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CottonConnect Partners With ICAC on ‘Innovative Ideas’

CottonConnect and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a collaborative partnership on knowledge sharing, innovation, environmental sustainability assessment and joint project initiatives.

The collaborative partnership, covering an initial period of one year, represents the primary common interest between the two organizations. The relationship between CottonConnect and ICAC is based upon the shared values of fairness, mutual respect, consulting in relevant decision-making, good communication, social accountability and transparency.

“We are delighted to collaborate with The International Cotton Advisory Committee,” CottonConnect CEO Alison Ward said. “I believe this partnership will allow both organizations to learn and work on the challenges faced by the cotton industry today. We look forward to exploring innovative ideas, sustainability challenges and productivity initiatives that mutually benefit both the organizsations.”

The agreement covers four key areas of collaboration between CottonConnect and ICAC. In “knowledge sharing,” ICAC and CottonConnect can benefit from ongoing collaborative interactions. Since ICAC is an intergovernmental association representing as many as 25 cotton producing, consuming and trading countries worldwide, it can serve as a learning platform for CottonConnect to learn through discussions on cotton issues of international significance, while CottonConnect can learn from ICAC and build on the sustainability component of cotton production, improving the progress and development of cotton sectors across its regions.

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“Innovation” is a major issue within the cotton sector in light of pressing issues, including climate change, increasing productivity, and improving farmer livelihoods. ICAC’s relationships with major players afford it access to leading cotton researchers and scientists around the world who understand cotton from the field to the hand of the consumer.

The CottonConnect network stands to benefit greatly from these innovations and is ready to take advantage of those that are practical and feasible to implement. ICAC member countries may also benefit from CottonConnect’s innovations in cotton. Collaborations like these could lead to new and joint innovations.

In “environment sustainability assessment,” the groups said growing cotton has many challenges for the environment due to its water consumption and pollution, soil degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, and use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers that can undermine the industry’s ability to maintain future production. ICAC and CottonConnect can work together to measure environmental aspects like carbon footprint, GHG emission and carbon sequestration.

CottonConnect and ICAC are also interested in discussing potential collaborations and joint projects that would benefit both parties. ICAC has embarked upon a project aiming to double cotton’s earnings within four to five years. CottonConnect sees great potential in collaborating with ICAC on such productive and innovative initiatives. Both parties are open to jointly developing and implementing innovative cotton projects and seeking investment from potential funders and donors.

“Collaborating with our industry allies has become a core principle for the ICAC over the last five years and this partnership with CottonConnect is evidence of that,” said ICAC executive director Kai Hughes. “The chaos caused by the Covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021 has prompted organizations everywhere in the world to think of ways to improve the performance and resilience of their supply chains. CottonConnect excels in this area and shares our core values, so it’s a natural decision for our two organizations to work together to find solutions that improve the lives of cotton and textile professionals everywhere.”

Formed in 1939, the ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It helps member countries maintain a healthy world cotton economy, provides transparency to the world cotton market by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production, and serves as a forum for discussing cotton issues of international significance. In addition, members can take advantage of the ICAC’s global network of cotton researchers, whose expertise covers the supply chain from farm to textile manufacturing.

CottonConnect, with headquarters in London, and on-the-ground teams around the world, helps to improve the sustainability of global textile supply chains, enabling producers and raw material farmers to work more responsibly and enjoy better livelihoods.