measure each company’s cotton sustainability policy, traceability and use.

The 2017 Sustainable Cotton Ranking will broaden to include a more international representation of consumer-facing brick-and-mortar and e-commerce companies. Brands on this year’s list vary from Germany-based Adidas to China’s Shanghai La Chapelle Fashion and are estimated to use over 10,000 metric tons of lint cotton annually. The four organizations also invite companies to provide feedback on their cotton use estimates or if they wish to be included for cotton sustainability evaluations.

Last year, the first Cotton Ranking indicated that many global companies were failing to deliver on cotton sustainability. According to the report, only eight out of 37 listed companies demonstrated progress in cotton sustainability efforts. With the second ranking, the four organizations expect more companies to implement environmentally-friendly cotton tracing, sourcing and policies. The second report will be published in October 2017, so companies’ 2016 performance can be accounted for. Only public information will be used to evaluate companies’ performance, so consumers may also have transparency with cotton sustainability data.

Updating market trends will also be a new goal for the second ranking. A market update on the available supply and uptake of cotton from global cotton sustainability standards, including Cotton Made in Africa and Better Cotton, will available in the 2017 report. In 2014, approximately 10 percent of the global cotton supply was grown according to one of the sustainable cotton standards, but less than one fifth of this harvest was being bought as environmentally-friendly cotton, due to lack of demand from popular companies.

With the second ranking, the four organizations aim to increase sustainable cotton policies, sourcing and transparency among consumer brands worldwide. By participating in the 2017 Sustainable Cotton Ranking, brands can boost their environmental efforts and reduce the use of negatively-impacted cotton globally.