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LONDON – 86 per cent of people globally are considering sustainability and the impact their decisions have on the environment across day-to-day life according to new research by Cotton US. The research, based on interviews with more than 7,000 people across the US, UK, India, Germany, Italy, Mexico and China, also found that 57 per cent of people have thought more about sustainability over the past year. 61 per cent of those surveyed said they are concerned about sustainability and environmental impacts when purchasing clothing. As part of this, nearly two-thirds of people said they would put a lot of effort into finding clothing labelled as “environmentally-friendly.” The research was commissioned by Cotton Council International and led by Harris Insights and Analytics.

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The report found that, when asked the reasons why they are concerned about sustainability, 38 per cent of consumers said supporting brands and retailers that are making a conscious positive impact on the environment was paramount. This was followed by taking a stand against those that do not treat their employees fairly (35 per cent) or do not demonstrate sustainability practices as part of their manufacturing process (33 per cent).

An overwhelming majority of consumer surveyed (83 per cent) said cotton is safe for the environment, with US cotton considered as an environmentally-safe choice (69 per cent). Moreover, 100 per cent of consumers said they associate cotton fibres with sustainability, more so than other fabrics such as wool, silk, polyester, rayon or spandex. [An interesting finding on many levels – are consumers aware how much water cotton growing uses and that it is grown in many water-stressed parts of the world? Perhaps this research has unintentionally tapped into a finding around consumer ignorance on these issues].

When asked how they perceive US cotton, consumers considered it to be more sustainable (39 per cent), responsibly-produced (40 per cent) and higher quality (43 per cent) than cotton grown in other parts of the world. US cotton is considered as a more environmentally friendly choice than that developed in other markets (69 per cent). This includes cotton from Australia (65 per cent), India (64 per cent), Africa (60 per cent), China (56 per cent) or Uzbek (53 per cent) cotton. [Worth considering this is US-commissioned research so these findings must be read in that light; we have requested the full report including the actual survey questions!]

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