Our Impact
Organic cotton farming delivers numerous benefits, from the improved livelihoods of farming communities to the protection of our ecosystems. Find out about our impact on the organic cotton sector so far and how our 2030 strategy is accelerating systemic change.

our impact

The Organic Cotton Effect

At OCA, we believe organic cotton is the catalyst for a truly sustainable textiles sector. We envision a future where, every time a farmer switches to organic cotton, there is a ripple effect of positivity; farmers earn more and their land and soils are fertile for future generations, protecting our planet. We call this the Organic Cotton Effect. As an accelerator, we want to get to this future, faster.

The Organic Cotton Effect starts with – and depends on – thousands of smallholder farmers. Farmers like Rajuram.

organic cotton

Our Global Strategy for 2030

By 2030 we want to achieve a transparent, responsible, and resilient organic cotton supply chain that promotes farmer prosperity and advances the organic cotton sector’s shared sustainability goals.

To get there, we have defined five clear strategic priorities. The way forward is clear, but we cannot do it alone. Realising our vision requires a united sector. Join us in our mission to deliver positive change to farmers, brands, and customers who want to know their purchases are backing a fair and sustainable industry.

Our Strategic Priorities

Growing Farmer Resilience and Livelihoods

We’re here to support and incentivise farmers to practise organic cotton cultivation. Securing long-term commitments with global brands means we can prioritise farmers’ financial stability and improve their access to training and inputs.

Enhancing Seed Availability and Diversity

We want to make the switch to organic as simple as possible for cotton farmers. Offering them access to a wide range of locally adapted non-GM seed is a critical first step towards supporting their adoption of organic agriculture.

Scaling Organic Cotton Farming Sustainably

What’s the greatest challenge facing the sector? Scaling organic cotton farming responsibly. Supporting farmers as they transition to organic production systems will accelerate the growth of organic cotton production.

Farm-Level Social and Environmental Data

We’re eager to enrich OCA’s social and economic data reporting capabilities with environmental impact metrics to clearly show the positive social and environmental impact of organic cotton farming for the whole value chain.

Working as A Collaborative Sector

A thriving organic cotton industry is only possible if everyone benefits. Our Contributors are a network of passionate players sharing best practices, resources and ideas to help us realise a more sustainable and representative industry.

Our Impact on the Ground

Our Farm Programme is a key lever for delivering the Organic Cotton Effect. We are using it to redesign how brands, retailers, and the supply chain source their organic cotton while transforming the lives of the cotton farmers producing it and the ground on which they farm. The results in our latest Farm Programme Impact Report from the organic cotton season 20/21 illustrate the positive benefits we are delivering on-the-ground.

 

 

 

By working with over 22,000 farmers we saw a 180% increase in farmer numbers in comparison to the previous season and these farmers earned on average 21% more in net profit from their cotton per hectare than their local non-organic peers. The report shares case studies of farmers who with ongoing support through OCA’s Farm Programme are planting organically and are seeing the economic benefits.

Key Milestones

OCA is committed to the long-term work required to create meaningful systemic change in the cotton sector. Here’s an overview of the crucial steps we’ve already taken on our journey.

  • August 2016
    OCA Founded

    The Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) is established in Amsterdam, Netherlands as a multi-stakeholder initiative by founding partners Laudes Foundation, H&M, Kering, Eileen Fisher, Textile Exchange, Tchibo, Inditex and C&A. The organisation will use its platform’s collective investments to tackle systemic challenges in the organic cotton sector and realise the benefits that organic cotton can bring for people and the planet.

  • September 2018
    Farm Programme flourishes in First Season

    Our Farm Programme launched and in its first season, 2017/18, 1,797 cotton farmers participated in the Programme’s initial sourcing pilots. These pilots created opportunities for brands, suppliers, and farmers to work together on improving the business reality of organic cotton, and the integrity of the produce at the source of the supply chain. Participating farmers earned on average 11% higher net income from organic cotton in comparison to conventional farmers in the same area.

  • February 2018
    OCA plants Seeds for a Green Future

    Following the launch of our Seed Programme, OCA began investing in ‘Seeding the Green Future’, an organic cotton breeding programme, led by the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL), to address the lack of quality organic cottonseed in India. The programme identifies and develops new high performing organic cotton cultivars, building capacity and networks among farmer organisations and public and private breeders in India.

  • September 2019
    11,640 Farmers participate in the Farm Programme

    Following the success of its first year, the Farm Programme scaled significantly in its second season, 2018/19 to encompass 11,640 farmers who received purchase commitments for their organic cotton, combined with agreed premium payments. Farmers also received training and access to non-GM seed provided to them by OCA’s Implementing Partners.

