A procedure by which an authoritative body evaluates and gives formal recognition that a certification program of a Certification Body (CB) is in accordance with a given standard. Achieving accreditation gives Certification Bodies the authority to grant certification to a standard.

Accreditation Body (AB)

An Accreditation Body authorizes Certification Bodies to certify a product or process according to a specific standard. All Certification Bodies have to be accredited by an authorized Accreditation Body. An Accreditation Body can be the standard required by the country of destination or the standard required by a national government body of the country of production (e.g. for organic cotton it is the EU-Reg in Europe, the National Organic Program (NOP) in the USA, and APEDA in India).

Aid for Trade

Assistance offered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to developing countries to assist with the adjustment to trade liberalisation and the utilisation of open markets, with the intention of stimulating economic growth and poverty reduction.

Agro-Ecological Agriculture

Agro-ecology is concerned with the maintenance of a productive agriculture that sustains yields and optimizes the use of local resources while minimizing the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of modern technologies.

Animal Welfare

An animal welfare policy should address the rights of animals, but also the commitment of a company to take the necessary steps to ensure these rights. The commitments for specific fibers and materials can then be made separately.


Bacillus Thuringensis (Bt)

Bt is the acronym for Bacillus Thuringensis. Bt occurs naturally in the soil and on plants. Variations of this bacterium produce a crystal protein that is toxic to specific groups of insects.


Serves as a standard by which others are measured or judged. Textile Exchange runs a Preferred Fiber & Materials (PFM) Benchmark Program for the textile industry, helping companies identify strengths and gaps in raw material and fiber sourcing, and develop strategies for improvement. See: Preferred Fiber & Materials (PFM) Benchmark.

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) a not-for-profit organization aiming to make mainstream cotton production “better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.”


BTX is an acronym that stands for Benzene, Toluene and Xylene. Bio BTX is BTX produced from biomass. The molecules are identical to the BTX from fossil energy sources, but made from biogenic feedstock.


Mono Ethylene Glycol (bio-MEG) is one of the components of PET from biomass.


A biobased material is a material made (or part-made) from substances derived from living (or once-living) organisms.

Biobased Content (EU)

The “Biobased Content Certification Scheme” is the European certification scheme that enables independent assessment of claims about the bio-based content of products based on the European standard EN 16785-1.


Has the potential to be broken down with the use of organisms.

Biodynamic Agriculture

Is the oldest consciously organic approach to farming and gardening. It is founded on a holistic and spiritual understanding of nature and the human being and builds on the pioneering research work of Rudolf Steiner.

Bio Economy

Refers to all economic activity derived from scientific and research activity focused on biotechnology. In other words, understanding mechanisms and processes at the genetic and molecular levels and applying this understanding to creating or improving industrial processes.


Renewable organic matter, such as agricultural crops, crop-waste residues, wood, animal and municipal wastes.

Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA)

The Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA) seeks to help guide the responsible selection of feedstocks for biobased plastics in order to encourage a more sustainable flow of materials, helping to create lasting value for present and future generations.


A plastic created from either a part percentage or 100% natural renewable resources. Bioplastics are roughly divided into three main groups: 1. Biobased or partly biobased non-biodegradable plastics such as biobased PE, PP, or PET (so-called drop-ins) and biobased technical performance polymers such as PTT or TPC-ET. 2. Plastics that are both biobased and biodegradable, such as PLA and PHA or PBS. 3. Plastics that are based on fossil resources and are biodegradable, such as PBAT.14 *bioplastics are used to make biobased melt spinnable fibers.


Biopolymers are polymers that occur in nature such as plants, trees, bacteria, algae, or other renewable resources that are based on long chains of molecules linked together through a chemical bond.

BioPreferred Program (USA)

Managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goal of the BioPreferred Program is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products.

Biosynthetic Fibers/Textiles

A Biosynthetic fiber or textile is made using polymers created from either a part percentage or 100% natural and renewable resource. There are now biobased alternatives for polyester and nylon.


The bluesign® system addresses the environmental impact associated with processing in the textile supply chain. Facilities work directly with bluesign® to improve environmental production, especially with impacts associated with chemical use.

Bt Cotton

Genetically modified cotton with insecticide properties. Bt cotton carries a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis which is coding for the Bt toxin harmful for a range of insects belonging in part to the cotton pests.

Business Aggregator (BA)

A Business Aggregator refers to the entity that aggregates a raw material/crop/commodity e.g. organic seed cotton for sale and/or further processing, and/or pools together procurement needs for economies of scale. While a Cotton Producer may undertake this role, cases may be that this function is carried out by (for example) Traders, Ginners, Spinners or NGOs.

Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)

The European social monitoring system for ethical sourcing initiated by the Foreign Trade Association.


By products may be considered pre-consumer material when the following criteria are met:

  • the manufacturer has not deliberately chosen to produce it;
  • the material cannot be used again without any further processing;
  • the material is not made ready for a further use as an integral part of the continuing process of production.



An environmental not-for-profit working with over 100 brands to protect the world’s ancient ecosystems. CanopyStyle is focused on phasing out the use of ancient and endangered forests, exploring the use of alternative inputs, and creating traceability and engaging producers in solutions.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

A gas that has become an environmental concern. CO2 does not directly impair human health, but is a “greenhouse gas” that traps the earth’s heat and contributes to the potential for global warming.

Cash Crop

A crop grown for direct sale rather than subsistence crops which, for example, are grown for home consumption and to feed livestock.

Cellulosic Fiber

A fiber composed of, or derived from, cellulose. Examples are cotton, viscose/rayon, acetate and triacetate.

Certification Body (CB)

Certification Bodies are organizations accredited to certify products or processing. The certification covers the boundary of what the producer can produce (i.e. Scope Certificates) and the product flows (i.e. Transaction Certificates) within the scope. Certification Bodies can be accredited by a standard (e.g. for organic cotton, EU-Reg or NOP) required by the country of destination, or the standard required by the national government body of the country of production (i.e. APEDA in India). Certification Bodies can operate exclusively in its home country (e.g. Texas Department of Agriculture) or, more commonly, in multiple countries (e.g. Control Union and EcoCert).

Chain of Custody (CoC)

Chain of Custody supports a product content claim. It is a system to document and ensure the path taken by a defined entry material through all stages of transfer and production, to the final product. The Chain of Custody preserves the identity of the raw material. Chain of custody keeps the integrity of a product intact through a system (such as transaction certificates) designed to track the content through the supply chain. A Chain of Custody system can either be controlled through a recognized industry standard or guidelines developed by an initiative. (See Chain of Custody models: Hard Identity Preserved (HIP), Mass Balance (MB), and Documentary traceability),

Chemical Recycling

Chemical recycling (feedstock recycling) refers to operations that aim to chemically degrade the collected plastics waste into its monomers or other basic chemicals. The output may be reused for polymerisation into new plastics for the production of other chemicals or as an alternative fuel.

Circular Economy

Looking beyond the current “take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital. (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

Closed Loop Recycling

  1. Closed loop is a production process where waste (pre-consumer and/or post-consumer) is recycled into new materials and products.
  2. Ideally, a zero-waste supply chain that completely reuses, recycles, or composts all materials. However, the term can also be used to refer to corporate take-back programs, where companies that produce a good are also responsible for its disposal.

Code of Conduct

A Code of Conduct outlines the laws, principles and guidelines a company commits to following. A company/organization may work with suppliers, contractors and associates to develop a Supplier’s Code of Conduct that is in line with its’ commitment to corporate behavior.

Cotton Color

Most cotton fiber is white. Discoloring can occur due to exposure, insects and fungus attacks, poor storage etc. (see ‘naturally colored cotton’ which is a intentionally breed to be ‘colored’).


For a material to be certified compostable, it needs to conform to 4 basic criteria: 1) material characteristic; 2) biodegradation; 3) disintegration; and 4) ecotoxicity.

Content Claim Standard (CCS)

The Content Claim Standard (CCS) provides companies with a tool to verify the content of specific input materials. Each organization along the supply chain is certified by an independent third-party certification body to ensure that they have the necessary controls on the movement of the certified materials. Any type of input material may be claimed. The CCS is the foundation chain of custody system for all of Textile Exchange’s standards.

Conventional Cotton

Conventional Cotton includes all mainstream cotton not grown according to a cotton sustainability standard or the Organic Farm Standards. Typically, conventional cotton production involves the use of synthetic chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers and defoliants) and can be genetically modified.

Cotton Boll

The fruit of the cotton plant, containing the fiber and seeds, usually oval to round in shape. Each plant can contain anything from ten to a hundred plus bolls.

Cotton Classification

Classification is used to determine the quality of the cotton fiber in terms of length, uniformity, strength, micronaire and color. Cotton classification (and quality) can also be affected by trash content, leaf grade, and the presence of extraneous matter.

Cotton Fiber

Cotton Fiber (also known as lint) is cotton that has gone through the ginning process to remove seeds, leaves and casings (i.e. post-ginning cotton).

Cotton In-Conversion

For cotton to be certified organic, it must be grown organically (Refer: 3.1.4 Organic Cotton) on land that has undergone a three-year transition period from conventional practices (note the conversion period may be reduced in certain circumstances). Whilst no toxic chemicals are allowed during this time, the transition period is required to eliminate remaining residues left in the soil from past conventional practices. Cotton produced during the three-year transition period is termed Cotton In-Conversion.

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)

Cotton made in Africa is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that helps smallholder cotton farmers in Africa to improve their living conditions.


Cottonseed is the seed of cotton after the lint has been removed. It can be used for re-planting or as a commercial by-product e.g. pressed for cottonseed oil. The residue is often used as a stock feed (called cottonseed cake).

Cradle to Cradle

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard guides designers and manufacturers through a continual improvement process that looks at a product through five quality categories — material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product receives an achievement level in each category — Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum — with the lowest achievement level representing the product’s overall mark.

Cross Pollination

The potential movement of transgenes from genetically modified cotton (e.g. Bt-cotton) through pollen flow.


Desi Cotton

Indian origin/indigenous cotton Gossypium Herbaceum and Gossypium Arboreum are known as Desi cotton.

Documentary Traceability

Buyer and seller clearly indicate identification marks, e.g lot numbers, on all related documentation throughout all stages of the certified trade chain. Documentary traceability includes being able to demonstrate through bills, invoices, receipts, etc. where a product came from and where it was sold. (Fair Trade USA).


Reprocessing discarded textiles to create new consumer or industrial products, in a process that is usually mechanical. Discarded textiles are no longer in their original form, and new products do not re-enter the textile supply chain (open loop). Original textile remains intact (garments cut apart to make wipers). Original textile is shredded or deconstructed to fibers (fill and insulation). Deconstructed fibers are bonded together (geo-textiles and non-wovens). Resins added to discarded textiles to create new, durable goods. It does not include disassembled and/or reassembled garments. Most recycled industrial nutrients (materials) lose viability or value in the process of recycling. This means they can only be used in a degraded form for components other than their original use. White writing paper, for example, is often downcycled into materials such as cardboard and cannot be used to create more premium writing paper.

Drop-In Process

When a bio resource/chemistry can be utilized in existing methodology without modification to process, technology or output.


End-Of-Life (EOL)

Is a term used with respect to the time at which a product comes to the end of its intended life. The responsible management of a product’s end-of-life is a core component of product stewardship.

Environmental Benchmark for Fibers

The Made-By Environmental Benchmark for Fibers compares the environmental impact of the most commonly used fibers in the garment industry, supporting the industry to shift to more sustainable alternatives. The Fiber Benchmark is based on Life Cycle Analysis data that has been independently verified by Brown and Wilmanns Environment (BWE LLC).

Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)

Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe.

European Bioplastics

European Bioplastics serves as both knowledge partner and business network for companies, experts, and all relevant stakeholder groups of the bioplastics industry.

Extension Services

Extension services are “systems that facilitate the access of farmers, their organizations and other market actors to knowledge, information and technologies; facilitate their interaction with partners in research, education, agribusiness, and other relevant institutions; and assist them to develop their own technical, organizational and management skills and practices” (Christoplos, 2010).


Fair Labor Association (FLA)

Fair Labor Association – a multi-stakeholder initiative including companies, colleges, universities and non-governmental organizations working together to improve workers’ lives.

Fair Trade

The term Fair Trade defines a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in developing countries. The Fair Trade movement is the combined efforts of Fair Trade organizations, campaigners and businesses to promote and activate the Fair Trade principles of empowering producers, making trade more fair, and sustainable livelihoods.


Fairtrade refers to all or any part of the activities of FLO eV, FLO-CERT, Fairtrade producer networks, national Fairtrade organizations and Fairtrade marketing organizations. Fairtrade is used to denote the product certification system operated by Fairtrade International (FLO).

Fairtrade International (FLO)

A global organization working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers. Fairtrade International and its member organizations make up the world’s largest and most recognized fair trade system. In 2009, Fairtrade International, along with the World Fair Trade Organization, adopted the Charter of Fair Trade Principles, which provides a single international reference point for Fair Trade.

Fairtrade Minimum Price (FMP)

The baseline price that producers will receive for their cotton. When the market price is higher than the Fairtrade Minimum Price, producers should receive the current market price or the price negotiated at contract signing.

Fairtrade Premium

Money paid (on top of the Fairtrade Minimum Price) as part of a contractual arrangement between producers and traders that is invested in social, environmental and economic development projects. Projects are decided upon democratically by producers within the organisation or by workers on a plantation.

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)

Fair Wear Foundation is a European multi-stakeholder initiative working to improve workplace conditions in the garment and textile industry.


A raw material that supplies or fuels an industrial process.


The enzymatic transformation by micro-organisms of organic compounds, such as sugars. It is usually accompanied by the evolution of gas, as in the fermentation of glucose into ethanol and CO2.

Fiber Length

The length of cotton fiber with HVI text method at 2.5% span length measured in millimeters (mm). Fiber length is the average length of the longer half of the fibers (upperhalf mean length). Fiber length is measured by passing a “beard” of parallel fibers through an optical sensing point. The beard is formed when fibers from a sample of cotton are automatically grasped by a clamp, then combed and brushed into parallel orientation. Fiber length can be reported in 100ths and 32nds of an inch, however, international convention is to report in millimeters (mm). Fiber lengths are categorised into: Short (S) – Less than 25mm; Medium (M) – 25-30mm; Long (L) – 30-37mm; and Extra Long Staple (ELS) – Over 37mm.

Fiber and Materials (FM) Usage

Is a term used by Textile Exchange in the Preferred Fiber & Materials Benchmark program. It is an estimated percentage breakdown of a company’s fiber and material usage within all major fiber and material categories. For example, an estimated percentage breakdown of its cotton, polyester, down, or man made cellulosics consumption, where applicable.


Fairtrade Labeling Organization is a global certification and verification body, first set up in 2003 to independently certify Fairtrade products. The internationally-agreed Fairtrade Standards provide farmers and workers, traders and companies with guidance on how to balance the terms of trade.

Food Security

The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people’s dietary needs as well as their food preferences. In many countries, health problems related to dietary excess are an ever increasing threat, In fact, malnutrition and foodborne diarrhoea are become double burden. Food security is built on three pillars:

  • Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
  • Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
  • Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international not-for-profit established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.

FSC Forest Management Certification

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forest Management Certification confirms that a specific area of forest is being managed in line with the FSC Principles and Criteria, which addresses issues such as environmental impacts, land use, and community impact.

FSC Chain of Custody Certification

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody Certification traces the path of products from forests through the supply chain, verifying that FSC-certified material is identified or kept separated from non-certified material throughout the chain.



A technique for opening up hard and soft waste textile products with a view to recycling them and involves the breaking up of yarns and fabric (soft and hard wastes) to a fluffy, fibrous condition for reuse. The objective is to reduce (waste material) to its fibrous state for reuse in textile manufacturing.

Genetic Modification (GM)

Genetic modification (sometimes called genetic engineering) is the transfer of genetic characters between species to enhance the performance of the recipient species in some specific characteristic.

Genetically Modified (GM) Cotton

Cotton that has been genetically modified (See: Genetic Modification). Different types of Genetically Modified (GM) Cotton do different things. Herbicide resistant cotton can be sprayed with particular herbicides without dying; with the objective of allowing herbicides to be sprayed on weeds without harming the GM cotton plant. The insecticide resistant GM cotton contains two genes that kill particular insects. In this case the Cotton Bollworm and the Native Budworm will die when they eat the GM cotton. Other insects however are not affected by the GM cotton.Three types of GM Cotton exists: Bt cotton, Roundup Ready and Stacked Cotton.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

An organism or micro-organism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering (See: Genetic Modification/Genetic Engineering).


The process of separating the cotton fiber from the seed. Ginning can be either by roller or by saw and takes place in a cotton gin. Ginned cotton lint is compressed into bales.

Ginning Outturn

Ginning Outturn, also called ginning efficiency, is the percentage of fiber (lint) obtained from a sample of seed cotton or better understood as the percentage of product less the waste incurred at ginning.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70 percent certified organic natural fibers. The final products may include, but are not limited to fiber products, yarns, fabrics, clothes and home textiles. The standard does not set criteria for leather products.

Global Recycled Standard (GRS)

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) tracks recycled materials through the supply chain. The standard applies to the full supply chain and addresses traceability, environmental principles, social requirements, chemical restrictions, and labeling. Developed with the textile industry in mind, the GRS may also be applied to products from any industry. See also Recycled Content Standard (RCS).

Global Traceable Down Standard (TDS)

A standard applied to the more sustainable/humane use of down or feathers. The scope of the Global Traceable Down Standard (TDS) encompasses animal welfare, including the unacceptable practices of force feeding live plucking, and molt harvesting along with traceability, from parent from to factory, to ensure the compliant down and feather material can be documented as the material used in finished certified goods.


Glucose and sugars are taken directly from sugar-based crops for the use in bio-based synthetics. In the case of starch-based crops, glucose and sugars are broken down from the plants. Fermented sugars can be processed further into Ethanol, Butanol, Succinic Acid, and other chemical building blocks for biopolymers.


An important cotton genus from Malvaceae comprising of several species. Four species are very important from the point of commercial cultivation. G.Arboreum, G.Herbaceum, G.Hirsutum, and G.barbadense.

Gossypium Arboreum

Perennial shrub. Origin and distribution mostly in India. Accounting for less than 4 percent of global cotton production.

Gossypium Barbadense

Shrubs are short live perennials. Origin South America, Peru, and now mostly in South America and North Africa (Egypt). Accounts for less than 8 percent of cotton production globally.

Gossypium Herbaceum

Distribution mostly in Africa, South and East Asia, notably India. Accounts for approximately 5 percent of global cotton production.

Gossypium Hirsutum

Mostly grown as an annual shrub, commonly known as American Upland. Origin South America and Mexico, but now has global distribution accounting for more than 85 percent of cotton production.


Hard Identity Preserved (HIP)

In this comprehensive Chain of Custody model the physical product can be traced back to its source. Throughout the supply chain the yield of each identifiable [certified] source is kept separate from the products of other sources. At the point of sale consumers can be informed about this unique source. See also Mass Balance.

Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI)

The Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) quantitatively measures the life cycle impacts of commonly used materials found in products. Originally gifted to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition by Nike, the MSI is undergoing an update and will be re-launched in September 2017.

