The National Cotton Council and its export promotion arm, Cotton Council International (CCI), have joined forces with Cotton Australia and Cotton Incorporated as founding members of COTTON LEADS.

COTTON LEADS is an initiative aimed at raising awareness of responsible growing practices among U.S. and Australian cotton producers.

Together, Australia and the United States produce roughly 17 percent of global cotton.

COTTON LEADS’ activities and program fund use will be guided by a committee comprised of three members from these founding member nations along with two members from partnering industry organizations.

This Cotton Foundation special project is specifically aimed at textile brands, retailers and manufacturers committed to sourcing cotton that is grown in a responsible and transparent manner.

 

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Validating the COTTON LEADS program are the national-level oversight, regulatory enforcement and transparency of practices common to both countries. More information can be found at www.cottonleads.org.

CCI Executive Director Kevin Latner said, “U.S. and Australian cotton users can take confidence in the COTTON LEADS core principles, which are built upon a track record of responsible production practices and a commitment to continuing improvement.”

Those five core principles are:

• COMMITMENT — to the social, environmental, economic, and regulatory factors to produce world-class cotton.

• RECOGNITION — that sustainable and responsible cotton production requires continual improvement, investment, research, and sharing of best practices information among growers and industry.

• UNDERSTANDING — that leading change in a responsible and sustainable cotton practices will have the most positive impact when implemented in collaboration with farm, regional, national and international programs.

• BELIEF — in the benefit of working cooperatively with similar programs that seek to advance responsible and sustainable cotton production in an effort to keep global cotton competitive in world fiber markets.

• CONFIDENCE — in a cotton identification system that ensures traceability from farm to manufacturer.

Cotton Incorporated President/CEO Berrye Worsham said, “Ultimately, we are all committed to providing the supply chain with greater volumes of responsibly-grown cotton. COTTON LEADS is designed to assist businesses along the cotton supply chain with their sustainability goals. Apparel brands, retailers, and manufacturers require large volumes and a reliable supply of responsibly-produced fiber, as well as proof of responsible production. Through COTTON LEADS we demonstrate how cotton grown in the United States and Australia can help meet these requirements.”

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay emphasized that, “Cotton producers in Australia and the U.S. pioneered practices that have resulted in impressive, country-wide environmental gains. Both countries approach improvement on a national level. This includes national reporting and regulatory enforcement, but also facilitates the national implementation of best practices and the ability to collect data on a national level.”

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