You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Skip to main content

Study: Cotton Made in Africa Has Less Impact on the Environment

New research shows the cultivation of cotton made in Africa (CmiA) has less impact on the environment compared to conventional and irrigated cotton.

According to the study, “Life Cycle Assessment of Cotton Made in Africa,” released by Aid by Trade Foundation, CmiA cotton emits up to 40 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of cotton fiber than conventional cotton. CmiA was also found to only emit 1.04 kg CO2 equivalent level compared to 1.8 kg CO2/kg for convention cotton. CmiA is not organic cotton, but is grown using a minimum amount of pesticides.

The study, conducted by Ulrike Bos of Fraunhofer Institute and Dr. Susanne Neubert from the Center for Rural Development (SLE) for the foundation, noted, “The low amount of efficiently used resources and production facilities makes it possible to minimize greenhouse gas emissions that result from cotton production. Thanks to rain fed agriculture, a tremendous amount of water can also be saved.”

Research also revealed that CmiA saves more than 2,100 liters of water per kilogram of cotton fiber compared to the global average, because it is only cultivated using rainwater.

The foundation hired sustainability and software company, PE International, to analyze the production steps used when sourcing CmiA in accordance with standardized methods of life cycle assessments. The results of the Life Cycle Assessment confirmed the sustainable benefits of CmiA that were reported by Systain Consulting in 2013, which analyzed its ecological footprint.

Aid by Trade Foundation managing director, Tina Stridde, said, “The second life cycle assessment of Cotton made in Africa is our response to the growing interest among consumers and businesses in the environmental impacts of the production of goods such as textiles.”

Related Stories

Stridde added, “With the publication of this study, we are pleased to be able to once again confirm the positive environmental impact of cotton made in Africa. This enables us to provide manufacturers and consumers with useful facts with which the environmental impacts of cotton made in Africa with cotton from other sources and other materials can be compared.”

The Aid by Trade Foundation’s mission is to promote environmental protection and improve the social conditions in developing countries, with its main initiative being CmiA cotton. The foundation offers training courses to teach smallholder farmers how to cultivate the CmiA cotton using environmentally friendly methods.

For this study, research was focused on the regions of Côte d’Ivoire, located in western Africa, and Zambia in southern Africa. In future studies, the foundation plans to expand the studies to other regions and harvest cycles.