Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX)
Department of Textile Engineering Management
Eco Cotton Knowledge for Merchandisers
Assignment submitted for the course
AME-556: Apparel Merchandising
Mr. Md. Mazedul Islam
Department of Apparel Engineering
Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX)
Md. Lianul Abdullah Khan
ID – 2018-2-5-013
Department of Textile Engineering Management
Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX)
Table of Content
Eco Cotton 2
Sustainable Eco Cotton Sourcing 3
Eco Cotton Knowledge for merchandisers 3
Challenges for merchandisers for Eco Cotton Sourcing 4
If you look on the shelves in just about any store today, you are hard pressed to find a product that is
not emblazoned with some form of green label on it.
And it's no accident. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies know that sustainability is no
longer just a fad; consumers' demand for environmentally-friendly products is not waning.
In fact, it has grown so strong that consumers no longer just want green products; they also want to
know the companies that make and sell those products are doing good for the world across their
Retailers have been quick to take note of this and make adjustments at all levels of their businesses -
Wal-Mart and IKEA are two examples among the many that have implemented changes in areas of their
supply chains, expansion efforts, marketing and so on.
As both FMCGs and retailers prepare to operate in this new-normal environment, merchandising
companies can serve as a critical missing link that can not only enable better collaboration between the
brands and stores, but also can leverage their understanding of consumer habits to get the maximum
value, fiscally and environmentally, out of each and every sustainability effort.
There are several simple, yet impactful ways merchandising companies are working with their clients to
increase sustainability with limited additional work. This joint-value model is becoming commonplace,
not just for sustainability but across strategic initiatives.
When outdoor brand Patagonia began switching all their cotton products to organic cotton they were
almost a lone voice.
Now, Textile Exchange’s Epic 78 page 2016 Organic Cotton Market Report published in July 2016 shows
that there’s a lot of activity in the world of organic and sustainable cotton.
In addition to the work being done on organic cotton and textiles, including through the Organic Cotton
Standard (OCS) from Textile Exchange, and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), there are seven
other initiatives covered in the report: Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cleaner Cotton, Cotton Made in
Africa (CmIA), E3, Fairtrade, Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) and Cotton Connect’s REEL Cotton.
Then there are the platforms: Cotton 2040 from Forum for the Future; the
Cotton ARC program’s Threading Natural Capital into Cotton, coordinated by the Cambridge Institute for
Sustainability Leadership (CISL); the Organic Cotton Accelerator; and the Chetna Coalition. Any business
looking to access organic and more sustainable cotton now has a lot of help.
Perhaps it’s not surprising. Cotton is after all still a major global textile fibre, making up around 25% of
the world’s fibre consumption in 2015
Sustainable Eco Cotton Sourcing
Cotton is the most abundantly produced natural fibre and its production supports the livelihoods of over
350 million people. Despite its global importance, eco cotton production can be beset by a number of
environmental and social challenges. Whilst cotton only covers 2.4% of the world’s arable land, it
accounts for 6% of global pesticide use. With around 2,720 litres of water needed to make just one t-
shirt, conventional cotton production is highly dependent on water. Higher temperatures and changing
rainfall patterns caused by climate change are likely to cause severe water shortages in some areas, as
well as increase the prevalence of pests and diseases, negatively affect yields. The challenges of the
cotton sector are also social and economic, with cotton farmers and their dependents negatively
impacted by the over-use of pesticides and petroleum based fertilizers, and rising costs of production
and volatile market prices.
To source this sustainable eco cotton there are many challenges comes forward. Political and
economical situation, social and cultural aspect, environmental issues, land and labor availability,
transparency and traceability of cotton production, communication gap in forward and backward
linkage of supply chain, changes of raw materials and process prices, scarcity of raw materials,
processing and supply lead time, technological establishment & improvement plays vital challenges in
sourcing sustainable eco cotton. In recent days buyers like H&M, Primark emphasis on sustainable eco
cotton sourcing for securing supply chain but due to these challenges impact imposed on suppliers of
those brands when scarcity of cotton occurs or price changes. Goal of the research work is to get
solutions for sourcing sustainable cotton from identified challenges.
