The Australian cotton industry recently published its first-ever sustainability report for 2014, which revealed that Australian cotton growers grow more cotton on less land, with more efficient water use and less impact on the environment than ever before.
The report, published by the Australia Government Cotton Research and Development Corporation and Cotton Australia, a representative body for the Australian cotton growing industry led by cotton growers and ginners, analyzed the industry’s performance based on 45 indicators arranged into the categories of environmental, economic and social. These indicators range from cotton industry production statistics to on-farm water use efficiency productivity and employee demographics.
According to the report, there has been a 40 percent increase in cotton water productivity over the last decade, and the industry has achieved an 89 percent reduction in insecticide use. The report also highlighted the industry’s major goals for the future, including becoming the producer and supplier of the most environmentally and socially responsible cotton in the world. Australia is the third largest exporter of cotton worldwide and is known for producing high quality cotton.
Cotton Research and Development Corporation chair Dr. Mary Corbett said, “Since 1991, the Australian cotton industry has been conducting independent assessments of its environmental performance, to track how it has been performing and what improvements may need to be made. Today, with the release of the Sustainability Report, we are taking that commitment one step further—tracking and publicly recording our economic and social credentials, as well as our environmental ones.
Recently, Cotton Australia has partnered with two global sustainability organizations, the Cotton LEADS Program and the Better Cotton Initiative. Cotton grower and Cotton Australia chair Lyndon Mulligan said, “As an export dependent industry, having secure international markets for our cotton is critical. That’s why we are involved in both the Cotton LEADS and Better Cotton Initiative programs—programs about stewarding global standards and committing to the supply of responsibly produced cotton.”
Forty-five percent of the country’s cotton production is grown on farms following the myBMP program, which is the Australian cotton industry’ voluntary farm and environmental management system for growers that works to improve on-farm production. It guarantees that the country’s cotton industry produces economically, socially and environmentally sustainable cotton.
The Australian cotton industry is committed to continuously improving its sustainability efforts by boosting farm productivity, increasing water use efficiency, reducing the carbon footprint, enhancing biodiversity, reducing work related injuries and fatalities and facilitating increased sustainability reporting across the supply and value chain for cotton.