An Australian cotton delegation including Cotton Australia staff and a cotton farmer from Gunnedah NSW recently took part in a number of global sustainable fashion forums in Europe.
Gunnedah cotton farmer Scott Morgan presented his on-farm climate change adaptation and mitigation work at the Better Cotton Conference and the Textile Exchange Sustainable Cotton Round Table in Amsterdam, while Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay participated in the opening session for the Better Cotton Conference.
Cotton to Market Program Manager Brooke Summers then attended the Global Fashion Agenda Conference in Copenhagen, and Premiere Vision, the sustainable fabric fair in Paris, to learn about European policy settings, innovations and other global drivers that will impact at farm level.
“The key take outs from these events is that the Strategic Roadmap for Australian Cotton which is under development could not come at a more crucial time,” Brooke said.
“To capitalise on 30 years of on-farm investment and progress in sustainability, we need to move fast on traceability, sustainably certified cotton, impact data and human rights in order to both ensure market access and generate premiums over and above the traditional premiums received for quality.
“Australian cotton farms are a long way from the policy makers in Europe but 16 pieces of legislation under the EU Green Deal, increasing ESG reporting requirements, human rights legislation and sustainable cotton commitments from most major brands means we must be able to provide verified data to support our claims.
“Unfortunately, at many of these global forums the farmer voice is missing, which is why it’s essential Cotton Australia attends, presents and becomes part of the conversation to ensure that brands and NGOs understand the impacts of the rules they’re setting, as they play out at farm level.
“The Australian Cotton Strategic Roadmap, due for completion in August, will set an agreed industry plan for how to ensure alignment between industry and customer needs, and from Cotton Australia’s perspective we want to ensure that farmers receive the value for their data, sustainability and traceability credentials,” she said.