Life Cycle Assessment

  • LCA-Process
  • Knit-shirt-results


A major project to assess the life cycle of cotton was completed during 2016 by the Cotton Foundation, with Australia’s Cotton Research and Development Corporation contributing data for the first time as part of its commitment to the Cotton LEADS™ Program.

Building on the initial life cycle inventory (LCI) and analysis (LCA) released in 2010, the updated research provides a more comprehensive snapshot of cotton, across all phases of product life, and its relationship to the environment. A larger pool of global consumers was included in the update to more accurately reflect the impact of consumer use and disposal of cotton textiles.

Results indicated that the textile manufacturing and consumer use phases dominated most of the impact categories assessed. Although agricultural production’s contribution to total impact was lower than textile manufacturing and consumer use, agriculture did have the major portion of the impacts on water consumption and eutrophication potential.

The expanded study fulfills a key goal of the project – to provide the most detailed and current data on cotton for the sustainability community and sourcing professionals. Importantly, the findings will also be used by Cotton LEADS™ founders to determine areas for future research and development investment.

For more detailed results by phase, please read the Executive Summary.

To request the full, downloadable report: