General Information on Cotton

The cotton plant and its fibre

Cotton cultivation and its varieties can look very diverse in different parts of the world. For an overview of cotton cultivation practices, to see which varieties are existing and for getting summarised information about fibre properties, click here.

The social and environmental impact of the cotton crop

The environmental and social impacts of cotton have been in the news for many years now. Some of these stories maintain in the public image, although many things have changed. For a summary of the most relevant aspects of the environmental and social implications of cotton production click here.

The cotton value chain

Many stages are required to process cotton from fibres to the final fabrics. Behind even a simple textile product there might be a rather complex processing and manufacturing chain. Moreover most of the textiles are not even produced from only one origin of fibres.

An insight into the most usual processing steps and some corresponding pictures are presented here

The cotton world market

Cotton is the main traded agricultural raw material. It is produced in all continents, but also shipped to all continents: Its pathways of trade are complex and in most cases not transparent.
An overview about the cotton world market is given here

Several cotton initiatives

There are several initiatives in the cotton sector trying to reduce negative impacts of cotton production on the environement and the producers. Although the thematic or geographic focus of the different initiatives may vary, it is important for consumers to know, that they can influence the way of cotton production with the choice of products stemming from one of these various efforts to improve the environmental or social soundness of the cotton fibre.  
The major initiatives are explained here


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This platform is a joint project by ICCO, SECO, Textile Exchange and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation. For any queries please contact: [email protected].