Cotton is a natural fibre grown all around the world by millions of farmers. We depend on the world’s natural resources to craft high quality products, therefore addressing environmental issues surrounding cotton agriculture is important to us.
We want to ensure that our raw materials are sourced responsibly.
Openness and transparency throughout the supply chain play a vital role in modern, low impact manufacturing and – as part of our sustainability strategy – our goal is to increase the amount of responsible cotton we use, while improving its traceability. In 2019 we began introducing responsible cotton by becoming members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). We chose BCI as a first step because it enabled us to make immediate and scalable change, while maintaining partnerships with our existing network of longstanding suppliers as they too progressed in their journeys.
At a minimum, our cotton is sourced via BCI however, we are focused on transitioning to more preferable alternatives such as recycled and organic cotton. We know this will take time as demand for organic cotton is outstripping supply and a lot of development is needed to ensure our required level of quality is met as recycled cotton has much shorter fibre lengthens, but we are working closely with our partners to mitigate these challenges.
We are also closely following developments in regenerative cotton farming and in-conversion cotton which represents the transition processes between conventional cotton to organic cotton, a process that takes a minimum of 3 years.
We know we must do more. Our future vision puts traceability at the forefront, enabling us to directly participate in the chain of custody throughout the supply chain, delivering transparency from farm to product.
We are committed to improving cotton farming practices globally with Better Cotton.
Better Cotton’s mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment.
Better Cotton trains farmers to use water efficiently, care for soil health and natural habitats, reduce use of the most harmful chemicals and respect workers’ rights and wellbeing.
Better Cotton is sourced via a chain of custody model called mass balance. This means that Better Cotton is not physically traceable to end products, however, Better Cotton Farmers benefit from the demand for Better Cotton in equivalent volumes to those we ‘source.’
We know There can be many benefits associated with the cultivation of organic cotton; from reducing environmental footprints to promoting safe work and bettering farmer livelihoods. That’s why we have identified organic cotton as a key choice within our responsible cotton options.
Cotton grown to certified organic agriculture standards promotes healthier soil which builds up nutrients and increases fertility, substituting synthetic pesticides and chemicals with natural composting as fertiliser, using less energy.
As well as promoting a safe working environment for farmers, the majority of organic cotton is rainfed, using significantly less water.
In many cases, by growing other crops alongside organic cotton, farming families and their communities are afforded a more stable, accessible, abundant, and diverse food supply, as well as another source of income.
By introducing organic cotton within our collections at Whistles, we are furthering our efforts to source more responsible and sustainable raw materials.
We aim to create a positive impact for cotton farmers, our industry and the environment.