Category Archives: Cotton and Child Labor

Incentives Matter: Why Environmentalists, Retailers and NGO’s are Slowly Strangling the Cotton Industry

Summary: The world cotton industry is being slowly strangled by loss of market share to polyester. Campaigns of demonization contribute to this strangulation. As one example, the C&A Foundation Annual Report 2014 uses evocative language, exaggeration, and repetition of allegations years out of date to demonize, rather than inform, in the service of enhancing the C&A brand. The report is unremarkable, except that it is recent, and serves as an example of efforts by NGO’s, retailers and environmentalists to build sales and enhance careers, while undermining the livelihoods of tens of millions of cotton households. Only by volubly challenging those who demonize, with public, specific, fact-based rebuttals, will the cotton industry be able to make demonization expensive and thus shift the structure of incentives that currently makes demonization profitable.

12a. C&A Foundation report 2014

Uzbekistan and Cotton Production

Uzbekistan and Cotton Production
Cotton production in Uzbekistan is associated with the destruction of the Aral Sea, with child and forced labor, with pesticide poisoning and with autocratic government. It seems as if no allegation is too evil that someone hasn’t tied it to the cotton industry in Uzbekistan. As one example, an NGO recently asserted that the Uzbekistan government expanded the cotton industry after independence in the early 1990s and developed a massive irrigation system and diverted water destined for the Aral Sea (Innovation Forum Special Report, a Management briefing on Sustainable and ethical cotton sourcing, sponsored by CottonConnect). “Vast monoculture farms growing only cotton were established, with huge amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides ….” Continue reading

A Balanced Perspective on Cotton: Responding to Valid Problems, Challenging Irresponsible Critics

Cotton and cotton textile industries are central to the economic growth of both developed and developing countries and contribute to sustainable and socially responsible development. Cotton is grown in more than 100 countries on about 33 million hectares, or about 2.5% of the world’s arable land, making it one of the most significant crops in terms of land use after food grains and soybeans.
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