To survive in an increasingly climate-disrupted world, the cotton system requires significant, radical change which can only be achieved by a systemic, collaborative approach involving actors across the supply chain.
Cotton represents about 25% of all fibre used in the textile sector globally and supports the livelihoods of around 350 million people. The industry is facing increasing climate change pressures include changing rainfall patterns, availability of water, rising temperatures and competition for land for food and fuel.. Increasing the amount of sustainably grown cotton is key to reducing cotton’s impact and adapting to the negative impacts of the climate crisis; but while progress is being made, uptake and production is limited, preventing sustainable cotton from mainstreaming.
See a recently published blog by Forum for the Future’s Associate Director, Charlene Collison, on why we need to transform commodity value chains in light of the current pandemic and the on-going climate change threat.
About Cotton 2040
Facilitated by Forum for the Future and supported by Laudes Foundation, Acclimatise and Anthesis, Cotton 2040 aims to accelerate progress and maximise the impact of existing sustainability initiatives across the global cotton industry, by bringing together leading international brands and retailers, sustainable cotton standards, existing industry initiatives and other stakeholders across the value chain.
Since 2016, Cotton 2040 has been engaging the industry to understand and align around potential future risks and opportunities for sustainable cotton. The initiative’s progress to date includes building the CottonUP Guide to sourcing sustainable cotton, creating the first platform providing comprehensive information on sourcing cotton across multiple sustainable standards. Forum for the Future have also been carrying out foundational work with sustainable cotton standards, programmes and codes on pathways towards greater alignment in traceability and impact reporting (the latest phase of this work has been carried out in collaboration with Project Delta).
Cotton 2040’s progress has been guided by a steering group that included sustainable cotton standards, programmes and codes (organic, represented by Textile Exchange; The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI); CottonConnect; Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA); Fairtrade; MyBMP (Cotton Australia); and the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA). Brand and retail partners have included M&S, Target, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. and Burberry, among others, alongside industry partners such as IDH, ICAC and more.
Over the next three years (2020-2022), Cotton 2040 and its partners will deliver a set of three interconnected workstreams with the biggest potential to drive a systemic shift to mainstream sustainable cotton through collaborative efforts.
Acclimatise will co-partner the delivery of the first of three workstreams planned for Cotton 2040. This first workstream is related to planning for climate adaptation. The three workstreams include:
- Planning for climate adaptation: Creating sector-wide collaborative action to understand and adapt to the changing climate. Working with cotton producers, brands and retailers and industry initiatives, we will develop a common understanding across the cotton system as to how climate change is likely to impact key stakeholders and regions, and agree on a shared set of priorities for action across the cotton sector.
- Sourcing sustainable cotton: Driving the uptake of sustainable cotton with brands and retailers, building on the success of the CottonUP guide launched in 2018.
- Developing sustainable business models: Supporting a widespread shift towards alternative business models which ensure fairer distribution of value and risk between stakeholders, and enable the regeneration of land and resources.
How to get involved?
Each partner involved in Cotton 2040 has joined in recognition that no one organisation or company can solve the sector’s challenges alone. But we need many more to join – and more funding to make the impact that is needed.
We are now inviting expressions of interest and commitment from organisations wishing to contribute to one or more of these workstreams in 2020 and beyond.
Those wishing to find out more can contact Charlene Collison, Associate Director – Sustainable Value Chains & Livelihoods at Forum for the Future on firstname.lastname@example.org