Cotton is an extremely versatile fiber and material, and one of the most frequently used in our industry. In 2021, cotton accounted for 73% of all the raw materials used by TOMMY HILFIGER globally. Of the cotton used, 80% came from more sustainable sources. Tommy Hilfiger is committed to sourcing 100% of its cotton sustainably by 2025. 

According to Textile Exchange, there are different categories of more sustainable cotton, which are defined by a range of agricultural practices and different environmental and/or socio-economic priorities. A more sustainable cotton typically creates positive environmental impact compared to conventional cotton. 

The more sustainable cotton mentioned on our hangtags are discussed below:

Made from pre- or post-consumer cotton waste (e.g., from production facilities or used textiles), recycled cotton is the most sustainable type of cotton. Using recycled fibers reduces the depletion of natural resources and amount of textile waste that ends up in landfills and enables us to close the loop and avoid producing new cotton.

When we refer to recycled cotton in this context, we are specifically referring to cotton that has been mechanically recycled, known as shredding. Once shredded, cotton is spun back into new yarns to be re-used in materials.

When we shred cotton, we process the cotton material into a secondary raw material without significantly changing its chemical structure. Due to the nature of shredding fibers, some shortening of staple or fiber length is unavoidable. For all fibers including cotton, this can result in some technical limitations in the quality of the materials and textiles, however, there are exciting advancements happening in the innovation of mechanically recycled materials.

  • Pre-Consumer Recycled Materials – These are materials diverted from waste streams during the manufacturing process. For example, using leftover cutting scraps from manufacturing facilities when a garment is being made.
  • Post-Consumer Recycled Materials – These are materials generated by households or commercial and industrial facilities. When these products can no longer be used for their intended purpose and are recycled, they are then determined to be post-consumer.

Tommy Hilfiger requires recycled materials to have Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or Recycled Content Standard (RCS) certification.

Organic cotton is grown without chemical pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetically modified seeds. These methods help support biodiversity, healthy ecosystems and improve soil quality, which in turn has a positive impact on the environment.

Organic cotton production systems aim to replenish and maintain soil fertility while expanding biologically diverse agriculture. This is done by prohibiting the use of synthetic, toxic, and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, as well as genetically engineered seed. The process of transitioning from conventional cotton to organic takes approximately three years, or until the land qualifies to be certified organic under national or international organic standards. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers meet strict national or regional regulations, addressing methods and materials allowed in organic production.

Tommy Hilfiger requires organic cotton to have Organic Content Standard (OCS) certification.

This follows the farming practices described in organic cotton, but the farm is in the process of shifting from conventional to organic farming practices. This process of transition takes approximately three years, or until the land qualifies to be certified organic under national or international organic standards.

Less than one percent of the world’s cotton is grown organically. Demand for organic cotton has increased in recent years to the point that, without a plan to convert more conventional cotton to organic cotton, we may not be able to ensure a future supply for our products.

Converting to organic is a multi-year journey as farmland needs time to recover from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides used on the cotton plants and soil. When farmers make this change, the switch from conventional to organic farming can have severe impacts on cotton growing and yield and therefore the livelihood of the farmer. Most small-scale farmers cannot survive three years of lost earnings, and more than 50% of farmers quit the conversion to organic cotton in the first year, unless supported through increased prices for the cotton they do sell that reflect the lost income in making this transition.

To both secure future supplies of organic cotton and ensure farmers continue to transition to organic, along with financial support, we also need to send clear demand signals to the industry and farmers so they can make the switch to “in-conversion” or “transitional” cotton while feeling confident there will be a market for it.

Tommy Hilfiger requires organic cotton to have Organic Content Standard (OCS) certification.

Regenerative cotton is grown according to farming practices that take a holistic approach to landscape, aiming to restore soil health and ecosystems, while helping to improve the livelihoods of farmers. Regenerative cotton farming and its use helps to shift away from purely extracting resources to building replenished soil and agriculture, ultimately giving back to nature.

“Regenerative agriculture” is a term that not only relates to cotton, but the farming practices that promote soil health and restore organic carbon in the soil. There is no “one size fits all” method as the practices can depend on regional context and location, climate, the crops being grown or soil types.

Some of the practices used in regenerative farming may include reducing tilling (no-till or low-till), use of cover crops in between harvest seasons to reduce soil erosion, complex crop rotation, rotating livestock with crops and avoiding and/or minimizing the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. These techniques allow for drawing in and storing organic carbon (sequestering carbon) that helps to regenerate soil health by preserving nutrients and rebuilding organic matter, while enhancing on-farm biodiversity and ecosystem services (water retention, soil erosion) for improved soil fertility, livelihoods and long-term resilience.

Tommy Hilfiger requires regenerative cotton materials to have RegenAgri certification.