Eco Cotton Knowledge for merchandisers
Organic cotton is grown without pesticides from plants which are not genetically modified as opposed to
standard cotton production which depends on high levels of agrochemicals and accounts for 16% of the
world’s pesticides. In addition, the chemicals used in processing of non-organic cotton pollute the air
and water. True organic cotton production uses crop rotation instead of agrochemicals and artificial
fertilizers, and biological pest control instead of pesticides. Though organic cotton has less
environmental impact than conventional cotton, it costs more to produce. Critics of organic farming in
general point out that genetic modification of crops can have environmental benefits. Crops can be
engineered to have higher yields, allowing smaller plots to be dedicated to farming. It also can reduce
crops' reliance on pesticides, making engineered plants potentially more suitable for no pesticide
techniques than conventional varieties. The same standards for organic cotton production apply to
other natural fiber production.
There are two compelling reasons to sell green apparel: Environmental Concerns and Mainstream
Marketing, and they are not interchangeable – not focusing on one or the other. If a merchandiser really
in truly to do this because of heartfelt environmental concerns, then it’s needs to place that conviction
ahead of profit motives. That doesn’t mean money can’t be made, but following the green path as a
matter of conscience is going to be a challenging task at best because range of products, product
decorations and markets is limited. For example, a merchandiser will need to trace back every product
to as close to its source as possible to verify that it really does meet every possible “green” standard, as
opposed to a figment of a masterful green-washing campaign. If on the other hand a merchandiser just
wants to be in a position to supply products and services to satisfy the demands of the consumer world,
then the task will not be quite as arduous.
To go green, a merchandiser needs to keep his eye on sustainability of raw cotton, because once raw
cotton in achieved organic, whole process of making apparel will be much easier to make apparel green.
Cost can be reduced in dyeing, washing and finishing. A green tag can be introduced from the very
beginning of an apparel making.
In recent days merchandisers are directly negotiating for yarn purchase, also they have to negotiate for
price of raw materials with their buyers. In this regards, literacy on eco cotton and its sourcing would
help a merchandiser to go green and work ethically for better world.
Challenges for merchandisers for Eco Cotton Sourcing
Here comes key issue that is sustainable eco cotton sourcing for green merchandising. When does a
merchandiser create a production plan keeping issue in head that is sustainable eco cotton, which is
traceable and transparent secured collection of natural fiber that is eco friendly, more biodegradable,
chemical insecticide and fertilizers free and creates no harm to human, animal and environment.
In broad cultivation areas of natural fibers like cotton a lot of harmful pesticides and fertilizers are vastly
used for secured and more production. In this age, during ginning process a lot of harmful impurities
often get mixture by the labors working there. Tobacco leaf, seed and buckles of cotton and other
plants, ragged fabrics are often found due to lack of consciousness of labors and technological
drawbacks. Cotton farmers often facing attacks of different pests i.e. in 2017 after flood in Gujarat state,
Indian farmers faced infection of vast BALLHOOK worm. To reduce harm from those attacks farmers
often uses chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They merely think about the impacts occurring for uses of
Process timing is a remarkable fact for sourcing eco cotton. Though plants are taken for eco cultivation,
but those are not sufficient enough to cover upraise demand which is increasing day by day, because
cultivation plants, sufficient quantity of seeds and other cultivation auxiliaries are not available often.
Non-Eco cotton’s impact on the environment is huge, which is why many say it may be the most
important product to buy Eco Cotton. According to the Roldale Institute, cotton is No. 1 crop in the
world for pesticide use, consuming an astounding 16 percent of global pesticides. Many of those
pesticides end up in water supplies around the world, including right here in the United States.
Moreover, cotton is one of the crops most intensively reliant on big GMO (Genetically Modified
Organism) seed companies like Monsanto. With 83 percent of cotton coming from GMO seeds, it one
one of the top four GMO crops produced in the world alongside soy (89 percent), canola (75 percent)
and corn (61 percent).
The main challenge is that the market doesn’t work properly – current economic rules don’t attach
environmental and social costs to conventional cotton production, so the mainstream market is given a
massive hidden subsidy as society and the environment bears these costs instead of the conventional
This massive subsidy is why non-organic cotton remains much, much cheaper than organic cotton.
Moreover, organic cotton is hard to find. And when I do find it, it’s expensive — when it should be the
When does a merchandiser make costing for a product, most often they failed compete with the price of
cotton yarn, because this is a true fact – eco cotton originated yarn price is higher than conventional
yarn, but brands are often deny to pay additional price.
