WAKEFIELD – The new updated version of MCL News & Media's authoritative Inside Guide to Cotton & Sustainability - due out next month - warns that the industry is running out of time to reduce its environmental impact.

The second edition of the 136-page independent guidebook, first published in 2012, is considered a seminal reference source for brands, retailers and the whole textile supply chain.

Researched and written by cotton expert Simon Ferrigno and edited by Ecotextile News editor John Mowbray, it provides in-depth, expert analysis and guidance on how to tackle the issue of sustainability in global cotton supply chains.

In his introduction to the new edition, Ferrigno explains how the cotton industry is facing a pivotal moment, saying: "Cotton is a complicated crop with an ancient history and a very uncertain future.

"We now have a decade to stop runaway climate change, and global soil degradation is worsening. Nor does cotton operate in isolation. It sits in an agricultural economy under multiple pressures: environmental, social, commercial and political. Humankind will need to be very fleet of foot to stave off serious problems in future."

Ferrigno adds that sustainability claims for different types of cotton have been complicated by the use of poor or misleading data and a lack of consistency in how impacts are assessed.

"What farmers need and want may be in conflict with what a cotton buyer wants. Where does corporate responsibility lie: with customers or beyond? With 33 million in Africa vulnerable to climate crisis and famine, this is an existential question. If we don’t shift to total responsibility by all for all, then we are +2OC toast," he writes.

Ferrigno says the newly revised guide asks bigger questions including whether existing standards and schemes are still fit for purpose: "They are, after all, a decades old response in a world that is now fully digital, which makes a more flexible due diligence approach possible," he says.

Completely updated to include the latest, accurate data on cotton, the revised guide will help retailers and brands to navigate their way through the complex challenges and potential pitfalls of current and future global cotton sector strategies.

It will also address how cotton fits into the circular economy and whether new technologies such as blockchain can ever replace existing ways to improve supply chain transparency.

The guide will also look at cotton’s perceived ‘bad reputation’ in terms of pesticide use, water conservation and other challenges, including the misuse of statistics and data, as well as the latest regulatory responses that impact on the sector.

Research and development responses to improve the environmental impact will also be detailed (including biotech) and there will be an update on GMOs and additional discussion of new techniques like gene editing.

One chapter will be dedicated the measuring and defining what ‘sustainable cotton’ actually means – and it will give independent progress reports on organisations and standards in this space such as Cotton made in Africa, the Better Cotton Initiative, organic cotton, etc.

Other topics covered include a brief history of cotton, cotton and modernisation, global production, the new regulatory and monitoring environment, due diligence, science-based targets and natural capital accounting.

To pre-order the second edition of the Inside Guide to Cotton & Sustainability with a final 10 per cent discount – offer ends 31st January – please follow this link.

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