  • June 2019
    Seed Programme Scales Up

    OCA’s continued support of Seeding the Green Future (SGF) enabled the programme to grow its network of partners for seed research, breeding and training to include 2 State Agricultural Universities, implement 5 on-station research trials and 150 on-farm trials and train a growing number of farmers and trainers in the 2018/19 season.

  • April 2019
    OCA develops a common language for GMO testing

    In partnership with Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and Textile Exchange OCA developed the ISO IWA 32:2019 protocol. The process of converting the ISO IWA 32 protocol into an International Standard has began and the protocol will soon become a world recognised standard for GMO-testing in the cotton supply chain.

  • November 2019
    Organic Cotton Traceability Pilot shares findings

    The Organic Cotton Traceability Pilot aimed to test on-product markers and blockchain technology to discover the feasibility of a farmer-to-consumer traceability system for cotton. The pilot was created through a partnership between OCA, C&A Foundation and Fashion for Good, and lead technical partner, Bext360. Supporting partners included Kering, Zalando, PVH, C&A and Pratibha Syntex.

  • June 2020
    OCA leads development of Organic Cotton Training Curriculum

    A collaboration between OCA and FiBL funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, this initiative will develop and pilot educational materials for agronomic and business training for organic cotton farmers and trainers. The curriculum will launch in 2022.

  • August 2020
    OCA joins forces with the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles

    This strategic partnership will promote the creation of fair and transparent supply chains from organic cotton farmers to consumers. By combining our efforts, we will mobilise and support a growing number of brands and retailers in taking action in their own supply chains and delivering tangible benefits to organic farmers.

  • September 2020
    €1M paid out in Annual Premiums to Organic Farmers

    Despite COVID-19 challenges, OCA paid out €1,074,000 in premiums to 12,271 organic farmers in India in the 2019/20 season. Organic farmers in our Farm Programme received a 2% higher net income when compared to local conventional farmers – critical support in a difficult year, which helps them stick with organic cotton farming.

  • October 2020
    OCA joins Cotton 2040

    In collaboration with partner sustainable cotton standards, programmes and codes in Cotton 2040, OCA will develop a common impact indicator set for cotton farming systems. This will help brands and retailers to confidently track the impact of their sustainable cotton sourcing decisions; support the continuous improvement of farmer services and facilitate increasing transparency and communication with consumers.

  • March 2021
    OCA study seeks to maximise the profitability and sustainability of the entire farming system

    OCA led a research project to identify the best crop diversification practices to optimise the agronomic, environmental, and economic benefits for Indian organic cotton farmers. Supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the research project was a collaboration between OCA and the Research Institute of Agriculture (FiBL).

  • May 2021
    OCA releases New Guidelines to Prevent GM Contamination in Organic Cottonseed

    OCA’s Non-GM Cottonseed Production Guidelines aim to create a standardised industry approach for the production of non-GM seed marketed to organic cotton growers, and improve the integrity of the entire organic cotton value chain from seed to shirt.

  • September 2021
    OCA awarded Regenerative Fund for Nature Grant by Kering and Conservation International

    The grant will fund a project supporting nearly 50,000 farmers, over three years, with in-conversion programmes, training and development support and pre-payment plans – all of which will also deliver clear evidence of the benefits to people and planet of shifting to organic agriculture.

  • December 2021
    OCA welcomes Esprit, Soorty, and Insignian Home as new Contributors

    They join our growing base of dedicated organisations united to bring meaningful impact and change to the organic cotton sector and bring the overall number of Contributors to 33.

  • January 2022
    OCA, GOTS and Textile Exchange expand Successful GM Cotton Testing Lab Initiative

    GOTS, OCA and Textile Exchange share the second annual overview of laboratories that can conduct GMO testing in organic cotton as per the global ISO IWA 32:2019 protocol.

Measuring Results

OCA’s Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) framework helps us gain insights about the effectiveness of our interventions in contributing to the aspired goals of our programmes. We also work with third-party verifier organisations who play a critical role in enabling the continuous cycle of learning and improvement we administer through our M&E system. To ensure their independence, impartiality, and rigour we mandate that verifiers who work with OCA meet certain requirements and demonstrate qualifications and competencies to illustrate their appropriateness for this role. We hope that the increased transparency brought by the M&E system fosters trust among the different actors involved in our projects and contributes to enhancing the overall credibility of our efforts.

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