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Bayer facilities boost sustainable effort
Sep '17
A group of manufacturers representing leading apparel brands – including representatives from Levi, Wrangler and IKEA – gathered in Lubbock to tour Bayer research and seed innovation facilities and visit West Texas cotton farms to see the steps growers and seed producers take to continually increase sustainable production of this natural fibre.

"Apparel manufacturers are responding to the desire consumers have to support brands that are environmentally, economically and socially responsible," said Brent Crossland, Bayer fibre development manager. "Bayer e3 certification provides a well-lit path for mills and brands to deliver on sustainability and transparency regarding the fibre they source."

Environmentally responsible. Economically viable. Socially Equitable. Those phrases were on the fringe of the public conscious when Bayer introduced the e3 certified sustainable cotton programme in 2013. Today, that mentality drives a significant sector of consumer spending and apparel manufacturers are responding with sustainable, transparent processes for bringing clothing from the farm to the consumer.

"We developed the e3 certified sustainable cotton programme because we are committed to cotton, and devoted to the growers who plant FiberMax and Stoneville. e3 is evidence that the Bayer commitment to cotton extends far beyond providing elite germplasm and regionally bred and adapted varieties," Crossland said. "We partner with our growers from seed to apparel."

Certified e3 growers across the Cotton Belt benefit from the programme because it creates demand for their cotton. Some FiberMax and Stoneville cotton growers become certified simply by formalising existing practices.

Newby Farms in Athens, Alabama, is one of the grower families that are benefitting from the e3 programme. They recently sold 40,000 pounds of certified e3 cotton to Wrangler.

"We're proud to be in with e3," John Newby says. "My family, our forbearers here, put a lot of emphasis on conservation and my granddaddy, my grandfather and my father were on the soil conservation boards. Soil conservation is the key to it and we try to remember we live in a big world and we need to be stewards of the land and good stewards to our neighbours."

Some of the practices emphasised for environmental and economic sustainability have been in practice on Newby Farms for many years.

"We use a variable rate fertilizer. We're using water sensors to try to conserve water. We've always kind of used no-till practices to try to hold the soil together," Newby says. "We just try to incorporate all that together and be good stewards to the best of our ability."

E3 is an environmentally responsible programme encouraging reduced use of water, land and energy while maintaining productivity. It is economically viable to meet the individual economic needs of farmers, farm families, farm workers and customers, and to help make farms financially competitive enterprises that are consistently profitable year over year. In addition, e3 is socially equitable to address issues of working/living conditions of growers and labourers, needs of the surrounding rural farm community, as well as consumer health and safety aspects. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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