Textile Exchange releases annual report showing the 2018/19 organic cotton harvest to be the second-largest on record.
Textile Exchange’s 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report reveals that organic cotton production increased 31 percent over the previous year and shows promise for continued growth according to pre-COVID reporting. In a post-COVID world, as a growing system that honors and sustains life, organic cotton has the potential to restore health and promote positive climate action.
Lubbock, Texas | August 11, 2020, at 10 am CST – Textile Exchange releases its 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report, the only report of its kind to cover production trends across the global organic cotton market. The report reveals data collected for the 2018/19 harvest year and shows an increase of 31 percent in organic cotton production over the previous year, making it the second-largest harvest on record after 2009/10. In addition to data per region, the report includes insights from industry professionals about their current projects, challenges, successes, goals, and visions for the organic cotton sector, with a particular focus this year on impacts of, and responses to, the dual threat of COVID-19 and climate change.
In short, the results show that 222,134 farmers grew 239,787 metric tons of organic cotton in 19 countries on 418,935 hectares. In addition, 55,833 hectares of cotton-growing land were in-conversion to organic, helping to meet the increasing demand.
2018/19 Organic cotton production snapshot:
While this report celebrates growth in global organic cotton production and the important contributions this makes to the health of people, the environment, and farming communities around the world, Textile Exchange is highly conscious of the turmoil the world is in right now. From the Coronavirus pandemic to reports of egregious human rights abuses within the textile industry and our communities – we are not short of reasons to support farming and processing systems that protect the health of people and the planet.
La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director for Textile Exchange and life-long organic cotton farmer, said, “Organic farming is a way of living in harmony with the land and is a way to honor life – life in the soil for the farm, for the family, for the community, and ultimately for the world. In times like the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded just how connected we are to each other – we are an ecosystem, and what we do impacts the whole.”
Textile Exchange works to accelerate environmentally sustainable practices in the textile value chain, which has positive impacts on climate and goes hand-in-hand with social responsibility expectations to ensure that the rights of all people are respected. We applaud the growers and companies that make long-term investments in and prioritize the transparency of commitments to their products with globally recognized, credible, third-party standards. The growth of such standards was also reported alongside the production increase for 2018/19.
Facilities certified to leading voluntary organic textile standards saw significant growth. Facilities certified to the Organic Content Standard (OCS) grew by 48 percent, and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) grew by 35 percent.
To create a complete picture of global organic cotton supply, the 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report shares production data from all regions known to be growing certified organic cotton around the world, totaling 19 countries. According to report findings, 97 percent of global organic cotton is produced in seven countries: India (51 percent), China (17 percent), Kyrgyzstan (10 percent), Turkey (10 percent), Tajikistan (5 percent), Tanzania (2 percent), and the USA (2 percent).
Of the 55,833 hectares of land in-conversion to organic, India and Pakistan lead the way, followed by Turkey, Greece, and Tajikistan.
Looking to the future, pre-COVID estimates show that organic cotton production will grow by a further 10 percent in 2019/20. The next few months will no-doubt unveil challenges that businesses are enduring, and it will be no different for cotton farmers as the unpredictability will impact the next growing cycle. The future will require increased transparency and sharing of the risks and rewards as we collectively aspire to “Climate Action” as well as the other 16 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Communication, trust, and commitment will be essential.
About Textile Exchange
Textile Exchange is a global nonprofit that creates leaders in the sustainable fiber and materials industry. The organization develops, manages, and promotes a suite of leading industry standards as well as collects and publishes vital industry data and insights that enable brands and retailers to measure, manage, and track their use of preferred fiber and materials.
With a membership that represents leading brands, retailers, and suppliers, Textile Exchange has, for years, been positively impacting climate through accelerating the use of preferred fibers across the global textile industry and is now making it an imperative goal through its 2030 Strategy: Climate+. Under the Climate+ strategic direction, Textile Exchange will be the driving force for urgent climate action with a goal of 35-45% reduced CO2 emissions from textile fiber and material production by 2030.
To learn more about Textile Exchange, visit TextileExchange.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TextileExchange.