Staying committed to sustainability (13 March 2019)

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The cotton industry is preparing its second Sustainability Report, with the release of the Australian Grown Cotton Sustainability Targets due later this year, focusing on environmental, economic and social outcomes.

Through CRDC and Cotton Australia, the industry produced its first Australian Grown Cotton Sustainability Report in 2014. This report included a commitment to ongoing sustainability reporting, engaging stakeholders and developing industry sustainability targets. The data gathered to monitor progress towards the targets will facilitate increased reporting across the supply and value chain for cotton.

Specifically, it is developing sustainability targets that:

  • Boost farm productivity
  • Increase water use efficiency
  • Reduce the carbon footprint
  • Enhance biodiversity
  • Reduce work-related injuries and fatalities


“These targets have been developed around our most important priorities and take into account the industry’s track-record and the improvements this dynamic industry has managed to achieve already,” CRDC R&D Manager Allan Williams said.

“The Australian cotton industry has a long and positive history of working to be more sustainable, but in a competitive and changing world, achieving sustainability targets won’t just happen unless there is a dedicated and coordinated effort across the industry.

“To crystallise this commitment, the Sustainability Working Group (SWG) was formed, comprising of growers, representatives from Australian Cotton Shippers Association, Cotton Australia, CottonInfo, CRDC and myBMP to develop the industry’s sustainability targets.

“This can be achieved using the body of R&D managed by CRDC, extension through CottonInfo, Cotton Australia’s policy, advocacy and communication and ACSA’s supply chain engagement. The myBMP program is a key mechanism that will support achievement of the targets at the farm level.”

 The role of the SWG is to better coordinate the industry’s broad body of existing sustainability work, help direct investment and effort to achieve and report against the sustainability targets and to provide a united vision for further positive change. The SWG will track and report against progress towards the sustainability targets and engage with stakeholders to help ensure that reporting is meeting their needs.

Allan said the SWG will support the industry to achieve these targets via a principles-based strategy that will engage with stakeholders, make evidence-based decisions and embed a sustainability culture across the industry by expanding on the broad body of existing sustainability work.

This article appears in the Autumn 2019 edition of CRDC's Spotlight magazine.