The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation and the Soil Health Institute have launched a regenerative cotton program.
Aimed at supporting long-term sustainable cotton production in the US, the program intends to eliminate one million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2026. The US Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) is funded by a five million dollar grant from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation. The initiative intends to educate and encourage farmers to use regenerative farming practices, such as cover cropping and no till.
With cotton making up around 80 percent of Ralph Lauren’s material usage, the funding of the USRCF is part of its Global Citizenship and Sustainability goals. The brand has committed to sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its key materials by 2025.
“Partnering to scale solutions that build community resilience are powerful ways to positively impact people’s lives,” said Roseann Lynch, head of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation and chief people officer at Ralph Lauren.
The program also aims to ensure that farmers will increase their profitability and generate long-term value upon implementation of sustainable practices. Initially beginning in Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Georgia, the USRCF hopes to then expand into Alabama, North Carolina, Missouri, California and Oklahoma. The nine states represent 85 percent of US cotton production.
“To achieve widespread environmental benefits from regenerative agriculture means we must understand farmers’ needs and experiences when adopting these practices,” said chief scientific officer for the Soil Health Institute and leader of the USRCF, Dr. Christine Morgan.
Improvements in soil health and carbon sequestration will be measured by an approach developed by the Soil Health Institute. The USRCF will also establish mentoring programs for the next generation of scientists and leaders in agriculture, and interact with Historically Black Colleges and Universities in order to increase access to careers in decision making positions in US agriculture.