The Environmental Footprint of Cotton

Chuck Zimmerman

At the 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences the media received a preview of the Cotton Life Cycle Inventory & Life Cycle Assessment. This is a benchmark study for cotton sustainability.

Cotton Incorporated announced today the completion of a comprehensive life cycle inventory and life cycle analysis of cotton products. The endeavor is part of the Cotton Foundation VISION 21 Project and included the participation of the National Cotton Council, Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated. The two-year study, managed by PE International, was designed to establish current and accurate benchmarks of potential environmental impacts across the global cotton supply chain. The peer-reviewed data and assessment methodology will help direct sustainability research efforts for the cotton industry, as well as to aid textile decision-makers in achieving their own sustainability goals.

To learn more about the study I spoke with our presenter, J. Berrye Worsham, President/CEO, Cotton, Inc. He says they wanted to have a sense of the environmental footprint of cotton from “cradle to grave.” That’s what this study has accomplished and the results can be found on their website. Berrye says the study is now a tool for the industry since there are companies conducting their own life cycle assessments. As a benchmark, it will be valuable for making comparisons when it is done again in a few years. The study found ways that the industry and even consumers can improve the footprint of cotton. In the case of consumers an example would be doing more cold water washing and less use of dryers to dry clothes. You can hear more about the study in my interview with Berrye: Interview with Berrye Worsham

I’ve also got a photo album started from the conference: 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Photo Album

AgWired coverage of 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conference is sponsored by
Ag Group, Audio, Cotton, General