MEMPHIS. Tenn. – The Cotton LEADS™ program today welcomed its newest member, Gap Inc., and applauded the company’s move to extend its commitment to sustainable raw material sourcing. The leading global retailer joins more than 470 program partners that acknowledge the ongoing sustainable gains by United States (U.S.) and Australian cotton growers. Gap Inc., which includes Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta brands, has previously announced a range of sustainability goals, including a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from their global operations by the end of 2020. In April, Gap brand committed to sourcing 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2021, and Athleta aims to use 80% sustainable fibers in Athleta apparel by 2020.
“Reducing the climate and water impacts of our product assortment and our global supply chain remain a key focus for us,” says Melissa Fifield, Senior Director of Sustainable Innovation at Gap Inc. “The GHG reductions already achieved by cotton growers from Australia and the United States give us confidence that by partnering with the Cotton LEADS™ program we can encourage and support measurable, real reductions to help meet our sustainability goals.”
Mark Messura, senior vice president Global Supply Chain Marketing at Cotton Incorporated, a founding member organization of the Cotton LEADS™ program, highlights other benefits. “Retail, brand and manufacturing partners in the Cotton LEADS™ program recognize the investments in responsible production that Australian and U.S. growers are making, along with their commitment to supporting improvements in cotton globally. These efforts in continual improvement come from the cotton producers themselves and impose no downstream costs on the supply chain.”
Cotton LEADS™ is a partnership between the entire U.S. and Australian cotton industries to promote responsible cotton production practices. One unique program aspect is that the growers invest in their research and development and share best practices for the industry.
“The Cotton LEADS™ program aims to influence cotton supply chain strategies by raising awareness of characteristics common to U.S. and Australian cotton industries,” says Adam Kay, CEO of Cotton Australia, a founding organization of the Cotton LEADS™ program. “Our countries have responsible production practices, extensive regulations that protect the environment and people, the ability to affect positive changes at national scales—all combined with independent, scientifically-based measurement of environmental impacts and traceability.”
Cotton LEADS™ partners include global manufacturers, brands and retailers. The partners are committed to the principles of the Cotton LEADS™ program and encourage the use of sustainable and responsibly-grown cotton.