100% organic cotton in all apparel by 2040

Accounting for 52% of everything we make, cotton is our most imporant natural fibre. It is an incredibly valuable resource that improves the lives of millions – from the farmers who grow it, and the spinners who turn it into thread – to our customers who love wearing it. At the same time, cotton is an extremely polluting raw material, and uses a lot of water to process and grow. This is why we're transforming into an organic cotton business. Organic means no chemicals, no GMOs, no pesticides, less water. Organic means a better life for farmers: no exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides, sustainable harvests and in our farmers’ words: ‘healthier soil for the next generation to farm from’.

This year, we converted 5.4% of our Global Cotton Volume to Organic Cotton – exceeding our 2019 milestone of 3% and meeting our 2020 milestone one year early.

With less than 1% of global supply being organic, we recognise that we cannot sustainably transform into an organic cotton brand in current market conditions. We have completed our first year of Farmer Engagement and Development (FED) which aims to stabilise and grow the Organic Cotton value chain – through disruptive investment at the base of the chain.

What have we converted?

Polos and core basic (non-printed) Tees

This category was the first to switch as it is one of our largest categories. We are phasing organic through the range this year, and aim to convert all Polos and core basic Tees by the end the AW20 season.? ?

We have made a significant impact in our first year with 26% styles converted in by SS19.

Sleepwear

We moved all cotton based sleepwear into Organic Cotton from FL18, two years ahead of plan. Going forward, organic cotton will become a core part of sleepwear, underwear and socks.

How we are growing the Organic Cotton value chain

Farmer Engagement and Development (FED)

In May 2019 we completed our first year working directly with 968 organic local farmers, across 16 villages in Madhya Pradesh, India.?

These farmers are either organic by default (i.e. they do not have access to conventional seeds, fertilisers, etc.), or have recently chosen to convert back to organic farming for the betterment?of their land.?

Utilising local trainers specialising in best organic practices and winter cropping, we are investing in education programmes to help utilise best techniques – and ultimately maximise yields through better inputs and agronomic practices.

This is our first year operating at this level of the supply chain, and through our India Sourcing Office we have fed bales from these farms into three of our India based factories making our Polos and core basic tees.

By doing this we are able to get better visibility of payments made to farmers for their organic cotton – prioritising an Organic premium on bales to better support livelihoods.

FED Empowerment for Women Farmers

Female participation across the 16 farms we work with runs at approximately 50%, and as such we have looked at ways to connect with these farmers to help them build better livelihoods.

Our FED team has recruited two dedicated women’s welfare trainers to work directly with women farmers to raise awareness on gender specific health and hygiene, education access and human rights.

This work directly supports progress towards Gender Equality SDG 5 at farm level.

What's next?

Having already met our 2020 target, our plan is to learn from this year, expand the use of organic cotton into new categories and continue developing our FED programme to deliver best possible value to farmers.?

Our next target is 10% by 2025 which – based on current rates of transformation – is achievable, while ensuring we continue to invest in building capacity within our supply chain through to farms.

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