Cotton Life Cycle Assessment

This global cotton LCA provides data to direct our improvements

The U.S. and Australian cotton industries prioritize sustainability strategies and practices based on scientific data. Understanding the full range of a textile’s environmental impacts requires the rigorous research and data analysis that goes into a cotton Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). An LCA creates a framework in which to measure and analyze potential environmental impacts from raw material extraction to product disposal.


In 2010, the Cotton Foundation performed the most comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment of cotton clothing ever attempted. In 2016, they updated and expanded the previous cotton LCA to provide the most detailed and current global data for the sustainability community and sourcing professionals.


Through this LCA, cotton supply chains can identify key environmental impact areas and implement benchmarking to measure future progress. Findings also continue to guide how the Cotton LEADS℠ founders invest in research and development.

Life Cycle Analysis of Cotton - Cotton Tiller

Cotton Life Cycle Assessment at a Glance

The 2016 cotton LCA covers all phases of product life and the relationship between cotton and the environment. A larger pool of global consumers was included compared to the previous study to more accurately reflect the impact of consumer use and disposal of cotton textiles. 

  Results indicated that the textile manufacturing and consumer use phases dominated most of the impact categories assessed. Agricultural production contributed less to the total impact than textile manufacturing and consumer use, although it was responsible for the majority of impacts related to water consumption and eutrophication potential. 

Get more detailed results by phase of life in the Executive Summary, or watch the webinar to gain valuable insights for decision-makers in the textile industry.

Accountability Down the Chain

Explore the research and resources we’ve pulled this information from.