USA and Australia Announce Joint Sustainability Initiative

Adam Kay

Two of the world’s top producers have teamed up to create a program to help companies throughout the cotton supply chain source their fiber in a responsible manner, according to a joint announcement released yesterday. The Cotton LEADS program, a joint initiative developed by US-based Cotton Incorporated and Cotton Australia, was created to help raise awareness of the responsible growing practices in their respective countries.
The partnership unites two producers that have similar national approaches to cotton production, according to Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay. “Both countries approach improvement on a national level,” Kay said. “This includes national reporting and regulatory enforcement, but also facilitates the national implementation of best practices and the ability to collect data on a national level.”
The initiative was developed to help business throughout the cotton supply chain meet their sustainability goals, according to Cotton Incorporated CEO Berrye Worsham. “Apparel brands, retailers, and manufacturers require large volumes and a reliable supply of responsibly produced fiber, as well as proof of responsible production. Through Cotton LEADS, we demonstrate how cotton grown in the United States and Australia can help meet these requirements.”
The program is founded on five core principles:
A commitment to the social, environmental, economic, and regulatory factors to produce world-class cotton.
The recognition that sustainable and responsible cotton production requires continual improvement, investment, research, and sharing of best practices information among growers and industry.
An understanding that leading change in a responsible and sustainable cotton practices will have the most positive impact when implemented in collaboration with farm, regional, national and international programs.
A belief in the benefit of working cooperatively with similar programs that seek to advance responsible and sustainable cotton production in an effort to keep global cotton competitive in world fiber markets.
Confidence in a cotton identification system that ensures traceability from farm to manufacturer.
The National Cotton Council of America and its export promotion program, Cotton Council International, join Cotton Australia and Cotton Incorporated as founding members.  A committee comprised of three members each from the United States and Australia, as well as two members from partnering industry organizations, will guide Cotton LEADS activities and the use of program funds.

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