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The case for organic cotton: studying the organic cotton farmer’s business case in India
 

October 2nd, 2015

The global cotton market faces significant production challenges, owing to its ever growing and untenable footprint. Recognising that organic cotton has the lowest ecological footprint for any type of cotton production1, and social benefits are strongly embedded in organic practices,  big brands and other sector stakeholders have come together to form the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA), a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on building a prosperous organic cotton market that benefits everyone from farmer to consumer. OCA works with brands in a pre-competitive space, and aims to find and fund innovative ways to ensure the supply and increase demand for organic cotton.

As a supply chain strategist, NewForesight recognizes that a strong business case for the producer is at the foundation of a healthy organic cotton sector. Therefore, in September NewForesight consultant Laure Heilbron visited India for the OCA to study the business case of organic cotton for farmers, ginners and spinners. The field visit was organized in close cooperation with CottonConnect and C&A Foundation, and served the purpose of providing the knowledge required to design interventions to improve the business case and build a prosperous organic cotton sector in India.

The site-visit took place in Madhya Pradesh, one of the major regions for cotton production in India, from which approximately 35% of global cotton production originates. Laure visited and interviewed a large number of cotton farmers, ginners, spinners and cotton experts.

The visit, and Laure’s analysis of the interviews, have lead to a clearer understanding of the business case for organic cotton compared to conventional cotton for farmers, ginners and spinners. This initial analysis was presented to the OCA steering committee and formed an indispensable part of the discussions on the design of interventions required to transform the organic cotton sector. NewForesight will support OCA in identifying the most effective ways to drive sustainable change in the organic cotton sector.

Read more about our work for OCA in the project description.

1)       Life Cycle Assessment Of Organic Cotton – A Global Average, PE International For Textile Exchange, 2014