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November 9, 2021

Ralph Lauren cotton project gains climate innovation recognition

A project backed by Ralph Lauren to support long-term, sustainable cotton production in the United States, while also tackling climate change, has been selected as an Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Innovation Sprint Partner.

By Beth Wright

Ralph Lauren Corporation welcomed the selection of the recently launched US Regenerative Cotton Fund as an Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Innovation Sprint Partner. It is a joint initiative created by the United States and the United Arab Emirates to support investments in climate-smart agriculture over the next five years. The selection was announced during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation committed an inaugural grant to the Soil Health Institute to launch the US Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) last month. Described as a first-of-its-kind initiative to support long-term, sustainable cotton production in the United States, the Fund aims to eliminate 1m metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere by 2026.

It is supported by a US$5m grant from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation and will initially operate in four states – Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, and Georgia – and will look to expand into Alabama, North Carolina, Missouri, California, and Oklahoma as these nine states represent 85% of US cotton production.

“We must come together as a global community to address the challenges of today so that future generations inherit a world filled with natural beauty and inspiration. That’s why we are working toward our Net Zero goal, and it’s why the US Regenerative Cotton Fund, created through partnership between the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation and the Soil Health Institute, complements our goals. We’re honoured that this work is recognised as an AIM for Climate Innovation Sprint Partner,” says Patrice Louvet, president and CEO of Ralph Lauren Corporation.

Recently, the company also joined a series of commitments reflective of the scope and mission of COP26 that underscore ongoing efforts made as part of its Global Citizenship and Sustainability goals. They include:

  • We Mean Business Coalition – G-20 Climate Statement: Aligned with the company’s recent announcement to achieve net zero global greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and value chain by 2040, the Ralph Lauren Corporation signed a statement in support of urging G-20 nations to strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions by at least halving global emissions by 2030 and committing to achieve net zero emissions by no later than 2050.
  • Clean Energy Demand Initiative: To use the company’s scale to create impact, the Ralph Lauren Corporation is actively advocating for cost-effective and robust clean energy procurement options in several key global markets where the company operates or sources its products.
  • Textile Exchange – Preferential Tariff Project: As a member of the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and the Textile Exchange, the Ralph Lauren Corporation signed a policy statement issued to all COP26 participating nations requesting that policymakers work closely with the apparel, textile, and footwear industry to develop thoughtful trade policy mechanisms, specifically those that would drive the adoption of environmentally preferred materials and enable achievement of the Textile Exchange’s industry goal of a 45% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 in the pre-spinning phase of textile fibre and materials production, in line with the Paris Agreement.

These efforts all build on the company’s work to pioneer, foster, and scale sustainable innovation through partnerships and investments, including its work with Natural Fiber Welding Inc and Color on Demand, and aligns with its commitment to the climate goals identified in the Paris Agreement.

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