Cotton represents 65% of textile inputs, which characterizes this raw material as strategic for the national industry. However, the intense use of water and pesticides has transformed ordinary cotton into one of the most polluting commodities in the world. The “2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge”, guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), secured an agreement with 39 transnational companies that have committed to develop products with 100% sustainable cotton. In Brazil, less than 1% of cotton production is of organic origin. Included in the percentage, colored cotton is gaining prominence.
Since 2006 The Santa Luzia Hammocks and Decoration has grown natural and organic colored cotton on 20 hectares to supply its own production of hammocks and blankets. With the growing demand, the company increased its agricultural production by 300% to also serve weavers and other partners in the South and Southeast of the country.
So far, there are 60 hectares producing 1,200 kilos of cotton per hectare in municipalities surrounding the textile factory located in São Bento, Paraiba state. The project foresees the planting of 100 hectares of cotton in 2021. “We are promoting the resumption of cotton culture in the State, which was already the leader of the country’ explains Mr. Armando Dantas, executive of the textile company.
The interest in textile products is being absorbed by other sectors related to well-being, such as Positiv.a, which offers ecological products for cleaning the house. Miss Marcela Zambardino, co-founder and coCEO of the company, explains the choice of fabrics from Santa Luzia: “Plain cotton is one of the most polluting commodities in the world. And organic cotton, when composing pieces signed by stylists, becomes an expensive product. A cleaning cloth may be the only organic cotton inside the home. And our customers also buy because they want to support a national product, which respects and values the land and the people”.
The expansion of cotton in Paraiba state is strengthening agricultural communities
The Santa Luzia’s CEO is part of a generation of leaders who anticipate a new industry reality giving priority to sustainability and transparency. The entrepreneurial initiative is supported by several institutions – public and private.
One of these supports comes from the Paraiba Company of Research, Rural Extension and Land Regularization – Empaer, whose technicians bring knowledge to the activity by teaching the farmer to take care of the land in the semiarid, with peculiarities due to the low rainfall rate. For Mr. Nivaldo Moreno Magalhães, president of Empaer, the action of maintaining a local productive arrangement that stands out for being in a remote and socially vulnerable area is commendable. “This brings a significant benefit to these families who used to plant only for subsistence and, today, already nurture new perspectives”, he declares.
According to Mr. Luiz Sávio, manager of the Institute of Textile and Clothing Technology at Senai /Paraiba STATE , the entity supports the expansion initiative, mainly for the benefit of feather.
Savio observes the impact of local production. While the state of Paraiba in 2019 produced 20 tons of colored feathered organic cotton including Santa Luzia production, this company alone is expected to produce more than 25 tons later this year.
For agribusiness specialist Mr.Gilvan Ramos, from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation – Embrapa Cotton, The Santa Luzia Co today represents, in the state of Paraiba and in Brazil, an industrial-commercial enterprise for exploitation technology of naturally colored cotton technology. “Alongside other micro-entrepreneurial ventures, the initiative is the most complete because its work schedule and projects developed to date have a beginning, middle and end”, he says.
For the CEO of Santa Luzia Hammocks and Decoration, the creation of the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge should help large companies to keep their focus on environmentally friendly development. Soon, even small textile companies should put sustainable cotton at the center of their business and The Santa Luzia Co will be the alternative because it has the production chain in full capacity to serve them. “Our proposal is to offer cotton with high added value because it is a raw material aligned with the principles of environmental, economic and social sustainability”.