Adidas named global leader in sourcing sustainable cotton

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Adidas has become a global leader in sourcing sustainable cotton, according to a ranking of companies buying the material.
While 21% of global cotton production is now sustainable, only 5% of the total is sold as such.
// Adidas ranked as the top business for sourcing sustainable cotton
// The retailer jumped from sixth place back in 2017 to the top

Adidas has become a global leader in sourcing sustainable cotton, according to a ranking of companies buying the material.

The Cotton Ranking 2020 report published by three organisations, Pesticide Action Network UK, Solidaridad and WWF, is based on independent research looking at 77 major cotton-using companies.

Adidas went from sixth place in the last ranking in 2017 to the top, as they now source 100 per cent of their cotton from sustainable sources.


READ MORE: Adidas hits major sustainable milestone with 50% recycled polyester in 2020


Ikea, a well-established user of sustainable cotton, was second and H&M third, the ranking shows, while Marks & Spencer is the best UK performer.

The ranking looks at companies’ publicly declared policies and commitments, how much of the cotton they buy is actually from sustainable sources, and on how transparent they are with their supply chains.

For the first time, more than half of the companies have commitments to use sustainable cotton although a third of the businesses are ranked “zero” as they have not begun.

“Leading British companies are showing international leadership on sourcing cotton that doesn’t damage the environment – but the gap between the best and the rest is simply not good enough.” WWF UK campaigns executive director Kate Norgrove said. 

Conventional cotton production is linked to environmental problems including the overuse of pesticides and artificial fertilisers as well as social issues such as poor working conditions.

More sustainably produced cotton can help tackle these issues and provide incomes for farmers, the organisations said.

Some 11 big retailers, including Nike, H&M and C&A group, have committed to sourcing 100 per cent of their cotton from more sustainable sources by the end of the year.

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