Global Cotton and Textile Product Chains: Identifying challenges and opportunities for China through a global commodity chain sustainability analysis

By Jiahua Pan, Chengshan Chu, Xinghu Zhao, Yuqing Cui, Tancrède Voituriez on February 26, 2009
China is playing a pivotal role in the world cotton and textile industry as the major global cotton producer and importer, and the major textile exporter. Cotton growing has potentially significant environmental impacts because of its high reliance on water and chemical inputs. Cotton production represents approximately one third of global pesticide use, leading to the damaging effects cotton growing inflicts on the environment when badly managed. China's role in promoting—or neglecting—sustainability should play a decisive role in crafting a sustainable global cotton/textile supply chain.

This report recommends three key strategies for improving the sustainability of global cotton and textile sectors, including improving the recognition of and demand for sustainable cotton and textile products, improving the sustainability of Chinese cotton and textile production, and improving the global sustainability of cotton and textile production chains through a transition to higher levels of sustainable production in Africa.

Report details

International Institute for Sustainable Development
IISD, 2009