The Sustainable Cotton Challenge is a catalyst to spur a shift in the market toward the use of more sustainable cotton. By committing to use cotton from the respective initiatives and standards, brands are ensuring that the intentions of their sustainable sourcing strategies are maintained and the integrity of their commitments are uncompromised.
This first annual 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge Report has included information and statistics on the achievements and impacts that cotton programs are having on water, communities, soil quality, biodiversity and social considerations and regulations.
The Challenge was formed in 2017 when the Prince of Wales convened a group of CEOs through the work of his International Sustainability Unit that existed to address critical challenges facing the world. Those original 13 CEOs committed to work together to accelerate the use of sustainable cotton, which paved the way for other industry leaders to follow – resulting in now more than 39 companies committed to sourcing 100 per cent sustainable cotton by 2025.
At the time of its inception, the Challenge was known as the ‘Sustainable Cotton Communique’ and its purpose was, and still is, to increase the uptake of organic and preferred cotton, therefore increasing the income of smallholder farmers, eliminating highly hazardous pesticides, eliminating or reducing the amount of pesticides and synthetic fertilizer used, reducing water use and improving water quality and soil health, which includes positive carbon impacts as a result of more sustainable practices.
Today, 17 per cent of the world’s cotton is more sustainable, stated the report. By 2025, it is the vision of this Challenge that more than 50 per cent of the world’s cotton is converted to more sustainable growing methods. The report has set the base line for tracking progress for the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Project corporate participants and the sustainable cotton initiatives they have partnered with to advance on their journey.