Environmental impacts of cotton

Cotton is a vital crop. But its production uses vast quantities of water and pesticides—depleting and polluting water supplies for people, wildlife and damaging fresh water ecosystems.


Just some of the issues with cotton production are:
  • Massive use of water - One cotton shirt of 250 gram requires about 2,500 litres of water ► find out more
  • Contamination of water supplies ► find out more
  • Uses more pesticides and fertilizers than most other crops, which pollute water supplies ► find out more
  • Replacing huge swathes of land, at the expense of climate-regulating forests and biodiversity ► find out more
  • Soil erosion ► find out more
Without change, natural resources will run out and the cotton industry will falter.

Be part of the solution

► If you are a cotton producer, supplier, manufacturer, retailer or brand, then the Better Cotton Initiative can help you support a more sustainable cotton industry: Find out more here

► If you are concerned about the environmental and social impact of the cotton products that you buy—that’s clothes and linen among other—contact your favourite clothing companies and ask them if they’re part of the Better Cotton Initiative.

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