Hybrid Seed

Term used to indicate the offspring from crossing of two individuals of dissimilar genetic constitution. The main goal of hybrid seed production is to produce seeds of better viability and higher vigour.

Hybrid Seed (Inter Specific)

Hybrids from two different genus such as G.Hirsutum x G. Barbadense.

Hybrid Seed (Intra Specific)

Hybrids from same Genus such as G.Hirsutum x G.Hirsutum or G.Arboreum x G. Arboreum.

Hybrid Seed Production

Cotton hybrid seeds are produced by emasculation and dusting. In the hand pollination method, emasculation of the female parent is done in the evening and pollination of the same is done in the morning with the pollen from male parent. The resultant seed is hybrid.


Industry Initiative

An industry initiative (or program) provides a platform for stakeholders to get involved, collaborate, and commit to take action over a specific sustainability issue.

In-Transition Land

In-Transition Land refers to land that is undergoing the required three-year transition period from conventional to organic as required by all organic standards. While no toxic chemicals are allowed during this time, the transition period is required to eliminate remaining residues left in the soil from past conventional practices. Land undergoing the first, second and third year of this transition period is referred to as Year 1 (Y1), Year 2 (Y2) and Year 3 (Y3) In-Transition Land respectively.


A statistical tool designed to measure performance over time. In Textile Exchange’s Preferred Fiber & Materials (PFM) Benchmark Program, the applied weighting and scoring methodology allows Textile Exchange to create a PFM Index comprising of normalized values, company rankings and performance bandings, offering a way to evaluate year-on-year performance improvement.

Insect Resistance Management (IRM)

The set of practices deployed to slow or reduce the chance of resistant insect populations developing.

Integrated Crop Management (ICM)

A system of crop production based on a good understanding of balancing external input dependence with indigenous knowledge and techniques. Integrated Crop Management (ICM), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and/or Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) can provide the pathway to organic agriculture.

Integrated Nutrient Management (INM)

A prudent and balanced use of chemical fertilizers in conjunction with organic manures and bio-fertilizers.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

A system of pest management that incorporates all aspects of pest control, including cultural practices, biological control, natural control, pheromones, and discriminate chemical control.


Supply chain integrity, and the corresponding product integrity, is the linchpin of sustainability in the textile industry. Integrity covers the way companies are addressing issues in their supply chain, are working with suppliers to make improvements, and achieve product integrity, including the use of chain of custody standards and initiative guidelines for verifying the content of a preferred fiber or material. Certification to standards is one of the strongest ways to ensure that product claims are accurate and able to be verified. Ultimately, the goal is to move towards transparent and trusting supply chain partnerships which allows companies to closely manage risk and co-create more resilient trade relations that share value fairly through their supply network.

Internal Control System (ICS)

An Internal Control System is a sub-group of an Organic Cotton Producer . “An Internal Control System is the part of a documented quality assurance system that allows an external certification body to delegate the periodical inspection of individual group members to an identified body or unit within the certified operator. This means that the third-party certification bodies only have to inspect the well-functioning of the system, as well as to perform a few spot-check re-inspections of individual smallholders” [IFOAM]. In India and Internal Control System is limited to 500 farmers per unit.


Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

Key Performance Indicators – a type of performance measurement that evaluates the success of an organization or of a particular activity in which it engages.



TENCEL™ is Lenzing AG’s registered brand name for lyocell and modal fibers.

Life Cycle Assessment / Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

Life Cycle Assessment, also known as Life Cycle Analysis, (LCA) is a tool for the systematic evaluation of the environmental aspects of a product or service system through all stages of its life cycle. LCA provides an adequate instrument for environmental decision support. Reliable LCA performance is crucial to achieve a life-cycle economy. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), a world-wide federation of national standards bodies, has standardised this framework within the series ISO 14040 on LCA.


The lint is the cotton fiber obtained by the ginning process once the cotton seed, leaves and casings have been removed.


The generic name for a biodegradable fiber that’s made out of treated wood pulp. Lenzing’s branded lyocell is known as TENCEL™ and is a preferred man made cellulosic because it comes from renewable sources, is biodegradable, and is made in a unique closed-loop system that recycles 99.5% of the solvent used. TENCEL™ is made from wood originating from FSC or PEFC certified forests. Unique physical properties lead to their high tenacity profile, efficient moisture management and gentleness to skin.



Botanical family that cotton belongs to.

Manmade Cellulosic Fibers (MMCs)

Manmade cellulosic fibers (MMCF): fibers coming from cellulosic matter of plants (usually trees or bamboo) or reclaimed feedstock that is processed into a pulp, dissolved and then re-generated into a staple or filament fiber through a chemical process. Viscose (rayon) and acetate are the most common manmade cellulosic fibers. Others include lyocell, modal and cupro.

Marine Debris/Litter

Human-created waste, deliberately or accidentally released in a lake, sea, ocean or waterway.

Mass Balance (MB)

It is not always feasible to segregate “sustainable” from “non-sustainable” products, especially when there is no physical difference between the two. In the Mass-Balance model products from both more sustainable and non-sustainable sources are mixed, but as they move through the supply chain an exact account is kept about the volume ratios. Thus it is guaranteed that the amount of sustainable products produced equals the amount (or volume ratios) of sustainable products sold to consumers (ChainPoint). See also Hard identity Preserved.

Material Collection

Material collection refers to the point in the recycling lifecycle when a reclaimed material is collected after its original use has ended (i.e.: it would have otherwise gone into the waste stream). Entities involved in material collection could include, but are not limited to:

  • Individuals who collect post-consumer materials for sale to brokers
  • Government organizations (e.g.: municipalities) that offer curbside recycling or operate transfer stations
  • Brokers that purchase pre/post-consumer material from individuals, municipalities, or commercial operations for re-sale
  • Commercial operations that collect their own pre-consumer material from manufacturing operations
  • Commercial operations that collect post-consumer material (e.g.: retail stores).

Material Concentration

Material concentration refers to the point in the recycling lifecycle when a waste material receives primary handling. This may include, but is not limited to, sorting, screening, basic contaminant removal, or baling. Material is still unprocessed at this stage, meaning it has not been physically or chemically altered beyond basic handling (e.g. screening, crushing, or washing). For example: government organization (e.g. municipality); non-profit organization; and business entity (e.g. brokers).

Material Recycling

Material recycling is the recovery of materials from waste while maintaining the polymers’ molecular structure. In principle all types of (thermo-) plastics can be mechanically recycled with little or no quality impairment.

