change will have impacts in cotton production and processes. It will affect
different regions and parts of the value chain differently. Some regions and actors will be less
able to respond or adapt to these impacts than others. The less capable
communities' inability to respond to sudden or long-term climate change impacts
may affect businesses up the supply chain through fewer or less predictable raw
materials, interruptions in processing, reduced speed to market or more. For example, what will be the impact to
the industry when droughts prevent farmers from producing cotton in to
producing regions? If energy or
water is rationed in suburban communities, will processors be able to produce
goods on time? How will employees get to work/home should flooding occur?
It is possible for the cotton
industry to prepare for climate change's impacts. It would be wise for the indsutry to evaluate risks and
identify priority concerns as well as opportunities to mitigate the most
significant risks. An end buyer may want to identify and/or partner with
strategic suppliers and local organizations to help strategic sourcing regions
develop plans to sustain or adapt to climate change impacts as appropriate.
Climate change impacts affecting one segment of the supply
chain can ultimately affect all segments of the cotton supply chain and its
actors. Small-scale farmers are the most vulnerable supply chain actors, and
their ability to adapt to climate change will be vital. Yet, they are the least equipped to
Several regions and nodes of the cotton supply chain will
be affected by climate change. For example, South and Southeast Asia (e.g.,
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam), key garment manufacturing regions for United
States (US) apparel companies, are projected to experience greater frequency
and intensity of floods and storms. Additionally, the IPCC projects that
agricultural productivity will decline in sub-Saharan Africa and India, both of
which are significant sources of cotton used in garment manufacturing.
Climate change will directly affect the cotton production
stage of the supply chain as a result of changes in temperature, precipitation,
and extreme events. Additionally, climate change will pose indirect impacts on
the fabric mill, garment manufacturing, and consumer stages of the cotton
supply chain through changes in the availability, timing, quality, and demand of
water. All of these impacts will
likely be more severe in water stress regions.
Some areas most affected and
various resilience-building opportunities for various segments of the chain
Advance research efforts directed toward
developing countries, raising efficiencies, productivity, and crop quality
Promote better agricultural practices and use
more appropriate varieties of seeds (e.g. drought tolerant)
Provide more affordable crop insurance
Finance water/energy-efficient technology/equipment
Provide disaster aid and help communities develop
disaster response plans
Promote water conservation and recycling through
training and equipment upgrades
Raise awareness of climate risks in developing
countries amongst consumers
Facilitate consumers' contribution to
What steps are industry members taking to understand and
respond to climate change impacts?
Should the cotton industry support knowledge sharing, best
practices and technologies to address pending impact of climate change?
Can industry begin to help the most vulnerable develop
resilience to climate change?