This is one reason that organic cotton is having numerous challenges in growing its market share and
making a strong business case for companies to shift to organic. Part of that is due to the system that
put control of inputs like seeds into the hands of a few big companies — organic seeds are difficult to
procure and distribute to farmers. Even when they are available, getting them to farmers in developing
countries where most cotton currently comes from is a challenge, as is building the capacity of these
farmers to be able to go organic farming and receive necessary certifications.
Prices, the timeliness of payment and market access are not always strong enough to offset the risk of
investment made by the farmer
Nevertheless, there are some bright signs in the industry. In 2014, organic cotton reversed a three-year
trend and grew globally by 10 percent. More and more retailers, like C&A, which topped Textile
Exchange’s 2014 Report for volume of organic cotton use, are incorporating organic cotton into their
This won’t be easy. Companies can’t just purchase more organic cotton; they need to work with
suppliers to ensure both quality and transparency along the entire chain. That includes working with
initiatives like the Organic Cotton Roundtable to build farmer capacity to produce more organic cotton.
Companies that understand this are the ones who will benefit.
The final piece of the puzzle is us. Consumer demand is why grocery stores all across the country now
carry an increasingly wide array of organic products. The clothing industry is, sadly, far behind, but we
can help change that. If more companies see a market for organic clothing products, then this can help
address the challenges facing organic cotton all along its supply chain.
“Consumer ‘appetite’ is, of course, one of the key driving forces behind brands and retailers’ sourcing
decisions: the stronger the consumer demand, the stronger the incentive for brands and retailers to
make efforts to source organic cotton,” Truscott said. “Raising consumer awareness about the benefits
of organic cotton is therefore very important.”
It’s clear that organic cotton has a strong role to play in creating a sustainable future. Hopefully, with
more impetus from companies, greater consumer demand and increased advocacy from organizations
like Textile Exchange; soon it’ll be just as easy to buy organic clothing as it is to find organic produce in
your local grocery.
The study identifies five challenges in developing eco cotton supply chain for green merchandising which
include concerns with perceived value, process timing, quality standards, supplier capacity, and price.
Cotton Eco Fashion is a readymade garments manufacturing company. It is inspected, assessed &
certified according to the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS). Organic Clothing has been our
passion. We have been working since 2000 in the field of Organic Clothing. Inspired by our own
consciences and ground level working experiences we gained the knowledge. As a result we resolved to
offer & promote natural, chemical, pesticide free clothing that enables the preservation of a beautiful
world for our children to grow up in, with luxuriously-soft organic cotton and sweatshop-free
manufacturing. With a clear vision, great passion, strong determination and big dreams, but limited
resources, we dreamt of starting our own company. Based on our diverse backgrounds, working
experiences and talents we created our company by keeping in mind sustainable and socially
responsible values — and thus CEF was born! FAITH makes all things possible! HOPE makes all things
In today’s global economy, we believe that the best way to uphold our commitment to sustainability and
social responsibility is by supporting and promoting small-scale manufacturers and organic farmers
across the globe.
All of products are carefully selected for quality, purity, safety and are produced in such a way that cares
for the earth and its workers. We want our children to grow up in a beautiful, non-toxic world.
Concerned matter about toxicity and the commercial drive of much of what's on shop shelves has
sparked many parents to consider what their alternatives are and here comes CEF.
Those clothes are thoughtfully designed, processed and produced from cotton which is organically
cultivated and certified. The cotton has been hand-picked of insects, and processed without the use of
harmful chemicals, fertilizers & pesticides. It is proudly hand-produced in India and is fair traded for the
benefit of all people taking part in the production process. The result is an Organic Clothing which
respects the delicate balance of nature for generations to come. Being produced entirely from organic
material they are completely free of any chemical residue. They do not have finishing chemicals on it
such as bleaches and fire-retardants which contain dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde. Our
cotton is dyed without heavy metal dyes.
Conventionally grown cotton is one of the most environmentally destructive crops grown in the world
today, requiring huge amounts of pesticides. Contrary to common perceptions, ordinary cotton is not
necessarily as "pure and natural" as we're led to believe. In fact, conventional cotton farming represents
less than 3% of the world's farmland but accounts for over 25% of insecticide and pesticide use, making
it one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet. According to the Organic Trade
Association (www.ota.com), by purchasing products made from organic fiber, you are supporting a
system of agriculture that works to build healthy soils and a healthy environment.