Textile Exchange Stands Behind LCA of Organic Cotton

Read our full response here. 

Textile Exchange’s 2014 Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of Organic Cotton that was produced in 2014 by thinkstep (formerly PE International and now part of Sphera), a neutral third-party, is being questioned in an opinion piece that will be published by Apparel Insider in its bi-monthly printed magazine expected to come out November 2019. The overall intent of the articles written by this author (in the upcoming publication and previously in the May 2019 issue) appears to be to create doubt around the environmental benefits of organic and other sustainable cotton initiatives. This is being done by attempting to discredit the water-saving data that is reported in the LCA of Organic Cotton.

Textile Exchange would like to reassure its Members and stakeholders that we stand behind the data that has been collected and reported in the LCA of Organic Cotton. It was the first of its kind for organic cotton and is the best publicly available LCA on the topic to date; it was based on data collected from every organic cotton producing region, aggregated and weighted according to volume to calculate a global average. LCAs provide a snapshot of a select number of environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy use. Textile Exchange believes that the LCA of Organic Cotton is a useful tool in identifying the benefits of organic farming. We know, without a doubt, that organic agriculture is imperative to sustaining life for future generations. In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Textile Exchange does not find these articles to be based in fact, nor with the scientific rigor that is to be expected in an analysis, but rather they are opinion-pieces. As such, we will not participate in a debate with the author or Apparel Insider who seem to prioritize sensationalism in order to drive traffic to the article and the publication. Textile Exchange has spent countless hours over an eight-month period answering questions and inviting the author to lend her insights as an active member of a wider group of cotton sustainability stakeholders developing ongoing research focusing on data collection for key performance indicators – these invites have gone unanswered.  It is clear that this is not her objective. As a non-profit organization, our limited resources are better spent on projects where we can influence positive change and collaborate effectively without bias and within a scientifically sound framework. Access our full response to Apparel Insider here along with the full message to Textile Exchange Members and stakeholders.