Wrangler reveals environmental benefits of sustainable farmed cotton
Global denim brand Wrangler has analysed dozens of scientific reports to
reveal that the practices of sustainable cotton farming techniques, such as
conservation tillage, cover crops and crop rotation results in the removal
of three times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere
than conventional farming methods.
Its report, ‘Seeding Soil’s Potential’ comes after Wrangler’s soil
health advisors reviewed more than 45 scientific papers and reviews from
academic, government, and industry researchers, as well as expert input
from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Nature Conservancy,
and the Soil Health Institute.
It found that not only did sustainable farming practices have
environmental benefits such as the soil having more nutrients and
microbial, better soil and water retention, and improved soil structure,
there are also economic benefits, including reduced inputs and costs, lower
risks from weather and pests, as well as higher yields and productivity.
“Wrangler believes that our supply chain does not begin with fabric or
cotton. It begins with soil and the land itself,” explains Roian Atwood,
director of sustainability for Wrangler. “Preserving and enhancing the
health of soil is critical and necessary to the preservation of America’s
denim heritage and future generations of people who work the land.”
In light of the environmental and economic benefits of sustainable
farming practices, Wrangler has pledged to partner with US cotton farmers
to double its use of sustainably-farmed cotton by 2019, as well as share
its findings with the fashion industry to encourage other brands to follow
Wrangler to double use of sustainably-farmed cotton by 2019
In the US, cotton is grown on approximately 12.5 million acres
stretching from the Southeast to the Southwest.
The report notes: “Conventional cotton cultivation practices can disturb
and degrade the soil with tillage, bare soil surfaces, chemical inputs, and
continuous monoculture crop production.
“The value of strong and healthy soil can be underestimated, but there
is burgeoning interest across the supply chain, from farmers to brands, to
implement practices that build and protect the soil.”
Wrangler states that by covering crops, rotating crops, and conservation
tillage, a range of practices that reduce soil disturbance from plowing and
maintain a minimum of 60 percent residue cover on the soil surface
throughout the year, will add three times more organic matter to the soil,
which allows water to permeate the soil better and makes more nutrients
available to the plants.
Last year, Wrangler introduced its soil health pilot programme to
bolster the supply of sustainable cotton, championing growers who are
leading the way and encouraging wider adoption of responsible farming
practices. Today, the programme includes five cotton producers representing
farms in Halls, Tennessee; Athens, Alabama; Albany, Georgia; Conway, North
Carolina; and Big Spring, Texas.
“We’ve experienced the benefits of combining these three practices,”
said Eugene Pugh, the programme partner and cotton farmer in Tennessee.
“It’s allowing us to decrease our inputs while maintaining, and even
improving, yield. And at the same time, our soil is improving with each
passing season. That feels really good.”
Wayne Honeycutt, president and chief executive of the Soil Health
Institute, added: “I’m grateful Wrangler has taken up this cause, because
the potential to transform agricultural lands with soil health practices is
“If farmers adopt these practices globally, we’ll have much greater
resiliency in our food and fibre production. We’ll also have cleaner water
and air, and we can draw carbon out of the air to regenerate our soils for
current and future generations.”
Image: still from Wrangler YouTube