ICAC’s 80th Plenary Meeting Explores Sustainability Efforts for Global Cotton


Date Posted: 30 November 2022


ICAC’s 80th Plenary Meeting Explores Sustainability Efforts for Global Cotton

Given the theme of the ICAC’s 80th Plenary Meeting — ‘Driving Sustainability through Innovation and Leadership’ — it’s no surprise that both of today’s sessions focussed on sustainability, but they did it from very different perspectives.

The opening session on Day Two of the Plenary Meeting was entitled, ‘Technical Session: How Can Regenerative Agriculture Contribute to a Sustainable Cotton Industry?’. Chaired by ICAC Chief Scientist Dr Keshav Kranthi, the session featured three globally renowned speakers:

  • Dr Rattan Lal from Ohio State University spoke about ‘Soil Organic Carbon and Soil Health’,
  • Dr Fabio Rafael Echer from São Paulo Western University discussed ‘Improving Cotton’s Sustainability in the Tropics’, and
  • Dr Kater Hake from Cotton Incorporated presented on ‘Regenerative Agriculture – Implications for the Textile Industry’.



The second session, focussing on economic sustainability, addressed a topic chosen by the ICAC’s Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC): ‘Regulatory Policies by Governments that Could Negatively Affect the Consumption of Natural Fibres’. Chaired by PSAC Chairman Peter Wakefield, there were four world-class speakers, each of whom presented his proposals and recommendations as Chair of one of the PSAC’s four permanent committees:

  • Cliff White, Australian Cotton Shippers Association, representing the Permanent Committee on Merchants and Other Cotton Related Activities,
  • Francisco Ferreira dos Santos, Mozambique Cotton Association, representing the Permanent Committee on Producers and Ginners,
  • Muhammad Anees Khawaja, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, representing the Permanent Committee on Textiles, and
  • Nate Herman, American Apparel & Footwear Association, representing the Permanent Committee on Brands and Retailers.

As ICAC Executive Director Kai Hughes emphasised after yesterday’s opening session, sustainability is a challenge that will affect everyone in the global cotton textile supply chain, and so all stakeholders everywhere must work together to find solutions. Today’s two sessions — covering everything from soil to textiles to government policy — illustrate the sheer size of the challenge but they also show that the cotton and textile industry has the people, expertise and determination to overcome it.

The Plenary Meeting will conclude with two sessions tomorrow (all times are GMT-5):

Rethinking Fashion and Textiles for 2030‘ from 9:10 am through 11:00 am, and

The World Cafe, ‘The Evolving Global Textile Supply Chain‘, from 11:10 am through 12:10 pm.

The ICAC’s Virtual 80th Plenary Meeting has the theme, ‘Driving Sustainability through Innovation and Leadership’ and is being held 29 November to 1 December. You can join the meeting when it is in session by clicking here.

Speaker presentations and the 80th Plenary Meeting’s agenda can be found here. An announcement will be sent in the coming days once all recorded presentations are uploaded and available on YouTube.

About the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)

Formed in 1939, the ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It acts as a catalyst for change by helping member countries maintain a healthy world cotton economy; provides transparency to the world cotton market by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production; and serves as a forum for discussing cotton issues of international significance. In addition, members can take advantage of the ICAC’s global network of cotton researchers, whose expertise covers the supply chain from farm to textile manufacturing, and have free access to its cutting-edge technologies like the voice-based app and virtual technology cotton training programme. Committed to ensuring cotton’s continued sustainability, the ICAC is the only intergovernmental commodity body covering cotton that is recognised by the United Nations.