The Lubbock, Texas-based organization noted that it’s been 20 years since Patagonia’s groundbreaking decision to convert all of its cotton products to 100 percent organic cotton. Today, companies including Patagonia are carefully balancing their use of a range of preferred fibers and materials in order to achieve the best sustainability results.
La Rhea Pepper, TE’s managing director, said, “Transformational change must be the way we do business and you’ll see some wonderful examples of the leaders that are creating and driving transformation of the textile industry in these reports.”
TE is a global nonprofit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to minimize and even reverse the negative impacts on water, soil, air, animals and the human population created by the $1.7 trillion industry.
The PFMR pays particular attention to TE-identified “lead” fibers: recycled polyester, lyocell, certified down and preferred cottons. It also features the standards that are being developed in the preferred fiber sector, including the recently launched Responsible Wool Standard.
There were 89 companies participating this year, an increase from 56 last year.
“To create true transformation, change is not enough,” Pepper said. “We change our socks — but they are still socks. In the same way, we substitute one fiber for another without addressing the business model. This is how we will see the industry transform.”
The Organic Cotton Market report provides an annual deep dive into the global production, consumption, key trends, challenges and opportunities, and inspiring stories from across the sector, including brands getting closer to their value chain and working directly with producers.
The report shows a fourfold increase globally in organic agricultural landmass to 43.7 million hectares, or 108 million acres, in 2014 from 11 million hectares, or 27.2 million acres, in 1999. Key findings indicate that the market is further positioned for solid growth across all sectors: production, B2B and direct to consumer due to the growing demand for eco-friendly merchandise.
Within the U.S., Texas experienced a 12 percent increase in production, accounting for 91 percent of the nation’s total organic cotton production.