Mechanical Recycling

Mechanical recycling (of plastics) is the recovery of materials from waste while maintaining the polymers’ molecular structure. In principle all types of (thermo-) plastics can be mechanically recycled with little or no quality impairment.

Melt Spinning

The process in which the fiber-forming substance is melted and extruded into air or other gas, or into a suitable liquid, where it is cooled and solidified, as in the manufacture of polyester or nylon.

Micro Fibers

As a subsection of micro plastics, they are a synthetic fiber finer than one denier per filament that are either engineered specifically to be a micro fibre, or produced through degradation.

Micro Plastics

Particles of less than 5mm in size, that can arise through:

  • Deterioration of Marine Debris (Eg. Cordage, films)
  • Direct release (E.g. abrasives in personal care products)
  • Accidental loss of industrial raw materials (E.g. prefabricated plastics during transport at sea).
  • Discharge of macerated wastes (E.g. sewage sludge).

Micronaire (mic)

Cross section diameter of cotton fiber used as an indication of fiber fineness and maturity, measured in mic. mic as it is called affects processing and dyeing and is vital to yarn quality. mic should not be too high or too low.


Modal is a second generation regenerated cellulosic fiber and a variation of rayon (viscose). Lenzing’s TENCEL™ branded Modal fibers are extracted from naturally grown beech wood grown in PEFC-certified (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) European forests. Modal fibers with a high wet modulus were originally developed in Japan in 1951. Lenzing started selling modal fibers in 1964. In 1977, Lenzing started using an environmentally responsible integrated pulp-to-fiber process, which is self-sufficient in energy and recovers co-products from component parts of the wood. This flexible fiber is renowned for its exceptional softness.

Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E)

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is a process that helps improve performance and achieve results. Its goal is to improve current and future management of outputs, outcomes and impact. Monitoring of customer engagement activities is the routine and systematic collection of information against a company’s plan or action strategy. Evaluation is about making judgments about the value or impact.


A molecule of low molecular weight that, when reacted with identical or different molecules, forms polymers.

More sustainable

A way to convey a message similar to that above, that a fiber, material or product has been selected based on a comparison to other options.


Natural Capital

Refers to the commitment of a company to the laws, regulations, and other policy mechanisms concerning environmental and natural resource issues. These issues generally include biodiversity, climate change (energy use and greenhouse gases), water, chemicals, toxicity, land use and soil fertility.

Natural Capital Accounting

Natural Capital Accounting – is the process of calculating the total stocks and flows of natural resources and services in a given eco-system or region.

Naturally Colored Cotton

Cotton whose fibre is not white, and usually ranges from shades of brown to green. It is believed to have originated 5000 years ago in the Andes in South America. Some are still grown in pockets, especially in Peru. India has some.

Naturtextil IVN certified BEST

BEST reflects the standards for eco-friendly textiles developed by the International Association of Natural Textile Industry (IVN) and reviews the entire textile production chain both in terms of ecological standards and in terms of social accountability.

New World Cottons

Comprising of G.Hirsutum and G. Barbadense. G .Hirustum is also known as American Upland and G. Barbadense is known as Pima or Egyptian cotton.



OEKO-TEX® is an independent testing and certification system for textile products from all stages of production.

OEKO-TEX® Standard 100

Product certification according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® provides companies along the textile chain with testing to ensure the environmental health and safety of final products.

Old World Cottons

Also known as Asiatic and comprising of G.Herbaceum and G.Arboreum.

Open Loop Recycling

The conversion of material from one or more products into a new product, involving a change in the inherent properties of the material itself (often a degradation in quality). For example, recycling plastic bottles into plastic drainage pipes. Often called downcycling or reprocessing.

Organic Agriculture

“Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.” [IFOAM International]

Organic Certified Land / Land Area Certified To Organic

Organic Cotton must be grown on land area certified as organic to the IFOAM Family of standards. However, as Organic Cotton is grown within a rotation system to build soil fertility, depending on soil and climatic conditions, the same piece of land may also grow a variety of other crops such as groundnuts, maize and beans etc. As the scope of organic certification covers the variety of crops grown, the land area recorded during a certification process is referred to Organic Certified Land.

Organic Content Standard (OCS)

The Organic Content Standard (OCS) uses third-party certification to verify that a final product contains the accurate amount of an organically grown material. It does not address the use of chemicals or any social or environmental aspects of production beyond the integrity of the organic content. The OCS uses the chain of custody requirements of the Content Claim Standard.

Organic Cotton (OC)

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced, and certified, according to organic agriculture standards.

Organic Cotton is grown as part of a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects, and is grown in rotation with other crops that replenish the soil. Organic Cotton requires a third party certification from an independent, accredited Certification Body. Organic Cotton growing practices may vary slightly from country to country but common to all is the avoidance of the use of toxic and persistent synthetic agrichemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) and genetically modified seeds.

If cotton is to be sold as organic, a third party certification from an independent, accredited certification agency is strongly recommended. Textile Exchange’s Organic Content Standard (OCS) and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are voluntary supply chain standards that track organic fiber/material content as it moves through production and into a final product. The OCS is used to support content claims, and GOTS – which includes additional social and environmental requirements in processing – is used to support product claims.

Organic Cotton Land / Land Area Under Organic Cotton

Organic Cotton Land is land area certified to the IFOAM Family of Standards used exclusively for the production of Organic Cotton. Depending on the scope of certification (i.e. whether other crops are also grown on the same land), this is typically a sub-set of the Organic Certified Land.

Organic Cotton Market Report (OCMR)

The Organic Cotton Market Report (OCMR) is published annually by Textile Exchange. The OCMR provides a detailed and comprehensive account of the global production, consumption, key trends, challenges and opportunities, and inspiring stories in organic cotton from across the sector.

Organic Cotton Producer (OCP)

Organic Cotton Producer is a new term used in OCMR 2017 and refers to the named entity, be it an individual farmer or a group of farmers, that is certified to produce Organic Cotton (i.e. as reflected in the Scope Certificate).

Organic Cotton Project

Is an initiative to set up an organic cotton business; with a defined start and end to the intervention. Projects are often initiated by an NGO or development group supporting growers in a developing country.

Organic Fair Trade Cotton (OFT)

Organic Fair Trade Cotton is cotton that is certified to both Fair Trade and organic standards at the farm, and certified to either the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or Textile Exchange’s Organic Content Standard (OCS) through the supply chain. Fair Trade standards require farmers to organize in democratic producer organizations, while organic farm standards ensure that the cotton is grown within a rotation system that builds soil fertility, protects biodiversity, and is grown without the use of any synthetic chemicals or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs.) Note not all counties are entitled to Fair Trade certification, instead it is up to the seller and buyer to agree upon a fair price and responsible terms of trade.

