MEMPHIS, Tenn. – L.L. Bean, the Freeport, Maine-based retailer of outdoor gear and apparel, has confirmed its commitment to sourcing responsible cotton by joining the Cotton LEADS™ program. 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.
Tom Armstrong, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer for L.L. Bean, said, “For over 105 years, we’ve helped folks enjoy the outdoors with thoughtfully made gear and apparel. To us, that means being thoughtful about the outdoors as well, which is why we partnered with the Cotton LEADS™ Program. They’re helping to ensure that the cotton we use is as responsibly produced as possible, with less water and fewer chemicals. Working with them is just one element of L.L. Bean’s overall and ongoing mission of sustainability.”
In underscoring the program’s value, Mark Messura, senior vice president Global Supply Chain Marketing at Cotton Incorporated (a Cotton LEADS™ program founding organization), said, “Our Cotton LEADS™ partners 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. Some unique program aspects are that the growers invest in their own research and development and share best practices within their industries and beyond.
Adam Kay, CEO of Cotton Australia (another program founding organization), explained that, “The Cotton LEADS™ program aims to influence cotton supply chain strategies by raising awareness of characteristics common to U.S. and Australian cotton industries. Our countries have responsible production practices based on science, 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 over many years.”
Cotton LEADS™ partners, which include global manufacturers, brands and retailers, are committed to the principles of the Cotton LEADS™ program and encourage the use of sustainable and responsibly-grown cotton.