We are proud that 90% of our cotton comes from well managed cotton producing farms that are registered to the Better Cotton Initiative.
They are assessed twice a year to strict standards.
The six key principles for production of Better Cotton are:
Better cotton is produced by farmers who minimise harmful practices.
Crop Protection practices are carried out through a few simple principles.
- Growing of healthy crops
- The prevention of build-up of pests and stopping the spread of disease to the crop. This includes good crop preparation and rotation to break the cycle of disease and pests
- Enhancement of beneficial organisms
- Regular field observation of the crop’s health, keys pests and the beneficial organisms.
Only licenced water from approved sources can be used.
Efficient water management helps maximise productivity, and minimises cottons environmental impact.
Soil is cared for and maintained through thoughtful crop rotation.
Crop rotation is an important means of improving and maintaining soil health. It breaks disease cycles, while biologically ripening the soil.
Better cotton is produced by farmers who promote and work to fair employment.
There is no child labour in accordance with ILO convention 138- International Labour convention. With this in place, farmers agree to a basic minimum age for employment of 15.
Employment is freely chosen. There is no forced or compulsory labour, including bonded or trafficked labour.
Natural habitats are conserved by farmers by preserving these natural habitats, they can create refuges for beneficial insects, as well as acting a trap for crop pests.
Quality of Fibre
Quality of fibre is improved by:
- Correct planting dates- taking into consideration the pest pressures and seasonal conditions.
- Row spacing- they are appropriate for the variety, soil type and seasonal conditions.
- Disease management- disease can stunt growth and lead to reduced cotton fibre quality.
- Weed management- Weeds in the cotton crop may lead to contamination of the seed cotton and lint.
- Insect management- Damages to the bolls needs to be controlled as late season insects can affect the cottons resulting in sticky fibres.
By adhering to these principles, better cotton farmers produce cotton in a way that is not only measurably better for the environment and farming communities, but also produces a better-quality cotton.
Report by Nick Jubert, September 2017
Sustainability in raw materials is our aim, particularly Wool and Cotton for our trade.
The essence of this subject has been led by The Royal Warrant Holders Association to push suppliers to know where their raw materials come from and ensure that they are produced from sustainable and ethical sources. As part of this process I am visiting all our prime material suppliers to ensure we know where our materials come from and to develop the best supplies possible.
Our China cotton source
2000km and a 4 hour flight due North of Chengdu, flying over barren terrain hour after hour brings you to Korla and as you land there are fields of cotton and every other produce as far as you can see. Clean air, hot sunshine and water make this perfect for cotton growing and agriculture generally. The area is fed by two large rivers from the north which run into an 80mile long fresh water lake, the largest in China.
This area produces 70% of China’s cotton using the abundant water supply to good effect. The region produces 200,000 tons of cotton per year.
The conversations, friendships and insight I gained from making this long journey are priceless. We now have an understanding as to the sources of the cotton crop we will accept into our supply chain and its provenance. For all the participants that I met it was a unique occasion when all the operators in the cotton supply chain were in one room, a very rare occurrence and never witnessed by the people attending. Farmer, Ginner, Spinner, Weaver, Dyer, Garment manufacturer, End seller
There is no substitute for cotton in the kitchen
Cotton is losing the fight against polyester in the fashion world due to the advances in polyesters soft handle and moisture regain being better than cotton and now that polyester has become an infinitely recyclable material it has a lesser environmental impact than cotton. Except many regions and farmers around the world rely on the crop for their livelihood and it still melts which isn’t great for protection from flames in a kitchen.
We strongly promote cotton aprons as the garment of choice for protection in kitchens, while recognising that polyester cotton is the fibre mix of choice for lightweight, comfortable, chefs uniforms.
Ethically sourced cotton and recycled cotton are mainstays of our raw material requirement.
Standard Size Cotton Bikes