Organic Farm Standard

Organic Farm Standards vary from country to country but are mandatory for recognition as organically grown. The complete list of Organic Farm Standards are available in IFOAM Family of Standards. At present the main standards include the EU Organic Regulations in Europe (EU-Reg), USDA National Organic Program (NOP) in United States, and the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) in India. Standards include: the European Union’s Council Directive on Organic Farming (EC) No 834/2007, the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), and India’s National Program for Organic Production (NPOP).

Organic Farm System

Organic cotton is not usually grown on its own (as a monoculture). It requires a variety of crops performing special roles to support the organic nature of the farm system. This means each crop grown on the farm has a role to play in supporting the viability of the organic farm system to produce cotton – and thus the livelihood of the small scale farmer. The role each crop plays will vary – for example it might contribute to soil fertility (rotation crop), help control pests (trap crop), keep the family food secure or be a valuable cash crop. Food for personal consumption, and further income from local, regional or export market contributes to the socio-economic viability of the farm system.

Organic Fiber

Organic Fibers are produced and certified according to organic farm standards. To verify a content claim, third party chain of custody certification is required from an independent accredited certification agency.


Partially Bio-Based

When the two chemical building blocks used come from a mixture of petroleum and bio resources, the polymer is referred to as partially bio. This is different from a polymer or yarn that is blended at a later stage to combine two or more materials.

Polyamide 11 (PA11)

A polymer created from the polymerization of C7 and C11 atoms, derived from the castor oil plant.

Polyethylene Terephalate (PET)

A polyester polymer which is composed by two monomers, 30wt.% of monoethylene glycol (MEG) and 70 wt% of terephthalic acid (TPA). 100% Bio: When the two monomers, MEG and TPA are both derived from biobased resources.Partially Bio: When the the MEG is derived from biobased resources only and the TPA from petroleum resources.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

PLA is aliphatic polyester made from polymerized lactic acid, derived from starch. Brand names for this polymer include Ingeo (NatureWorks LLC), and Biofront™ (Teijin).


A compound of high molecular weight that is formed through the polymerization of many monomers.

Polytrimethylene Terephthalate (PTT)

A polymer created from the polymerization of 1,3-propanediol and terephthalic acid (TPA). A partial biobased PTT is possible where the biobased 1,3-propanediol is created from sugar and the TPA is petroleum based.

Portfolio Approach

A Textile Exchange term referring to the process of building a suite of preferred fiber and materials, from a choice of preferred options, through the consideration of impacts and organizational priorities.

Post-Consumer Material

Generated by households or by commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product that can no longer be used for its intended purpose. This includes returns of materials from the distribution chain.

Pre-Consumer Material

Material diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process. Excluded is the reutilization of materials such as rework, regrind or scrap generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process that generated it.

Preferred Cotton (pCotton)

Preferred Cotton (pCotton) is a term used by Textile Exchange referring to cotton that is ecologically and/or socially progressive because it has more sustainable properties in comparison to other conventional options. Cottons currently defined by Textile Exchange as preferred include: Recycled, Organic, Fair Trade, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) cotton, cotton grown to the standards set by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI and its benchmarked equivalencies), and CottonConnect REEL cotton.

Preferred Down (pDown)

Preferred Down is a term used by Textile Exchange referring to down (and feathers) that comes from supply chains that have strong animal welfare principles in place, with zero tolerance for force-feeding and liveplucking.

Preferred Down is down certified to either the Responsible Down Standard or the Traceable Down Standard. The recycling of down and feathers is another option gaining traction.

Preferred Fiber/Material (PFM)

Textile Exchange describes “Preferred” as a fiber, material or product that is ecologically and/or socially progressive. One that has been selected because it has more sustainable properties in comparison to other options. Note: social includes both human and animal welfare.

Ways to recognize or achieve a preferred status include:

  • The fiber or material has a recognized industry standard in place that confirms its status as preferred, and can be traced through the supply chain to final product.
  • The fiber or material has sustainability criteria developed through a formalized multi-stakeholder initiative. An industry initiative provides a platform for stakeholders to get involved, collaborate, and commit to take action over a specific sustainability issue.
  • The fiber or material has a code of conduct that outlines the principles and guidelines a company commits to following. A company may work with suppliers, contractors and associates to develop a code of conduct that is in line with its’ commitment to corporate behavior.
  • The fiber or material has been objectively tested or verified as having sustainability attributes, such as through a peer reviewed Life Cycle Assessment.

Preferred Fiber and Materials (PFM) Benchmark

Textile Exchange’s PFM Benchmark Program provides a robust structure to help companies systematically measure, manage and integrate a preferred fiber and materials strategy into mainstream business operations, to compare progress with the sector, and to transparently communicate performance and progress to stakeholders.

Companies follow a self-assessment process intended to help identify the strengths and the gaps where future progress can be made. By comparing section scores with those achieved by the whole sector, companies can plan improvement efforts and prioritize action areas.

Key indicators (inputs, outcomes, and impacts) of the PFM Benchmark are monitored through a Barometer of Progress and align with Sustainable Development Goal 12: Ensuring sustainable consumption and production and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals – since the SDGs can only be realized with a strong commitment to global partnership and cooperation.

Preferred Fiber & Materials Market Report (PFMR)

An annual publication by Textile Exchange that offers a snapshot of the preferred fiber and materials landscape, with a focus on growth and changes in the industry.

Preferred Fiber & Materials (PFM) Portfolio

The process of building a suite of preferred fiber and materials from a choice of preferred options, through the consideration of impacts and organizational priorities.

Preferred Man Made Cellulosics (pMMC)

Preferred Man Made Cellulosics (pMMCs) is a term used by Textile Exchange referring to MMCs that are sourced from non-endangered certified forests and are manufactured more sustainably. This means chemicals, water and energy are properly managed to avoid pollution and human exposure. pMMCs include: Lyocell, Preferred Modal and Preferred Viscose. There is currently no third party industry standard to support the sustainability claims of a pMMC through the processing of pulp and fiber. Chain of Custody from certified feedstocks can be provided by the main forest standards (such as FSC) and through Textile Exchange’s Content Claim Standard (CCS).

