International nonprofit Textile Exchange (TE) on Wednesday announced the textile industry’s first-ever online tool that measures the environmental, economic and social benefits of organic cotton production.
Dubbed the Organic Cotton Sustainability Assessment Tool (OC-SAT), the mechanism is part of TE’s ongoing effort to chart tangible data on organic cotton cultivation.
Using facts and figures acquired between 2011 and 2013 during a PE International analysis of the global market, the user-friendly OC-SAT offers up-to-date insight into the sustainability status of 66,980 farmers, 82,016 hectares of land and 41,882 metric tons of organic fiber, certified to one or more of the internationally accepted organic agricultural standards.
TE has released a Phase One report that covers key findings of OC-SAT with data from Benin, Burkina Faso, China, India, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Turkey, while Phase Two will explore Latin America, the U.S., Egypt and Central Asia.
Developed in line with the work of the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, as well as other associations that have spearheaded the science of broader sustainability assessment, the tool builds on TE’s recently published Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which found that organic cotton production shows a significant cut in global warming potential, soil erosion, water use and energy demand.
“It is only with assessment tools that are simultaneously very practical and science-based that we can sufficiently understand the social, economic and environmental impacts of cotton production,” said COSA President and Co-Founder Daniel Giovannucci. “If we are committed to improving the overall strategies of sustainability then such an investment is necessary in order to better manage spending, engage all stakeholders and optimize good practices to attain the outcomes that we collectively seek.”
TE Managing Director La Rhea Pepper agreed. “I have been an organic cotton farmer for more than 25 years and I’ve seen many positive impacts of what we do—using water wisely, increased bio-diversity and building life in the soil and community. We are most successful when we work together to harness the power of collective knowledge,” she said.
TE will hold an interactive webinar on Apr. 22 to review the tool. For more information or to register, check out textileexchange.org.