COTTON USA – Natural, Renewable & Sustainable
COTTON USA - the natural choice!
Cotton is considered a natural, renewable and biodegradable fiber. Cotton has been used to dress and protect mankind for at least 7,000 years.
Today cotton is the fabric of a global industry that provides apparel such as T-shirts, lingerie and denim, home textiles such as sheets and towels, and even food and medical products. Cotton surrounds, comforts and nourishes us on a daily basis.
To ensure people can continue to reap cotton’s natural benefits, today and in the future, the U.S. cotton industry is committed to producing cotton in a sustainable manner, taking into account the economy, environment and social responsibility.
More sustainable agricultural production must balance a growing economy, protection for the environment and social responsibility. The most sustainable choice is the one where the net effects come closest to meeting these goals.
Sustainability seeks to achieve a successful balance between quality life, environment and economics.
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Both conventional and organic cottons from the U.S. can achieve this balance of quality of life, environment and economics sought for sustainability. Mills, brands, retailers and consumers can be assured that the U.S. cotton industry supports sustainability as defined above and the goal of environmental, economic, health and social responsibility for production agriculture.
COTTON USA FACTS
- Modern technology minimizes the environmental impact of cotton production. U.S. cotton farming utilize the most modern and advanced technology. This means there is now less land, water and energy use, less soil erosion, and reduced pesticide application per unit output. Advanced production practices annually save over 1 billion liters of tractor fuel and limits greenhouse gas (CO2 equivalents) emissions. Carbon sequestered annually in the world cotton fiber supply is the oil equivalent to taking 7.25 million passenger vehicles from the highways.
- U.S. cotton can supply the world’s increasing demand for natural fibers on less land. Modern seed technology conservation tillage practices and utilization of the most advanced technology practices help U.S. farmers yield more cotton while using less land and resources. U.S. cotton farmers have been able to supply the market and meet annual rise in fiber demand on reduced land area, freeing land for conservation and other uses.
- U.S. cotton production uses a small amount of pesticides compared with other crops. Farmers who live and work on their land since generations have every personal and economic incentive to use fewer chemicals in production. Globally in 2009, only 6.2% of all pesticides applied to crops are used to grow cotton, while fruits and vegetables consumed about 29% and cereal crops including rice and corn about 35%.
- From a chemical residue standpoint, conventional raw U.S. cotton fiber is no different than organic cotton and satisfies eco-label standards. Test results since 1993 for pesticide residues on raw cotton fiber by the Bremen Cotton Exchange in Germany show that all tested cotton, including U.S. cotton, satisfies EU Eco-Label standards and pass the regulations for foodstuffs. They state that cotton, under German law, theoretically could be used as a foodstuff.
- U.S. regulatory agencies treat cotton as a food crop. Cotton is a food and fiber crop. Since cottonseed is used for both human and animal feed, including for dairy cows, in the U.S. any crop protection products that are used in the production of cotton must meet the same strict regulations as any food crop. Salad and cooking oils are made of cottonseed oil, and cotton linters are used to make products that are used in many foods such as soups and in pharmaceuticals.
- U.S. cotton is very drought and heat-tolerant. Two-thirds of U.S. cotton is produced using only rainfall - no supplemental irrigation. When supplemental water is needed advanced irrigation methods are utilized.
- Cotton plays a role in reducing greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. Cotton plants, like all plants, extract CO2 from the air and emit oxygen back into the atmosphere. The world cotton crop removes about 36 million MT of CO2 annually; the U.S. crop removes about 5-6 million MT.
- Cotton is a principal contributor to local economies. The production and processing of natural fibers worldwide employs hundreds of millions of people, particularly in developing countries. Cotton, alone, generates hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity as it moves from production at the farm level through processing and retail.
- Consumers consider cotton as safe for the environment. Results from the Global Lifestyle Monitor™ show that consumers consider cotton to be the safest fiber for the environment, rating it a positive 8.5 on a 0 to 10 scale. (THIS IS THE AVERAGE SCORE.)
- Consumers prefer natural fibers such as cotton. Results from the Global Lifestyle Monitor™ show that 58% of global consumers would pay more for clothes made of natural fibers such as cotton, and 49% of consumers surveyed worldwide believe that better quality clothes are made from 100% percent natural fiber such as cotton.
Additional information on cotton’s sustainability from Cotton Incorporated, CCI’s strategic partner in representing the U.S. cotton industry:
About Cotton Sustainability:
U.S. Cotton Sustainability:
Cotton vs. Other Fibers:
Cotton & Natural Resources:
Ask the Sustainability Desk:
Cotton From Blue to Green - Denim Recycling Program:
National Agriculture Report (TV Feature) Video:
Cotton: Focus on Sustainability Video:
Debunking the Myths of Cotton Production:
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