Cotton-boll-1024x575

Planning An Effective Cotton Strategy

If you use cotton in your products and are looking to improve the sustainability of your supply, it’s essential to create a robust cotton strategy. Change doesn’t happen by default, it happens by design. To guide you on your journey towards a more sustainable cotton portfolio, TE has developed a number of tools and resources, all of which you can access on this page.

At TE, we promote fairly traded organic cotton as the “gold standard”, but recognize the important role that other initiatives play in making cotton agriculture a more sustainable endeavor. We encourage brands and retailers to develop a cotton strategy that best fits their company’s business and starting position, and a portfolio approach can be the best way to get started. Each of the initiatives featured in these resources feel that, together, we can really change the sector.

You can read a more detailed overview of TE’s position on preferred (more sustainable) cotton options using the link below.

TE’s Position on Preferred Cotton


“Create A Cotton Strategy” Recorded Presentation

This recording was produced in collaboration with some of the key cotton sustainability standards and initiatives, and provides an overview of the various approaches they are taking to make cotton production more sustainable. Standards and initiatives featured in the presentation include the Better Cotton Initiative, Bayer e3, Cotton made in Africa, Fairtrade, Organic, REEL, Cotton 2040, CottonConnect, the Organic Cotton Accelerator and the Organic Cotton Round Table.

You will first learn about some of the current trends in cotton and the negative impacts that result from chemically intensive (conventional) cotton production. You will then hear directly from representatives of each of the above listed standards and initiatives as they provide a brief introduction to the work they are doing to lessen the impacts of cotton production on people and the environment.

Recorded Presentation

Presentation Slides


Preferred Cotton Matrix

The Preferred Cotton Matrix is a new tool developed by TE that provides a high-level overview of some of the key preferred cotton options currently on the market – including both cotton production systems and recycled cotton options. The matrix format allows for quick and easy comparisons across a wide range of criteria, from social considerations and LCA impact data (where available) to quality and cost implications for brands and retailers.

Featured cotton production systems include chemically-intensive (conventional) cotton, Bayer e3, Better CottonCotton made in Africa, Cleaner Cotton, Fairtrade, Organic (inc. OCS and GOTS) and REEL. Featured recycled cotton options include Evrnu, Re:newcell, Recover®, TENCEL® made using cotton waste and Worn Again.

Please note that this is a live resource and will be updated as more information becomes available. If you have additional information to contribute to the matrix, please send it to Lisa Emberson.

Cotton Production Systems Matrix

Recycled Cotton Options Matrix


Material Snapshots and Summaries 

TE’s Material Snapshots and Summaries help brands make decisions on which preferred fiber or material is the right choice for them by providing a concise look at the raw material options, including agricultural processes, social impacts, and processing differences that make material sustainability profiles different. They also provide information on material properties, certifications, and sourcing information since sustainability is only one of the many reasons why a particular material is chosen.

Material SummariesProvide a summary view of 33 different fibers and materials geared towards users such as designers and developers, who may not require such technical information as is provided in the newer Material Snapshots. Cotton-specific Material Summaries currently available include: Organic, BCI, Cleaner Cotton, Cotton made in Africa, Fairtrade and recycled.

Material Snapshots: Offer a deep dive into 29 different fibers and materials, combining available LCA data and information with detailed literature reviews. The new snapshots have been designed for more technical users such as materials, sourcing, and sustainability professionals. Cotton-specific Material Snapshots currently available include: BCI, Organic, Conventional-India, Conventional-China and Conventional-USA.

Use the link below to access the full suite of Material Snapshots and Summaries:

Material Snapshots & Summaries


Organic Cotton and Preferred Fiber Market Reports 2017 

TE annually researches and produces market reports for organic cotton and preferred fibers and materials. The Organic Cotton Market Report (OCMR) provides an annual deep dive into the global production, consumption, key trends, challenges and opportunities, and inspiring stories in organic cotton from across the sector. The Preferred Fiber and Materials Market Report (PFMR) offers a snapshot of the wider preferred fiber and materials landscape, with a focus on growth and innovation in the industry.

TE’s extensive database and supply chain connections allow us to provide unique insights into the industry, and we strive to bring data alive and make it more accessible by producing interactive and highly visual reports. The data for the leader-boards that feature in both reports is derived from company submissions to TE’s Preferred Fiber and Materials Benchmark.

2017 Organic Cotton Market Report

2017 Preferred Fiber & Materials Market Report


Cotton Options Chart 2016 

The Cotton Options Chart, which features in TE’s annual markets reports and presentations, is a more streamlined version of TE’s Preferred Cotton Matrix, described above. It provides key data and information on some of the main preferred cotton production systems, including Better Cotton, Bayer e3, Cotton made in Africa, Fairtrade, Organic and REEL.

Cotton Options Chart 2016