Our approach

Always looking ahead

Sustainability is part of ECOM’s core values. It motivates us to constantly innovate and find new ways of securing cotton’s future. Our roots in cotton go all the way back to 1849, when the company was founded in Barcelona, Spain. Today, we’re building on close to two-centuries of experience not simply to meet, but to anticipate, the industry’s challenges. We have a diverse range of people worldwide working on finding solutions to concerns such as soil restoration, efficient water management, farmer support, climate-smart practices, gender equality, and child labour across every part of the supply chain. ECOM’s goal is for farmers to produce more and better products and for cotton farming to provide opportunities for dignified and profitable livelihoods for generations to come.

At its most fundamental level, sustainability at ECOM means ensuring an orderly business environment, where valued relationships and the sharing of information reduces supply chain risks, costs, and inefficiencies. Our sustainability work should lead to better business results through better supply chain relationships, lower risk and lower supply chain costs.

ECOM is continuously developing internal capacities and systems to maintain the pace of its innovation and also foster collaboration within its networks and across markets.

To find out more about our programmes, get in touch at contactcotton@ecomtrading.com.


Our sustainable cotton offerings

Our innovative approach means we can offer our mills and brands several sustainable cotton options. Each has its own certification, to give our partners and the end consumer confidence that they’ve made a choice they can trust.


Grown using natural methods, including crop rotation, green manures and composting, with absolutely no chemical pesticides or fertilisers to maintain healthier soil and boost biodiversity.


Regenerative cotton uses agricultural practices that promote soil health and responsible natural resource management. These practices include reduced or no tilling, cover crops, crop rotation, and avoiding or minimising the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.

Certified Cotton

We work with a variety of international cotton programmes and certificates such as Better Cotton (BC), regenagri®, Responsible Brazilian Cotton program (ABR), US Trust Protocol (USTP), my Best Management Practices (myBMP), Regenerative Organic (ROC), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Organic Content Standard (OCS) and Cotton made in Africa (CMiA), amongst others.

SMS Programme

We are at the forefront of sustainability and leverage our experience and diversity to foster responsible sourcing and farmers’ empowerment. Our Cotton SMS programme focuses on material issues of cotton production: soil health, water management, resilience to climate change and biodiversity. The programme includes capacity building, impact management, technology platforms, experimental plots, traceability and risk management amongst others.

Together on traceability

Traceability is key to the success of cotton’s sustainability.

ECOM is committed to working with all the industry bodies that are improving traceability in cotton, including Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA), and Better Cotton (BC).

Data is key – our data management tools mean farmers can collect data on-site, whilst a pilot programme for geolocalisation data gives even deeper insights into impact, allowing it to be measured, managed and transparently reported. It all adds up to a fully traceable finished product that gives everyone, including the end consumer, confidence in its origin.

Traceability tools

  1. 1.  Blockchain-based traceability platform

  2. 2.  Forensic science traceability (isotopic, bio-chemical and meddle compositions)

  3. 3.  Additive and synthetic tracers (DNA sequence or luminous ink pigments)

  4. 4.  Sustainable Management Services platform

  5. 5.  Geolocation data and satellite imagery

  6. 6.  Greenhouse gas, water and biodiversity online calculator

  7. 7.  Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking systems

Traceability in Cotton’s Value Chain

Our programmes

Our vision is to promote good practices in how cotton is grown, sourced and used. We’re innovating and collaborating across every part of the supply chain, with a focus both on people and the planet.

Our programmes include training and education initiatives on natural resource management, carbon offsets, soil management and regenerative agriculture, eradicating child labour, setting up finance schemes and making communities more resilient. In terms of agronomy, we’re exploring climate-smart growing, improving biodiversity, restoring ecosystems, rescuing wild varieties and promoting endangered species.



Where we operate

Key programmes

Our programmes are aligned with international sustainability and regenerative agriculture standards and certifications in various origins, covering the 3 pillars of sustainability (social, environmental and economic). Therefore, we’re exploring climate-smart cotton, amending soil health and biodiversity, improving water management practices, rescuing wild varieties and promoting endangered species. To make sure our programmes have the impact we want to achieve, we work on data management, transparency and traceability as well.


Sustainable Cotton in Northern Mexico

In Mexico, we are developing our own program and verification process, built on Sustainable Management Services (SMS) experience.

We are currently working with farmers in Northern Mexico to incentivize the transition towards regenerative farming and sustainable cotton production. The program is focused on water management, soil remediation, biodiversity and labor rights.


Biodiversity program in Mexico

We're working on biodiverse cotton crops with academia (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico –UNAM and Universidad Autónoma Chapingo) to:
- map all the native and wild cotton varieties that are viable for textiles,
- connect with producing small farmers (most of them are indigenous women, who are guardians of their varieties as they are ancestral), and
- facilitate the creation of experimentation parcels with farmers for the development of innovative practices and conventional improved seed research.

We are working with these researchers to help these producers who produce local textiles and thus have been guarding and protecting native and wild varieties for generations. Some of them even make high quality, hand spun threads that are being used to restore pre-Hispanic heritage applications!


US climate-smart cotton

“ECOM – Climate-Smart Cotton through a Sustainable and Innovative Supply Chain Approach” promotes the adoption of sustainable and regenerative practices for cotton production by US farmers, providing technical and financial assistance, as well as traceability and data management strategies. This will allow farmers to go through certification processes for regenagri, Better Cotton (BCI) and Transitional Organic Cotton (TX Dept. of Agriculture). The project offers inclusive enrollment opportunities to U.S. cotton producers.


Cotton 163, our impact investing gin in Brazil

Beneficiadora de Algodao Cotton 163 S.A. was established in 2018 in Brazil, by EISA Empresa Interagricola S.A. and a group of local farms. EISA financed the project as an impact investment while the farmers own the rest.
It is through this gin that we can now provide certified bales that are 100% traceable from farm to mill.


Blockchain traceability

We have been working with several options to develop traceability solutions for our value chains.
Product DNA (respect code) has been our main partner and tech supplier. This works through blockchain, QR codes, and data. Respect Code® by Product DNA helps us and our supply chain build trust, optimize our value chains, control information, tell stories, and communicate on the origin and production stages.
We also run projects with other platforms, and we currently have different pilots with brands to track from field to garment, using diverse blockchain-based solutions.