Cotton LEADS™


The aim of the Cotton LEADS™ programme is to provide manufacturers, brands and retailers with access to sustainably produced cotton – that is, cotton produced in accordance with the principles of sustainability, the application of best practices and traceability in the supply chain.

Short description

The programme aims to provide manufacturers, brands and retailers with access to a responsible and reliable cotton supply chain and to build confidence in sustainably produced products.

The five principles of the programme are:

  1. Commitment to the social, environmental, economic and regulatory factors required to produce world-class cotton
  2. Recognition that sustainable and responsible cotton production requires continuous improvement, investment, research and sharing of best practices.
  3. Understanding that leading change in responsible and sustainable cotton practices will have the most positive impact when implemented in collaboration between farm, regional, national and international programmes.
  4. Belief in the benefit of working cooperatively with similar programmes that seek to advance responsible and sustainable cotton production in an effort to keep global cotton competitive in world fibre markets.
  5. Confidence in cotton identification systems that ensure traceability from farm to manufacturer.


Among other successes, water consumption in cotton production has been made 10% more effective in the last seven years. In addition, there has been a 9% increase in the use of direct sowing techniques and investment in technology has increased the efficiency of cultivation systems, with resulting economic and environmental benefits.

In Australia the use of insecticides has been reduced by about 95% over the past 10-15 years and water consumption has been reduced by about 40%.

Cotton LEADS™

Country / Region:
USA / Tennessee & Australia / Sydney

Project running time:
2013 – ongoing

Project partners:
National Cotton Council of America, Cotton Australia, Cotton Incorporated, Cotton Council International

Edelgard Baumann:
Bruce Atherley:


Cottonfield in the USA
© National Cotton Council

Cottonfield in the USA
© National Cotton Council

As of: March 2018