VF and BASF are making moves to promote sustainable cotton.
BASF’s e3 Sustainable Cotton program that promotes a transparent and traceable cotton supply chain announced a new collaboration on Monday with the United Nations’ (UN)-hosted Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network for a series of New York City events this year.
The Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network is a UN-hosted online platform for industry stakeholders, media, governments and UN system entities. The network showcases and enables collaborations that accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network fosters transparent, inclusive and transformative stakeholder engagement to drive action toward sustainability. Its key objective is to mobilize expertise, innovation, technology and resources toward a sustainable and inclusive Covid-19 recovery, with the SDGs as a guiding framework.
“The e3 Sustainable Cotton program is an industry-leading sustainable cotton program that delivers a true farm to fashion story bringing transparency and traceability to the forefront of the conversation,” said Kerry Bannigan, executive director of the Fashion Impact Fund and co-founder of the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network. “The e3 program’s mission and goals are aligned with ours to educate and accelerate impact, making them an ideal partner to spark conversation and evoke positive change.”
The e3 cotton program will co-host a series of roundtable events with various industry stakeholders, United Nations representatives and news media to explore how the fashion and lifestyle industries are uniquely positioned to collaborate and engage on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Jennifer Crumpler, regional seed sustainability manager and fiber development manager for BASF Agricultural Solutions, said sustainability is every company’s responsibility.
“Our program’s participation with the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network will allow us to bring awareness of a better way to create sustainable cotton clothing,” Crumpler said. “We can trace our cotton from farm to finished product. Cotton farmers can deliver on sustainability measurements that leave the land better than they found it. There is a way to make the cotton supply chain transparent for consumers.”
Farmers who are part of the e3 Sustainable Cotton program commit to tracking eight sustainability measures on 100 percent of their eligible cotton acres, ranging from water use and pesticide management to soil conservation and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Through a series of digital platforms, the cotton they grow can be traced from an individual cotton bale in their field, all the way to the end consumer.
BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division works with partners and agricultural experts and by integrating sustainability criteria into all business decisions, helping farmers to create a positive impact on sustainable agriculture. Its portfolio comprises seeds and specifically selected plant traits, chemical and biological crop protection, solutions for soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming.
Also making to farm to fashion connection, the VF Foundation announced it will join the Soil Health Institute’s (SHI) U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) as a sustaining supporter. The USRCF is a farmer-facing, science-based initiative designed to support long-term, sustainable cotton production in the United States, with the goal of eliminating 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere by 2026.
“The VF Foundation is excited to continue its support of the Soil Health Institute and join the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund,” said Gloria Schoch, executive director of the VF Foundation and director of global impact at VF Corp. “This initiative complements our corporate efforts to advance regenerative agricultural practices by taking a farmer-centric approach to scale these practices and measure their impacts when growing cotton, a key material used by VF brands and across the apparel industry.”
The VF Foundation’s support of the USRCF directly contributes to the institute’s efforts in Texas, where approximately 60 percent of U.S. cotton is grown. Support will help establish farmer-to-farmer mentoring networks, conduct economic analysis of regenerative soil health systems, increase access and opportunity for minority students in scientific leadership positions, and establish soil health and soil carbon targets so growers know how healthy their soils can become and how much carbon they can draw down.
In 2019, VF Corp. set ambitious science-based targets and is committed to sourcing 100 percent of its top nine materials from regenerative, responsibly sourced renewable or recycled sources by 2030, as a key pathway to achieve its climate goals.
“We are grateful for the VF Foundation’s past support that served as a catalyst for establishing the USRCF to assist cotton farmers and their advisors across the U.S. with building resilience to drought and mitigating the effects of climate change,” said Dr. Cristine Morgan, chief scientific officer and leader of the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund.
“Widespread adoption of regenerative agricultural practices is hindered by lack of information on the business case, locally relevant education programs and grower networks, and locally established soil health and carbon targets,” Morgan added. “These measures can arm growers with specific knowledge to demonstrate how much their soil health can improve and how that healthier soil can translate into drought resilience, yield stability, profitability, and drive additional benefits.”
The USRCF works to unite the interests of farmers, partners and financial supporters around soil health as the foundation for regenerative agriculture. The Fund was initiated in 2021 with a founding grant from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation to the Soil Health Institute. Participating partners of the fund include Cotton Incorporated, the National Cotton Council and Field to Market.