Study of greenhouse gas emissions of Better Cotton

Empirical study
Research report

Published 19th May 2021 by Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and Anthesis. Authored by Morris, C.

Summary

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) were seeking to quantify greenhouse gas emissions of Better Cotton and comparable production to help inform their 2030 strategy. This study has calculated that, based on the data provided, on average Better Cotton production across China, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkey has a lower emissions intensity per tonne lint than comparison production by 19%. Over half of the difference in emissions performance between Better Cotton and comparison production was due to difference in emissions from fertiliser production. A further 28% of the difference was because of emissions from irrigation. A separate piece of analysis was undertaken to assess emissions from Better Cotton (or recognised equivalent) production across Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, and USA. Together production in these countries constitute over 80% of licensed Better Cotton global production and have average annual GHG emissions of 8.74 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents to produce 2.98 million tonnes lint – equating to 2.93 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents per tonne lint produced. The largest emissions hotspot was found to be fertiliser production which accounted for 47% of total emissions from Better Cotton production. Irrigation and fertiliser application were found to be significant drivers of emissions. Reductions in GHG emissions are possible through efficiency improvements through reduced use of inputs (primarily synthetic fertilisers and water), the adoption of land management practices to sequester carbon in soils, and the use of renewable energy sources. The collection of additional information from Better Cotton farmers will help improve the accuracy of future emissions quantification projects.

Research detail

Study of greenhouse gas emissions of Better Cotton

Empirical study
Research report

Published 19th May 2021 by Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and Anthesis. Authored by Morris, C.

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