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TEXAS – The number of leading global apparel brands aiming to source 100 per cent sustainable cotton by 2025 as part of a pioneering challenge has trebled from an initial 13 to 39. The businesses have set the goal as part of the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, formed in 2017 by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales via his International Sustainability Unit and now led by US non-profit, Textile Exchange. The latest update from the challenge shows many of those involved are already a significant way towards meeting the ambitious target. Sustainable sources of cotton covered in the challenge include organic, BCI cotton, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and Fairtrade, among a number of other niche initiatives.

Figures from Textile Exchange show 10 signatories have already achieved their 2025 target of 100 per cent sustainable cotton usage, while 37 per cent have achieved a share of between 75 and 99 per cent. 17 per cent have achieved a sustainable cotton share of less than 24 per cent.

At present, 19 per cent of the world’s cotton is sustainable. By 2025, it is the goal of the challenge that more than 50 per cent of the world’s cotton is converted to more sustainable growing methods.

Textile Exchange is now the secretariat of the challenge, working under the guidance of a steering group with representatives from Marks & Spencer, Soil Association, Better Cotton Initiative, Levi Strauss & Co., and Kering,

Mike Barry, director of sustainable business at M&S, said: “There is growing recognition of the enormous social and environmental impact of the global fashion industry. The 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge shows how by working collaboratively the sector can scale rapidly solutions that are good for farmers, the environment and consumers alike.”

“The tide is turning on traditional supply chains, with demands for greater transparency generating a change from transactional relationships to transformational partnerships,” added Alison Ward, CEO for CottonConnect. “In order for sustainable cotton to become standard business practice, the amount of sustainable cotton grown and bought must increase significantly. The 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge pledge sends a signal to millions of producers that there is a real demand for a more sustainable approach to cotton production that reduces the environmental and social costs.”

Liza Schillo, manager of global product sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. said: “Greater transparency across the supply chain and stronger, more strategic relationships between supply chain partners will be critical to the much needed widespread adoption of sustainable farming practices around the world.”

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