Cotton LEADS℠ Partner Information Session – Shanghai
January 29, 2015

The Cotton LEADS™ Program hosted a Partner Information Session on January 19th in Shanghai. Thirty-five representatives from 15 Cotton LEADS™ partner companies and 8 prospective partner companies attended the event. Following the session, Saint Angelo and Qiaode (Nantong) Textile Co., Ltd. became the newest Cotton LEADS™ partners.

Information on the state of the cotton market and a brief update of the Cotton LEADS™ program was provided. The information session focused on the program’s commitment to continuous improvement through investments in research, technology and innovation. Joint research efforts including the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and the facilitation of a Research Roundtable in 2015 were highlighted. The LCA research will be the most comprehensive and robust study of its kind – including cotton production data representing 67% of global cotton production, knit and woven manufacturing data from 5 leading textile manufacturing regions. Data collection will begin in 2015. If you would like to participate in the research, please contact the Cotton LEADS™ program.

Adam Kay, CEO of Cotton Australia, updated partners on Australia’s commitment to continual improvement as noted in the recently released 2014 Australian Sustainability Report. The focus is on identifying sustainability targets that boost farm productivity, increase water use efficiency, reduce carbon footprint, enhance biodiversity and reduce work related injuries and fatalities. Fleur Anderson, an Australian cotton grower from the Dawson Valley, central Queensland described how the Anderson family operates their farm. As a third generation cotton farmer, the Anderson’s describe sustainability as being able to hand down the farm to their children in better condition than they received it. The Anderson’s achieve this in three ways (1) constantly improving the health of our soils and waterways through management and adopting proven technologies, (2) continually improving the infrastructure on-farm and therefore it’s efficiency, (3) increasing our profitability and business management so we can manage climate variability and extreme weather events and continue to support our families and staff.

The United States’ commitment to continual improvement focuses on research and investment in cotton production and textile manufacturing. Mark Messura, Senior Vice President of Cotton Incorporated, shared a few research projects to improve water efficiency as well as the use of the Natural Resources Survey and Fieldprint Calculator to measure on-farm inputs and identify areas for improvement. Beyond agriculture, research to identify alternative chemistries for textile manufacturing, such as nonfluorine and formaldehyde-free chemistries, and technologies to reduce water, energy, and chemicals were also discussed. The VSEP technology, a filtration system to clean and reuse waste water as well as dyes was highlighted as a joint project with a Cotton LEADS™ partner.

Following the presentations, a partner discussion was facilitated. Partners were given the opportunity to request information, brainstorm activities that the program should be involved in, identify areas of the supply chain that warrant future research and discuss how partners can get involved with the Cotton LEADS™ program to further improve responsible cotton globally.

Additional Partner events are being planned in other regions later this year.

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