This first annual 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge Report provides information and statistics on the achievements and impacts sustainable cotton programs are having on water, communities, soil quality, biodiversity and social considerations and regulations. By committing to use cotton from these initiatives and standards, the brands are ensuring that the intentions of their sustainable sourcing strategies are maintained and the integrity of their commitments are uncompromised.
These initiatives include organic cotton certified to the Organic Content Standard (OCS) or the Global Cotton Textile Standard (GOTS), Fairtrade cotton (certified to Fairtrade International or Fair Trade U.S.A.), Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA), and recycled cotton (rCotton) certified to an independently verifiable standard such as the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS). In addition, Cotton Connect’s REEL program and code provides a starting point for businesses aiming for greater sustainability in their cotton supply chain. Our 2018 report sets the base line for tracking progress for the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Project corporate participants and the sustainable cotton initiatives they have partnered with to make progress on their journey. We will look at their consumption data from the Textile Exchange’s Preferred Fiber & Materials (PFM) Benchmark Program as a starting point for tracking their evolution. We will also learn about the various initiatives and standards that are the framework for this work and be inspired by bitesized stories from the organic field.
WHAT IS THE 2025 SUSTAINABLE COTTON CHALLENGE?
The 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge serves as a cornerstone for change in the apparel and textile industry by encouraging brands and retailers to commit to source 100% of their cotton from the most sustainable sources by the year 2025. The Challenge was formed in 2017 when His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales convened a group of CEOs through the work of his International Sustainability Unit that existed to address critical challenges facing the world. Those original 13 CEOs committed to work together to accelerate the use of sustainable cotton, which paved the way for other industry leaders to follow – resulting in now more than 39 companies committed to sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2025. Addressing the land, water, and social impacts of cotton supply chains will also move the textile industry closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the time of its inception, the Challenge was known as the “Sustainable Cotton Communique” and its purpose was, and still is, to increase the uptake of organic and preferred cotton, therefore increasing the income of smallholder farmers, eliminating highly hazardous pesticides, eliminating or reducing the amount of pesticides and synthetic fertilizer used, reducing water use and improving water quality and soil health, which includes positive carbon impacts as a result of more sustainable practices. Today, 17% of the world’s cotton is more sustainable. By 2025, it is the vision of this Challenge that more than 50% of the world’s cotton is converted to more sustainable growing methods.
Brands and retailers joining the challenge and committing to source more sustainable cotton, can choose from sources that are included on Textile Exchange’s list of recognized organic and sustainable cotton initiatives. These initiatives include, *ABRAPA, *BASF e3, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), *Cleaner Cotton, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), Fairtrade, *Fairtrade Organic, *Field to Market, *ISCC, *myBMP, Organic, Recycled cotton (that is certified to an independently verifiable standard such as the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)), *REEL Cotton, *Regenerative Cotton and *Transitional Cotton.* Denotes initiatives being Benchmarked starting in 2019.
Current brands that have accepted the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge are:
How to Participate
This initiative is a catalyst to spur a shift in the market towards the use of more sustainable cotton. As stated in the original Communiqué, companies will be required to independently publish their progress from 2018 which will be collected by Textile Exchange.
If your company is interested in signing up for the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, please follow and fill out the Pledge link below. If you have any questions, please contact us.