Which sources for cotton ?
Organically farmed cotton: In 2006, we began to use organically produced cotton. The market for organic cotton is very tight, accounting for only 0.4% of global production. We use it mostly in our yoga-related products: leggings, t-shirts, capri pants.
- 1,685 tonnes used in 2017 compared with 1,013 tonnes in 2016, so that 4% of our total cotton consumption came from organic sources.
Recycled cotton: While the industry has shown interest in recycled cotton, there are still technical issues preventing the development of systems capable of recycling old clothes at the end of their life cycle. To overcome these technological barriers, Decathlon launched the REWIND project. This project, which began in 2016, is working with a consortium to create a new “recycled” textile industry in France. Several major industrial players have become involved: TDV Industries, Decathlon, the textile equipment manufacturer Laroche, and two research and innovation entities: the European Centre for Innovative Textiles (CETI) and the ICAM engineering school. This project received funding from ADEME
88 tonnes of cotton recycled in 2017 compared with 36 tonnes in 2016, representing 0.2% of our total cotton consumption.
Better Cotton Initiative: Since 2012, we have been supporting the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which issues best practices guides for reducing the environmental impacts of conventional cotton production, taking into account social factors as well. We know that the BCI’s supply system can continue to improve and we have asked the organisation to improve its system of traceability.
19,394 tonnes of BCI cotton used in 2017 compared with 4,206 tonnes in 2016, representing 51% of our total consumption.
The results from 2017 show a significant increase in the use of more sustainable cotton, which went from 14.4% of total consumption in 2016 to 55.2% in 2017. Our efforts have mostly been focused on reducing the use of conventional cotton, replacing it with BCI cotton. Throughout 2017, the Decathlon industrial process operational teams and brand teams worked hard to keep on track to meet the 2020 target.
In October 2017, for the first time, Decathlon was added to the “Sustainable Cotton Ranking 2017”, a list of cotton-consuming companies. This study, conducted by the NGOs PAN UK, Solidaridad and WWF International, ranks 75 companies based on sustainable cotton use, including organic cotton, recycled cotton, BCI cotton, “Cotton Made in Africa” label cotton, fair trade cotton, etc. Decathlon was placed in the “Starting the Journey” category.
In 2016, we also began a dialogue with the NGO WWF France that continued throughout 2017. WWF is an important stakeholder that challenges us and helps us define larger strategies for using more sustainable resources.
Our teammates are committed to reaching our goal of 100% more sustainable cotton by 2020, especially over the next two years by increasing the amount of recycled cotton that goes into our products.