These include an effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 39% and increase soil carbon by 30% in the 10 years between 2015 and 2025 While these are aggressive goals, we think they are possible. In the U.S., cotton has seen a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 1980.2 How? Cotton growers today use more efficient irrigation systems and use crop inputs more efficiently while increasing the amount of cotton produced per acre.

Making polyester fiber emits 3 times more greenhouse gases than cotton. Making nylon fiber takes nearly 5 times more greenhouse gases compared to cotton.3

If conservation tillage practices were adopted by just 20% of cotton growers globally, this shift alone would sequester 3.9 million tons of carbon per year in the soil – the same as taking more than 700,000 cars off the road for a year.4

IN THIS SECTION
Irregation

Carbon capture and storage

The cotton plant captures carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in its fibers and the soil. Conservation tillage practices capture as much as 400 pounds of carbon per acre per year in cotton production.5

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Textile Dyes

Emissions

Emissions from cotton production are declining thanks to new technologies. The U.S. Cotton community has set goals to reduce GHG emissions by 39 percent by 2025, which is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

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THE LATEST

How Cotton Can Fit Into a Sustainable Future

How Cotton Can Fit Into a Sustainable Future

Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability and how the choices they make affect the environment. Responses to Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ survey show that consumer interest in sustainability and apparel has increased from 46% in 2011 to 49.7%...

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How Cotton Can Fit Into a Sustainable Future

Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability and how the choices they make affect the environment. Responses to Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ survey show that consumer interest in sustainability and apparel has increased from 46% in 2011 to 49.7%...

read more

How Cotton Can Fit Into a Sustainable Future

Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability and how the choices they make affect the environment. Responses to Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ survey show that consumer interest in sustainability and apparel has increased from 46% in 2011 to 49.7%...

read more

Growing with Data

Lifelong learners -- that is one dependable constant though generations of growers, their ability to adapt and learn through changing conditions. Learning about the land, learning about new techniques, and applying them to grow more sustainably — not only what’s...

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  1. Measures and verifies sustainability commitments. U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. (2021, June 3). https://trustuscotton.org/about/measures-and-verifies/.
  2. Cotton Carbon Footprint U.S.: Cotton LEADS: Cotton & climate change. Cotton LEADS – Sustainable Cotton Production. (2019, April 26). https://cottonleads.org/sustainable-production/carbon-footprint-united-states/.
  3. Moazzem, S., Crossin, E., Daver, F., & Wang, L. (2018). Baseline Scenario of Carbon Footprint of Polyester T-Shirt. Journal of Fiber Bioengineering and Informatics 11(1), 1–14. http://journal10.magtechjournal.com/Jwk_JoFBaI/EN/Y2018/V11/I1/1.
  4. Cotton Incorporated (2021). Monthly Economic Letter: Cotton Market Fundamentals & Price Outlook, February 2021; Franzluebbers, A. J. (2010). Achieving Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration with Conservation Agricultural Systems in the Southeastern United States. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 74(2), 347–357. https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2009.0079.
  5. Causarano, H. J., A. J. Franzluebbers, D. W. Reeves, and J. N. Shaw. 2006. Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration in Cotton Production Systems of the Southeastern United States: A Review. J. Environ. Qual. 35:1374-1383.