11 May | How much water does cotton really need?
Interview with Dr Ed Barnes, Senior Director of Agricultural and Environmental Research at Cotton (…)Read more
Sustainability: What does it mean?
Against the backdrop of an increasing world population and increasingly scarce resources such as oil, water and soil, the subject of sustainability and the search for solutions are increasingly attracting greater attention.
To quote the report by the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission): “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Those who are actively pursuing sustainable development are permanently following the goal of harmonising ecological, social and economic aspects within the manufacturing of products.
This is also true for the cotton sector. Sustainability cannot be measured. Sustainable production processes cannot be viewed statically. They are in a state of ongoing change and are results of daily practice and the lessons learned from it, as well as a quest for permanent improvements, based on intensive research and development.
Cotton belongs to the group of natural fibres and, in contrast to synthetic fibres, is a renewable resource. Sustainability is thus born into cotton fibre. Moreover, the fibre is fully biodegradable, an aspect that is becoming increasingly more important.
So cotton is a natural, renewable raw material which at the same time is also biodegradable. Around 250 million people are involved in its production worldwide, mainly in developing countries. In total, this includes approximately 80 countries around the world and therefore a number of different political and religious systems and agricultural standards. The interpretation of “sustainability” takes on a new meaning, depending on what country you find yourself in.
Overall, the balance of economic, environmental and social aspects is of great relevance in the production of cotton. The debate on pesticides, the use of water, biodiversity, human rights, climate change and many other aspects has been conducted among experts, farmers, researchers and politicians for decades – with visible results.
Let’s talk about it!
If you have questions about sustainability, please contact Elke Hortmeyer.