Preferred Synthetics

Preferred Synthetics is a term used by Textile Exchange referring to synthetic fibers that are ecologically and/or socially progressive because they have more sustainable properties in comparison to other conventional options. Synthetics currently defined by Textile Exchange as preferred includes: recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and potentially biosynthetics. Third party industry standards to support the chain of custody of a recycled textile include the Recycled Content Standard (RCS) and the Global Recycled Standard (GRS). In addition, the GRS includes environmental, chemical and social criteria.

Preferred Wool

Textile Exchange defines preferred wool to include wool that is grown with a progressive approach to land management, and from sheep that have been treated responsibly. The Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is an independent, voluntary standard that includes strict animal welfare criteria, land management, and chain of custody. Wool has been recycled for many years, and this continues to be a strong choice for reducing waste. Wool may also be grown organically.

Pricing Models

There are a variety of pricing models for preferred fiber and materials which can contribute towards sustainability value; ranging from sustainable value-added or “split” premiums, floor or minimum pricing, through to financial resources channeled through an initiative or other supporting organization. Each has its pros and cons, and while change takes time, this subject is more likely to be on the radar as supply security issues take hold.

Private Label Products (PLP)

Private-label or white-label products or services, also known as “phantom brands”, are products manufactured or supplied by one company to be sold under another company’s brand/label.

Producer Group (PG)

Producer Group is a group of farmers working collaboratively to produce organic cotton to economic scales. The group is usually defined by geographical location such as village. The cooperative nature of the group enables the structure, organisation and various specialised roles to develop (such as leadership, marketing, administration, ICS, training management) necessary to build a successful business. A producer group may be a cooperative, NGO-supported project, company, independent farmer association and so on.

Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)

A measure of the absolute environmental impact(s) over the full life cycle of a product (good or service). Life cycle in this context denotes all value chain stages for making and disposing of a product over its full lifespan.



Viscose / Rayon  

Viscose / Rayon is the first generation regenerated cellulosic fiber, which is an artificial textile material composed of regenerated and purified cellulose derived from plant sources. Viscose is the globally recognized term for the fiber, because the process of extruding the fiber is the viscose process – where the dissolved wood pulp is a viscose material. Rayon is described as a regenerated fibre because the cellulose, obtained from soft woods or from the short fibres (linters) that adhere to cottonseeds, is converted to a liquid compound, squeezed through tiny holes in a device called a spinnerette, and then converted back to cellulose in the form of fibre. The difference between Viscose and Rayon is purely the name which this fiber is called in the US versus the rest of the world.  

For a MMCF, different machinery and chemistry used in the manufacturing process will render a different type of fiber. There are clearly variations in strength and softness with different sustainability impacts due to the production process. Wood-Based Cellulosic fibers have gained popularity as a blending partner due to favorable benefits.

LENZING™ ECOVERO™ has a much lower environmental impact than generic viscose, as confirmed by the Higg MSI*, leaving air and water cleaner. LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers are certified with the EU Ecolabel. 


When products are used again in the original format with no modification except repair. Garments can be exchanged between individuals, through a thrift store, or a take-back program. Post-industrial excess (rescued rolled goods) are manufactured into a new consumer product. Re-use does not include clipping waste, disassembled or reassembled garments, or deconstructed or shredded fiber.

Reclaimed Material

Material that would have otherwise been disposed of as waste or used for energy recovery, but has instead been collected and reclaimed as a material input, in lieu of new primary material, for a recycling process.

Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)

The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) is a chain of custody standard to track recycled materials through the supply chain. Input requirements verify that materials were actually diverted from a waste stream, and the standard uses the chain of custody requirements of the Content Claim Standard.

Recycled Content

Includes products and packages that contain reused, reconditioned or remanufactured materials, as well as recycled raw material. Previously, “recyclable” included only those products or packages that were reused in the form of “raw materials” in the manufacture or assembly of a “new” package or product. According to the FTC, the expansion of the terms “recyclable” and “recycled content” is consistent with consumer understanding. It also reflects that it is better for the environment to recycle by reusing, since reuse is likely to consume fewer resources than recycling from raw materials. The revised Recycled Content guide also provides that if advertisers use the term “recycled” to describe a product that has been reused, reconditioned or remanufactured, they must disclose that the product has been recycled through reuse, etc., unless that fact is otherwise clear from the context.

Recycled Content Claim

Recycled content includes recycled raw material, as well as used, reconditioned, and re-manufactured components.

Recycled Materials

Recycled Materials have been reprocessed from reclaimed material by means of a manufacturing process and made into a final product or into a component for incorporation into a product. The obvious advantage associated with the use of recycled materials is the removal of textile product from the waste stream and the reduced dependency on natural and fossil resources. To verify content claim, third party chain of custody certification is required from an independent accredited certification agency.

Recycled Polyester (rPET)

Polyester is the most-used conventional fiber in the textile industry. Recycling “waste” plastics to create a new textile product is preferable to drawing on fossil resources. There are two types of PET recycling:

  1. Mechanical recycling involves melting the plastic and re-extruding it to make yarns
  2. Chemical recycling involves breaking the polymer into its molecular parts and reforming the molecules into a yarn.


Making regenerated raw material for new, high quality products from discarded textiles (closed loop). New products are frequently offered at the consumer retail level. Discarded textiles are deconstructed through mechanical or chemical means. The original textile is deconstructed and remade into new yarn. Recycling includes clipping waste or garments reprocessed into new fiber and/ or yarn as well as regenerated raw materials that resemble the quality and performance of virgin raw material. It does not include industrial, landscaping, and construction applications.

REEL Cotton (REEL)

The REEL Cotton Programme is a three-year agricultural programme providing farmers with training on sustainable cotton farming practices.


Planting refuge around Bt Cotton is mandatory as par Bt Protocol. Non Bt cotton is recommended as refugia in India. Helicoverpa Armigera, or the American bollworm, has other than cotton, a number of alternative host crops like chickpea, pigeonpea, tomato, sunflower, maize and sorghum, which can also be planted. Refuge crops must be planted in close proximity to the cotton plant.


Has the ability to renew on a frequent basis. In respect of raw materials this relates to plants that have a natural ability to be renewed frequently within a set period of time. This is not the same as a recycled fiber, such as rPET.

Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is a third-party certification that covers the animal welfare and chain of custody for animals used in the production of down or feathers. The RDS ensures that down comes from animals that have been raised in an environment that promotes responsible animal welfare practices. It creates greater transparency in farming and processing practices in the supply chain while prohibiting force-feeding and live-plucking of waterfowl.

