Apparel brands failing to deliver on sustainable cotton
Top apparel brands and retailers including Gap Inc, Burberry, Inditex and JC Penney are failing to deliver on cotton sustainability, a new report has found, with only a few doing the heavy lifting on responsible sourcing.
The independent research, published by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK, Solidaridad and WWF, found that just eight of 37 companies monitored made it out of the red zone in the rankings conducted by Rank a Brand, one of Europe's largest brand-comparison sites on sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Ikea topped the rankings in the green zone, followed by C&A, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and Adidas – all in the yellow zone for being "well on the way".
Nike, Marks & Spencer, VF Corporation, and Kering made it into the orange zone, while 29 companies fell into the red zone for doing "virtually nothing" on cotton sustainability.
"It's clear that just a few leading companies are doing the heavy lifting on sourcing sustainable cotton," says Isabelle Roger, global cotton programme manager for Solidaridad. "For the cotton sector as a whole, to become sustainable, all other major companies will need to get on board."
According to the report, while around 10-13% of global cotton supply can be classed as more sustainable, less than a fifth of this amount is being used as more sustainable cotton in products – with the rest being sold as conventional due to lack of demand from top brands and companies.
"Lack of uptake of more sustainable cotton is a massive missed opportunity," addsKeith Tyrell, director of PAN UK. "Conventional cotton production often suffers from serious social and environmental impacts such as excessive water and hazardous pesticide use. Growing the sustainable cotton market is our best chance of cleaning up cotton and protecting worker health."
PAN UK, Solidaridad and WWF are calling on all companies using large volumes of cotton to set, report and deliver on time-bound targets for cotton sustainability, adding that businesses who are serious about sustainability should be sourcing 100% more sustainable cotton by 2020 at the latest.
Click here to download the full report.
|Company name||Policy||Uptake||Traceability||Total Score|
|Marks & Spencer||2||3||0.5||5.5|
|Burberry Group PLC||1.75||0||0.5||2.25|
|Associated British Foods||1.5||0||0.5||2|
|China Resources Enterprise Ltd.||1.25||0||0||1.25|
|Hudson's Bay Co.||0.5||0||0.5||1|
|Foot Locker, Inc.||0||0||0||0|
|Hermès International S.A.||0||0||0||0|
|Lotte Co. Ltd.||0||0||0||0|
|Ralph Lauren Corporation||0||0||0||0|
|Leading the way|
|Well on the way|
|Starting the journey|
|Not yet in the starting blocks|
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