Kathmandu to phase out conventional cotton

kathmanduOutdoor apparel retailer, Kathmandu, has increased its use of sustainable cotton from 38 per cent to 59 per cent this year, according to a company sustainability report.

The Kiwi-based brand said it has set a goal of phasing out conventional cotton completely by 2020.

“We care about promoting and protecting workers’ rights throughout our supply chain, and improving working conditions,” said Manu Rastogi, textile R&D and responsible materials manager. “We also care about sustainability and protecting the outdoor environment we love to play in.

“As we use cotton in a range of our products, it’s important the cotton we use is environmentally–friendly and ethically produced,” he said.

Kathmandu will combine three sustainable cotton initiatives – BCI (Better Cotton Initiative), organic and Fairtrade – to build a flexible fabric sourcing strategy that moves them away from conventional cotton.

With the textile industry undergoing major reform in meeting consumers’ and manufacturers’ desires to have more ecologically and socially sustainable management systems in place.

“The mix of BCI, organic and Fairtrade cotton in our portfolio gives us the opportunity to create an organic, Fairtrade product range for our highly responsible consumers, who are willing to pay a higher price, and also take responsibility for bulk cotton production via the Better Cotton Initiative,” said Rastogi.

“This means Kathmandu can improve its social and environmental performance and can still meet the demands and expectations of its customers.”

The Better Cotton Initiative came out of a ‘round table’ led by the World Wildlife Foundation back in 2005, with the goal of finding more sustainable solutions for farmers and the environment.

By 2015, BCI had reached 1.6 million cotton farmers across 21 countries in five continents.

“We are building the momentum we need to transform the market,” said Alan McClay, BCI CEO.

BCI’s reports show farmers in India have raised their yields by 11 per cent while cutting synthetic pesticides by 20 per cent.

The initiative aims to have 5 million farmers producing 8.2 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton by 2020. That’s around 30 per cent of global cotton production. Organic cotton, by comparison, makes up around 1 per cent of global cotton production.

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