First launched in 2019 at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, World Cotton Day continues to grow each year. On World Cotton Day, stakeholders from the global cotton community come together to speak on the many benefits and the prowess of cotton and the industry surrounding it.
Grown in more than 70 countries and providing an income to hundreds of millions of people, cotton provides year-round employment for legions of people. One ton translates into jobs for an estimated 5 or 6 people, often in some of the most impoverished places on earth. Plus, cotton has a negative carbon footprint and degrades 95 percent more than polyester in wastewater, helping to keep the land and water clean.
World Cotton Day organizers also point out that cotton is a natural fiber that biodegrades quickly overall compared with synthetic alternatives, decreasing the amount of plastics entering waterways and helping to keep oceans clean. As a crop that grows in arid climates, it thrives in places few other crops can.
The event theme for 2021 is “Cotton for Good,” to celebrate the fiber’s enduring positive impact. A virtual celebration will feature notable speakers such as Bert Jacobs, CEO and co-founder of Life is Good, and Maxine Bédat, director of New Standard Institute. Other global industry experts will come from Cotton Council International, Viterra India, the International Cotton Advisory Committee, the Better Cotton Initiative and the African Cotton Foundation. Keynote topics include responsible fashion, sustainability and the importance of cotton in countries around the world.
With the cotton industry’s focus on sustainability, attendees will learn about the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, which aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to bring quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to sustainable cotton production.
“The UN resolution on World Cotton Day recognizes the importance of cotton for millions of people and acknowledges the work undertaken in the WTO since the launch of the cotton initiative in 2003,” WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. “It is also a recognition of the excellent cooperative spirit between all the international, regional and national partners involved. The UN resolution should help catalyze progress in the WTO’s work on cotton, including the ongoing trade negotiations and the other initiatives on cotton in the run-up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference at the end of this year.”
“I am convinced that these can deliver concrete positive results for millions of cotton producers, especially in least-developed countries,” Okonjo-Iweala added. “Celebrations marking Oct. 7 can also foster sustainable trade policies for cotton and enable least-developed countries (LDCs) to benefit more from every step along the extensive cotton value chain.”
The WTO said the resolution should encourage donors and beneficiary countries to strengthen development assistance projects on cotton and foster new business opportunities by sparking collaboration between the private sector and investors in cotton-related industries. It should also help to promote technological advances, and further research and development on cotton-related technologies and best practices.
People can learn more about the activities planned for World Cotton Day at worldcottonday.com and by following #WorldCottonDay on social media.