To position itself for the 21st Century, the U.S. cotton industry is examining itself from field to fabric. An in-depth understanding of the fiber’s lifecycle is vital for the industry to continue thriving in the 21st century.
Industry forces, mobilizing under an initiative called “Vision 21,” are compiling a comprehensive cotton lifecycle inventory (LCI). That inventory’s data will serve as a foundation for global cotton lifecycle evaluations -- ultimately providing a credible foundation for sustainable textile operations.
The effort, expected to take about a year, involves The Cotton Foundation, the National Cotton Council (NCC), Cotton Council International (CCI) and Cotton Incorporated. The groups have tapped PE Americas, a recognized leader in the field of LCI collection and lifecycle analysis (LCA) tool development, to head up the project.
Lifecycle assessment is a recognized method of objectively and scientifically evaluating the resource requirements of a given product and the product’s potential environmental impact during its production, use and disposal.
NCC President/CEO Mark Lange said, “Vision 21 is a project of the Cotton Foundation that involves three major areas of study. A critical component of the project is an independently conducted life cycle environmental and energy analysis for cotton consumer products.”
J. Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated, added, “The goal of the collection of this current, third-party and peer-reviewed data is that it will become a gold standard for manufacturers, brands and retailers interested in bettering their environmental bottom line and serve to further demonstrate the environmental gains the U.S. cotton industry continues to make along every link of the supply chain.”
The LCI/LCA project will use data from the top cotton-producing countries of India, China and the United States. Similarly, a sampling of key cotton textile-producing countries, including India, China, the United States, Turkey and Latin America, will be used for manufacturing benchmarking.
Lange noted that the U.S. cotton industry is confident that a transparent and well-documented cotton lifecycle inventory – one that easily can be integrated into both proprietary and open source LCA software – will benefit the industry. And, along with data set collection and tool creation, the ultimate goal is to make the information globally available.
Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.