LVMH, Circular Bioeconomy Alliance to support African cotton farmers

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-11-14 07:13:59 – France

French fashion conglomerate LVMH, has announced a new commitment to regenerative agroforestry allowing cotton producers in Chad to plant fruit and timber trees alongside their cotton crop.

According to LVMH, Lake Chad has decreased by 90% between 1963 and 2001 in a place that is extremely vulnerable to extreme weather, and given its current rate of decline, it may vanish within the next 20 years. One of the causes of this loss is cotton production, which uses a lot of industrial water.

As part of the Great Green Wall, the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA), founded in 2020 by His Majesty King Charles III while he was still the Prince of Wales and bringing together institutional and business actors, fosters sustainable cotton production in Africa.

This collaboration brings together an exceptional diversity of partners with experience in numerous fields in addition to local government and research organizations. By taking part in this research, LVMH continues to further its regenerative agricultural commitments and Life360 sustainability program. The International Rescue Committee (IRC), Reforest'Action, European Forest Institute (EFI), and Pretaterra are also participating in this cooperative endeavor.

In addition to restoring biodiversity and generating economic opportunities for the local population linked to sustainable cotton value chains, the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance's distinctive Living Lab in Chad proposes novel sustainable and regenerative techniques of cotton production. The Living Lab will be able to concentrate on regenerative agroforestry and land restoration while working with 500 cotton growers in Chad thanks to LVMH's sponsorship.

Diverse tree plantings increase biodiversity, improve soil fertility and water retention, and increase the income of nearby farmers. For instance, mango trees and timber can both produce food for the farmer's own consumption or be sold in nearby markets. Some tree species fix nitrogen, which fertilizes the soil and serves as livestock food. Tall tree species can create a protective canopy over the forest and lower evapotranspiration, which lowers the need for water.

The Living Lab will set up neighborhood tree nurseries in collaboration with the neighborhood to create high-quality planting materials. Additionally, it promotes accessibility to tools for planting and harvesting, product storage, and environmentally friendly watering techniques. The Living Lab also seeks to develop markets for complementary commodities like cassava, maize, and pepper at the opposite end of the process, where it hopes to enhance the current cotton value chains.

Circular Bioeconomy Alliance Chair Marc Palahí, said that this is a really significant project for the CBA because it shows how the need to decarbonize economic sectors like the fashion industry can act as a catalyst to restore damaged landscapes and transform them into ones that are regenerative while also bringing jobs, prosperity, and optimism to Africa. Africa's climate, poverty, and land degradation crises need for comprehensive solutions that link sustainable regenerative landscapes to sustainable markets.

Hélène Valade, LVMH Environmental Development Director, said that through its LIFE360 environmental plan, LVMH has vowed to be a model change agent, making the preservation of biodiversity and battling climate change its top priorities. By 2030, LVMH wants to maintain 5 million hectares and integrate regenerative agriculture into all of its strategic supply chains. LVMH is happy to support its new project in Chad to protect local biodiversity, combat climate change, and prevent desertification. LVMH is already supporting regenerative cotton production in Turkey.

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