latin america & the caribbean

 

africa

organic & preferred cotton


Textile Exchange recognizes the potential for the growth of the organic cotton sector in Latin America and is excited to announce that it is embarking on a series of activities to help catalyze this potential.

Each year we see more brands, retailers, and consumers looking for organic cotton in this region. At the same time, organic cotton production is increasing significantly in Brazil and Peru, and many promising projects are underway across the continent. We are excited by this momentum and are following it very closely.

As a nonprofit organization, Textile Exchange envisions a global textile industry that protects and restores the environment, reduces the climate impact of our industry, and enhances lives. We see our role as inspiring and equipping people to accelerate sustainable practices and reduce climate impact in the textile value chain. One of our levers for action to achieve this is our Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT). The OCRT is a global stakeholder platform that supports and brings together the organic cotton community to be inspired, mobilized, and equipped to act. We recognize that, to have an impact globally, we need to customize strategies at the regional level. This is why we started hosting Regional OCRT Summits and Working Groups in 2017, starting with our Pan-Africa Sourcing Working Group.

We have been delighted to see, in recent years, an increase in the participation of Latin American stakeholders at our in-person Global OCRT Summits. Many others, who could not participate in-person, have spoken to our Regional Ambassador, Silvio Moraes, to ask for updates and information. This made clear to us the importance of expanding our work in this region and developing a wider regional network. As such, we have begun planning for the following activities:

Regional Organic Cotton Round Table

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, planning had been in the works at Textile Exchange to host our first Regional OCRT Summit for Latin America and the Caribbean in northeast Brazil in September 2020. This in-person meeting can, of course, no longer happen, so we hope to hold it in September 2021 instead.

Global OCRT Summit

In the meantime, we will host a session focused on Latin America and the Caribbean will be held as part of our (now virtual) Global OCRT Summit in December 2020.

Working group

We will be setting up a small, representative group of stakeholders to help us establish a Working Group for Latin America and the Caribbean.

OCRT HUB

In September 2020 we are launching a new virtual home for the OCRT and its regional communities called the OCRT Hub. This online community will allow organic cotton stakeholders across the world and across the supply chain to connect and share their learnings.

New Report!

In light of the adoption of genetically modified (GM) cotton in seven countries in Africa, Textile Exchange’s Pan-Africa Sourcing Working Group issued a white paper, “Cotton in Africa: Sustainability at a Crossroads,” addressing the arguments for organic and other non-GM cotton production methods and the risks of expanding GM cotton on the continent. The full white paper was released June 9, 2020, and is available here. An abridged version was presented by Marco Paul, Co-CEO of bioRe Tanzania Ltd., on November 27, 2019 at the National Ecological Organic Agriculture Conference in Dodoma, Tanzania.

Get involved


We are excited about the potential for growth of the organic cotton sector in Latin America. In order to achieve this, investment in technical support from buyers will be critical for farmers to expand their production. With the knowledge and expertise of our team and the organic cotton community, we are excited to support this journey.

In order to stay updated on all the above-mentioned activities, please sign up here to register your interest and also make sure you are signed up to receive communications from Textile Exchange, which can be done at the bottom of our homepage.

Video Insights

CRS: The Power Behind Your Purchase

hessnatur: Organic Cotton in Burkina Faso

UNPCB’s Organic and Fairtrade Cotton Program

MARKET OPPORTUNITY SCOPING PROJECT RESULTS RELEASED

The agenda for the Regional Organic Cotton Round Table in Burkina Faso is framed around the results of the Market Opportunity Scoping Project (MOSP) carried out by Change Agency for Textile Exchange, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services.

Download MOSP Discussion Paper (EN)
Download MOSP Discussion Paper (FR)

Status of Organic Cotton Production in Latin America & the Caribbean


The production of organic cotton is increasing worldwide, including in the region of Latin America & the Caribbean, which saw a significant growth rate of 27 percent in 2018/19. The region accounts for 0.3 percent of global organic cotton production, growing a total of 666 metric tons (MT) of organic cotton fiber, with the potential for substantial growth.

According to Textile Exchange’s 2020 Organic Cotton Market Report, this production stemmed from three countries in 2018/19; Argentina (10.8 MT), Brazil (97 MT), and Peru (558 MT). In total, there were 2,119 organic cotton farmers in the region growing organic cotton on 2,835 hectares (ha) of land. An additional 1,272 ha in Brazil and Peru were in conversion to organic.

Quick Links

About organic cotton

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards.

Learn more

PFM ROUND TABLES

Preferred Fiber & Material Round Tables

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2019 Market report

The 2019 Organic Cotton Market Report is now available, sharing the latest data and insights from the 2017/18 harvest.

Access here

CFMB

The Corportate Fiber & Materials Benchmark (CFMB) helps companies measure, manage and integrate a preferred fiber & materials strategy.

Read more

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT

A framework for assessing the environmental, social & economic impacts of organic cotton agriculture.

Learn more

Glossary

A selection of some of the key terms and abbreviations used in the industry.

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contact us

For more information, or to register your interest, don’t hesitate to contact the team at: Materials@textileexchange.org

Organic Cotton & The SDGs

2018 High Level Political Forum

The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are part of an inter-governmental agreement of the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly. The Global Goals provide a framework to be implemented by “all countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership” around a set of 17 specific, aspirational goals that address the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

Learn more about Textile Exchange’s work on the SDGs, and about how organic cotton can help achieve the SDGs.

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the main UN platform on sustainable development and has a central role in the follow-up and review of the SDGs at the global level.

The meeting of the HLPF in 2018 was held in New York in July, and the theme was “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”. The goals reviewed included 6, 7, 11, 12, 15 and 17.

Textile Exchange partnered with TMG Think Tank for Sustainability on a special side event focusing on Landscape Restoration for Food Security and Climate Adaptation, with examples from Africa. You can read a summary of the event here. Outcomes were also shared during the Regional OCRT in Burkina Faso in September 2018.

Meeting Summary

Did You Know?

In 2015-16, Burkina Faso was the biggest organic cotton producer of West Africa





The country produced 469 MT of organic cotton in 2015-16, on 4,928 ha certified land managed by 8,382 farmers. Check out Textile Exchange’s 2017 Organic Cotton Market Report for more details.

Cotton is an important part of Burkina Faso’s economy and the main cash crop for farmers.



Cotton is the second biggest export product after gold. The predominant form of agriculture in Burkina Faso is family farming. Farmers rely on rainfall to produce staple grains, cash crops, and livestock. Read more here.

Cotton is certified at national level under UNPCB. The organic and Fairtrade cotton program was started by HELVETAS Swiss intercooperation, and has had a strong impact on smallholder farmers, particularly women.

The first organic cotton gin in West Africa is currently in development.





The gin, located in Koudougou, is a collaboration between the USDA-funded RECOLTE project, CRS, UNPCB, and SOFITEX. It is hoped to be up and running by early 2019. Read more here.