Textile exchange launches organic cotton assessment tool

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-03-26 17:00:00 – Texas

Textile Exchange a non-profit organization committed to the responsible expansion of textile sustainability across the global textile value chain has launched its own Organic Cotton Sustainability Assessment Tool (OC-SAT), which looks at the impacts of organic cotton based on the results of questionnaires sent to organic cotton producers.

The data (from producer groups) feeds into an online tool (OC-SAT), although this is not interactive as the name suggests, i.e., users can navigate but not enter or play with data themselves; it does contain useful background information on topics although of course it is not a required tool for certification.

Data for the assessment tool comes from 14 countries, of which eight are included in this report (Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, China, India and Turkey), with 36 surveys completed between 2011 and 2013.

The data is organized under the usual triple bottom line division of environmental, economic and social aspects, with a framework based on existing frameworks such as COSA and ISEAL, FAO SAFA Guidelines, and so on. The environmental aspect looks at water, soil and pest management, biodiversity and climate change, while the social includes food security, decent work, equality and rural development and the economic looks at livelihood, producer organization, sustainability standards, risk management, business investment, and seed security.

The report highlights benefits (diversification) from organic cotton as well as challenges (including pricing and productivity). Some findings include that 80 percent of organic cotton is rain-fed, and that most producer groups report some form of decent work, including Fair trade, while income diversification is also a focus.

TE offers three key messages from the research: that organic farmers need business security, that being organized helps promote decent work and it flags up the importance of diversity (crop, income, social)

Textile Exchange motivates to accelerate sustainable practices in the textile value chain with a focus on minimizing the harmful impacts of the global textile industry and maximizing its positive effects.

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