October 2013 Cotton Leader
Cotton Australia, Cotton Incorporated, The National Cotton Council and Cotton Council International recently launched a joint program to raise awareness of the responsible growing practices among cotton producers in Australia and the United States. Called Cotton LEADS™, the program is aimed at textile brands, retailers and manufacturers committed to sourcing cotton that is grown in a responsible and transparent manner. Validating the Cotton LEADS program are the national-level oversight, regulatory enforcement, and transparency of practices common to both countries. Combined, Australia and the United States account for roughly 17% of global cotton production. More information can be found at ww.cottonleads.org. "Cotton LEADS is designed to assist businesses along the cotton supply chain with their sustainability goals," says Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated. "Apparel brands, retailers, and manufacturers require large volumes and a reliable supply of responsibly-produced fiber, as well as proof of responsible production. Through Cotton LEADS we demonstrate how cotton grown in the United States and Australia can help meet these requirements," adds Worsham. Cotton LEADS is a complement to many of the farm-by-farm certification programs that have appeared in recent years. Termed "identity cottons" by the International Cotton Advisory Committee, the goals of these programs and Cotton LEADS are parallel according to Berrye Worsham. "Ultimately, we are all committed to providing the supply chain with greater volumes of responsibly-grown cotton, to ongoing improvement, and to the transparency of processes and metrics."
AND CONSUMERS SAY GIVE ME ..."COTTON OR NOTHING"
Last month, Cotton Incorporated launched a new marketing campaign, Cotton or Nothing, designed to persuade brands and retailers to return cotton into their apparel offerings that, thanks to cotton's big price run up in 2011, are now being made with less expensive synthetic fibers. During New York's Fashion Week, Cotton Incorporated staged a "protest" with unclothed mannequins holding up signs saying they wanted to wear cotton, or nothing. The campaign also invited consumers to "Join The Protest" by having their picture taken with the striking mannequins and signing the Cotton Or Nothing manifesto. "Today's consumers are angry and we are capitalizing on it," says Ric Hendee, Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing for Cotton Incorporated. Hendee explains that Cotton Or Nothing is an industry-facing marketing program fueled by growing consumer dissatisfaction with what they are calling poorly-produced garments. Kim Kitchings, Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Program Metrics for Cotton Incorporated says the campaign was initiated, more than just in part, by consumers. "We started a customer comment project which quantified more than 250,000 consumer comments posted on apparel retailer Web sites," explains Kitchings. "Consumers were not just aware of the 'fiber switch', they were openly displeased by it." Here are a few of the verbatim comments Cotton Incorporated chronicled from various Web sites:
Product: Women's Denim Jeans - Price: $40/FIBER 88% Cotton/10% Polyester/2% Spandex - I'm thinking of writing a real letter on paper to express my disappointment in these jeans. I tried them on immediately and they fit beautifully, just like the [brand] of years past. I washed and dried them as directed, put them on feeling really good and within an hour they had stretched out to ridiculous proportions. I could take them off and put them back on without undoing the fly! They were HUGE and baggy and I felt like a Rodeo Clown by the end of the day. Maybe a size smaller would have worked better, but I doubt it. It surprises me that [retailer] has turned such a deaf ear to this problem. I won't be buying any more until they return to 100% cotton. I would return them if I could but because they fooled me out of the package I doubt I'll get my money back. I'll send them back anyway. I can't possibly wear them.
Product: Women's Denim Jeans - Price: $10.80 FIBER: 68% Cotton/19% Polyester/12% Rayon/1% Spandex "I purchased, washed and then wore these jeans and kept wondering while I was in my car and on my way to work "what is that smell?" I was mortified when a coworker told me flat out you stink! Went out on my break and bought a pair of pants and threw the stinky jeans in the trash."
It is well documented by Cotton Incorporated's textile chemists, as well as outside research studies, that synthetic fibers have a tendency to trap odors, not allowing them to be washed out, whereas cotton has that wonderful capability of allowing odors to wash out during laundering. Highlights, resources and more information about this unique campaign can be found at www.cottonornothing.com.
THE COTTON BOARD RELEASES 2012 ANNUAL REPORT
The Cotton Board recently published their Annual Report for the 2012 Program year on their Web site, www. cottonboard.org. The report includes a letter from the Chairman of The Cotton Board, audited financial recaps and a full roster of The Cotton Board Members and Alternates. The report also highlights the yearly recommendations process with Cotton Incorporated and top-line projects from the Communications Department, including the Producer Tour Program and the Importer Support Program. To view the annual report, please visit www. cottonboard.org, or if you would prefer to have a disc of the annual report mailed to you, please contact Stacey Gorman by email at sgorman [at] cottonboard [dot] org or by phone at 870-226-1445.
The New York December futures contract remains range-bound. Throughout September, futures drifted higher and increased from the lower end of the range, near 83 cents/lb, towards the higher end of the range, near 88 cents/ lb. Most recently, futures retreated back to levels near 83 cents/lb. Movement in the A Index mirrored that of NY futures, with values rising from levels near 89 cents/lb to 93 cents/lb before declining to 89 cents/lb. The government shutdown resulted in the suspension of virtually all USDA data releases, including the monthly supply and demand report that is tracked by this publication. In addition to the interruption in data, certain farm assistance programs ceased operations. Perhaps the most notable of these is the Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL) system, which provides loans to growers (all commodities) that can be applied towards input expenses while their cotton is being marketed. In addition to interruption of the MAL, the USDA announced just before the shutdown that loan payments for all commodities will be reduced 5.1% as part to the sequester. Despite the effects of the shutdown and the sequester, classing operations, which are completely grower-funded, continue to function.