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36 major brands pledge to use sustainable cotton by 2025

Another 23 apparel and footwear brands including Adidas, Burberry and Timberland have joined a pledge to use 100% sustainable cotton by 2025.

The move means the so-called Sustainable Cotton Communiqué has now been signed by 36 major brands and retailers, according to an announcement at the annual Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference in Washington DC.

The programme launched earlier this year by the International Sustainability Unit (ISU) led by HRH Prince of Wales, in collaboration with Marks & Spencer and The Soil Association (UK).

H&M, M&S, Levi's, Lindex, Nike, Woolworths, prAna and F&F at Tesco are just a handful of the brands that have now made the commitment.

The pledge demonstrates there is a demand for more sustainable cotton and the commitment made by companies will help to drive sustainable practices across the sector.

"In turn, this will help alleviate the environmental and social costs that are too often associated with cotton production, including the over-use of pesticides, the release of greenhouse gases, the depletion of local water sources and rising costs of production," Textile Exchange adds.

While there have been "substantial gains" in scaling the production of sustainable forms of cotton – which now stands at over 3m tonnes – companies are actively sourcing just one-fifth of this.

"In order for sustainable cotton to become standard business practice, the amount of sustainable cotton grown and bought must increase significantly. This pledge sends a signal to millions of producers that there is a real demand for a more sustainable approach to cotton production that reduces the environmental and social costs.

Launched separately at the event two reports; one investigating pesticide use in cotton, and another that found sustainable cotton production is now replacing genetically modified (GM) cotton in India.

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