Fashion For Good partners with Arvind

Fashion For Good partners with Arvind

Fashion for Good launches a new, two-year pilot project in collaboration with leading brands Kering and PVH Corp. and leading global textile manufacturer Arvind Limited to pilot a radically resource-efficient cotton farming technology.

Cotton makes up nearly 30
per cent of global textile production, yet accounts for 24 per cent of global
insecticide use and being a water intensive crop, can require up to 10.000
litres of water per kilogram in its cultivation. Innovation in cotton farming
practices is greatly needed to reduce pesticide, land and water use.

 

Fashion for Good launches
a new, two-year pilot project in collaboration with leading brands Kering and
PVH Corp and leading global textile manufacturer Arvind Limited to pilot a
radically resource-efficient cotton farming technology provided by Fashion for
Good innovator, Materra (formerly hydroCotton). Materra’s innovative
combination of precision agriculture, environmental control and real-time data
tracking facilitate resilience for cotton farming in developing regions where
climate and resources prove challenging for cotton cultivation.

 

Katrin Ley, Managing Director, Fashion for Good, said“38 per cent of the
fashion industry’s carbon footprint lies with raw materials production,
preparation and processing, innovations in this area such as radically resource
efficient cotton farming, a staple fibre for the industry, is hugely important.
This consortium pilot project brings together unique expertise from across the
supply chain to pilot and ultimately scale this solution in key regions.”

 

In addition to their
operational support, Kering, PVH Corp. and Arvind Limited provide the financial
backing to enable the two year project. The project leverages Arvind’s local
knowledge and network with a 1.5 hectare farm being set up in the Gujarat
region in India. Fashion for Good initiated and will manage the project in
addition to financing the project through an equity investment in Materra.

 

“Materra’s innovation
brings in producing extra long staple cotton in India, as well as the live
production data that will be gathered throughout the pilot. This aligns with
Kering’s goals in both raw materials,  which
makes up 65 per cent of the Kering Group’s overarching environmental footprint,
and traceability, helping us move towards achieving our goal of reducing our
overall footprint by 40 per cent by 2025,” said, Christine Goulay, Head of Sustainable Innovation, Kering.

 

The farm will grow extra-long
staple cotton, which is often used in more high-end products, and provides the
region with opportunities to explore implementing the fibre that has
historically not been grown in large volumes in Northern India as its
cultivation requires specific climatic conditions that are only met in a
limited number of regions. The cotton generated on the farm, which will total 3
tonnes by the completion of the project, will be divided amongst the three
partners to produce garments that will be made commercially available from
2023.

 

“Testing and adopting
leading edge sustainable cotton innovations, such as Materra’s, is central to
expanding our sustainable product offerings for our consumers. It’s also an
enabler in fulfilling our enterprise-wide commitment to procure 100 per cent
sustainable cotton by 2025. We’re looking forward to featuring this cotton in
future Calvin Klein products”- Aksel
Parmaksiz, Senior VP Sustainable Business Transformation at Calvin Klein

(Part of PVH Corp.) 

 

Radically rethinking cotton farming

 

“We see Materra’s solution
as playing an integral role in our future sourcing strategy. Their technology
combines precision agriculture and controlled environments to create a
radically resource-efficient cotton farm. This results in reductions in water,
land use and carbon emissions, as well as pesticide removal. We are excited to
be collaborating with our fellow Fashion for Good partners on this consortium
project and look forward to scaling this solution in our supply chain,” said, Abhishek Bansal, Head of Sustainability,
Arvind Limited.

 

More than 60 per cent of
the world’s cotton is produced by smallholder cotton farmers, around 90 per
cent of these estimated 100 million smallholder farmers live in developing
countries and grow the crop on less than two hectares. Under poor management
practices, cotton can contribute to over-consumption of water, fertilisers and
pesticides. Innovation in farming practices such as precision agriculture
improve resource efficiency and resilience for cotton farming.

 

Materra’s approach to cotton
farming combines precision agriculture and controlled environments to create
radically resource-efficient cotton farms. Efficient irrigation, preventing
excess water loss, delivers agricultural inputs directly to the plant’s root
system where they can be efficiently absorbed and is pesticide-free, using
biological pest control to manage pest outbreaks. Farms are equipped with a
network of smart sensors to track data in real-time enabling enhanced
environmental and social assurance.

 

Over the last 2 years,
Materra has run three consecutive cotton trials at their UK test site in Essex.
These trials allowed them to generate their initial cotton growth recipe,
create production baselines and run fibre tests with mills. The aim of this
pilot is to test their farming approach in the Gujarat cotton-growing region in
India. The farm will initially focus on this region where there are limited
solutions for successful pest control and limited success growing extra
long-staple cotton.

 

“We are beyond excited to announce
the launch of this consortium pilot in collaboration with Fashion for Good,
Arvind Limited, Kering and PVH Corp. Through this project we will be able to
test our farming approach in India, working closely with farmers on the ground
to design and implement real-time data tracking. Working with these partners
enables us to draw on a wealth of industry experience, looking to move beyond
the pilot to full scale implementation,”  said
Edward
Brial, CEO of Materra.

 

Next Steps

 

Officially kicking off
today, the next three months of the pilot will focus on installing the pilot
farm to be ready for planting in April, with the first harvest taking place
towards the end of the year.

 

The pilot includes
collating data and key learnings to identify the next best location for the
team to apply the technology. Focus will predominantly be in regions where
cotton agriculture is challenged by limited resources such as water, few
solutions for pest control and limited success at growing extra long staple
cotton. Wide scale implementation of Materra’s innovation will provide
small-scale farms with the positive social benefits of increasing their yields,
as well as enabling them to grow extra long staple cotton which is commercially
more desirable. Simultaneously, it positively benefits the environment, leading
to increased water savings, a reduction in pesticide use and enhanced
traceability in the upstream supply chain.

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