US retail giant Walmart has joined more than 480 companies from across the global supply chain who have signed up to the Cotton Leads™ programme, which supports responsible production practices by cotton growers in the US and Australia. Among others those who have already signed up are Gap Inc, Hugo Boss, Macy's, Hanesbrands, Fruit of the Loom and the Esquel Group.
The Cotton Leads™ programme is a joint effort of the Australian and US cotton industries. Its founding members are Cotton Australia, the Australian Cotton Shippers Association, the Cotton Foundation, the National Cotton Council of America, Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated.
The programme is designed to raise awareness about responsible growing practices and commitment to continuous improvement among cotton producers in the member countries, including responsible production practices, strict regulations that protect the environment and people, the ability to affect positive change nationally, nationwide cotton research and development programmes, and sustainability benchmarking.
"Cotton is a major ingredient in many of our apparel and home textile products," said Ken Lanshe, Walmart's vice president, general merchandise, technical, quality and sustainability."Through the Cotton Leads programme, Walmart hopes to learn from and collaborate on efforts that US cotton farmers are taking to be responsible and sustainable producers. Our support for the Cotton Leads programme aligns with Walmart's goal to sell products that sustain the environment."
Mark Messura, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Marketing at Cotton Incorporated, a founding member organisation of the Cotton Leads programme said, "Joining with Walmart in the Cotton Leads programme brings the scale and commitment of an industry leader together with the leaders in cotton sustainability and responsibly-sourced cotton."
This is the latest in a line of sustainability commitments from Walmart, including launching a project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and supply chain. It is also the first retailer with a verified science-based target emissions-reduction plan and aims to make significant progress by 2025-2030, including reducing its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18% by 2025.