Return On Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment (ROI) is a financial metric for evaluating the financial consequences of individual investments and actions. ROI is the benefit a company receives as a result of an investment. Managers and executives look to the ROI of a project or endeavor because this indicates how successful a venture will be. Often expressed as a percentage or a ratio, this value describes anything from a financial return to increased efficiencies.

Roundup Ready

Genetically modified cotton with herbicide resistance. Carrying a gene of resistance from Agrobacterium to the glyphosate – molecule of Roundup (Monsanto branded herbicide). Roundup can be spread in the cotton field without killing the cotton plant.


SA8000® Standard

Social Accountability International SA8000 Standard is an auditable certification standard that encourages organizations to develop, maintain, and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace.

Scope Certificate (SC)

A Scope Certificate (SC) verifies that a company is qualified to produce goods to a given standard. To qualify the company must be inspected by the certification body to the requirements of the standard.

Processors, manufacturers, traders and retailers that have demonstrated their ability to comply with the relevant criteria in the corresponding certification procedure to an Approved Certifier receive a Scope Certificate (certificate of compliance), which lists the products/ product categories that can be offered certified (and labeled) to the product and the corresponding production stages.


A group of companies that operate in the same segment of the economy or share a similar business type. For the purposes of the PFM Benchmark, “sector” refers to the universe of participants who completed the PFM Benchmark for a given year.

Seed Cotton

Seed cotton is the raw cotton including fiber and seeds (i.e. pre-ginning cotton).

Small Scale Farming

For developing countries, small-scale farmers are usually defined as those farming two hectares or less. In other parts of the world, small-scale farmers have much larger land bases. Marginal farmers own very small amount of land (usually less than a hectare).

Spot Trading

Spot trading is any transaction where delivery either takes place immediately, or with a minimum lag between the trade and delivery due to technical constraints. Commodity markets are markets where raw or primary products are exchanged. These raw commodities are traded on regulated commodities exchanges, in which they are bought and sold in standardized contracts. Commodity and futures contracts are based on what’s termed forward contracts.


An industry standard defines performance levels that should be attained.

Stacked Cotton

Genetically modified cotton which carries two transferred genes in its genome: the insect resistance (Bt) and the herbicide tolerant (Round Up).


A part or subdivision. This year, all attempts were made to categorize brand/retailer sub-sectors according to recognized naming systems. However, in order to create like-for-like comparisons, Apparel is divided into three sub-sectors: Small/Medium, Large, and Extra-Large Enterprises, dependent on turnover. For the Outdoor/Sports sub-sector, there is large variation in company size; however, the majority classify as either Large or Extra Large Enterprises (36% and 43% respectively). In Home Textiles, there is some variation in company size, however, the majority are Small or Medium Enterprises (73%).


A sum of money granted by the state or a public body to help an industry or business keep the price of a commodity low, usually to encourage production or consumption or to help the business to be more competitive. Subsidies which stimulate over production causing prices to fall are trade distorting.

Supply Chain Map

A supply chain map is a visual representation of goods, information, processes and money flows that occur throughout a supply chain both upstream and downstream. Mapping supply chains of preferred fibers and materials helps a company make inroads into broader supply chain transparency, and supports corporate strategy.

Supply Network

A supply “network” assumes that production, procurement, and the enablers and services associated, work within a cluster arrangement or “ecosystem” rather than a linear supply “chain”. It offers a new way of looking at the supply-demand environment and re-think trade as a relational experience rather than anonymous or simply transactional.


Sustainability is three dimensional, consisting of environmental, social and economic dimensions. Each of the dimensions should be in balance with the others. In addition, to the concept of balance is that of inter-connectivity. Usually if one dimension of sustainability is out of step with the others the benefits will only be temporary or short-lived. On the other hand, if equal attention is paid to all, long-term sustainability and resilience will result.

Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative (SBC)

The Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative is dedicated to spurring the introduction and use of biobased products that are sustainable from cradle to cradle.

Sustainable Textile Production (SteP)

Sustainable Textile Production certification may apply to any production facility for textile items. The standards address social and environmental impacts in production, as well as chemical management. STeP replaced the previous certification of production sites according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100.

Sustainability Value

Textile Exchange defines sustainability value as the financial resource (or access to financial resource) that a company contributes towards the sustainability of a preferred fiber or material. It can include other resource input or business benefit that contributes to the sustainability of the preferred fiber or material.

Synthetic Fiber

Synthetic fibers are made of polymers that do not occur naturally but instead are produced entirely in the chemical plant or laboratory, almost always from by-products of petroleum or natural gas. These polymers include polyamides (nylon), polyethylene terephthalate (polyesters), acrylics, polyurethanes, and polypropylene.


Targets (SMART)

Targets for incorporating preferred fiber and materials should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-related.


TENCEL™ is Lenzing AG’s registered brand name for lyocell and modal. See Lyocell and Modal.

Terephthalic Acid (TPA)

TPA is a commodity chemical, used principally as a precursor to the production of polyester (PET).


Traceability is the ability to trace a product through all stages of production and processing. The ability to trace a fiber or a material’s path through a supply chain is key to ensuring product integrity. Product traceability can be achieved through supply chain mapping. Using a Chain of Custody standard is best practice.

Traceable Down Standard / Global Traceable Down Standard (TDS)

Traceable Down Standard, sometimes known as Global Traceable Down Standard is an animal welfare standard developed by independent certification organization NSF International, available to companies that use duck or goose down in their products. It encompasses animal welfare, including the unacceptable practices of force feeding live plucking, and molt harvesting along with traceability, from parent from to factory, to ensure the compliant down and feather material can be documented as the material used in finished certified goods.

Transaction Certificate (TC)

A Transaction Certificate verifies that the goods being shipped from one company to the next conform to the given standard. TCs list the concrete products and shipment details, including the buyers name and address, and declare the certification status of the shipped goods. They are issued each time goods change ownership, and details will match invoices and shipping documents.


Supply chain transparency captures the extent to which information about the companies, suppliers and sourcing locations is readily available to end-users and other companies in the supply chain. Transparency has become increasingly important for brands/retailers and their supply chains, as customers and other stakeholders want to know product origins.

Transgenic Cotton

Also known as GMO cotton and genetically engineered.


Upcycle / Reuse

Objects or material disgarded in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.


  1. Modifying discarded products to create new, quality items such as apparel, accessories, and housewares that can re-enter the textile supply chain (closed loop). Discarded products are no longer in their original form. Specific discarded products are procured from individuals, thrift stores, brokers, salvagers, or other types of companies.
  2. A term coined by William McDonaugh and Michael Braungart. The process of converting an industrial nutrient (material) into something of similar or greater value, in its second life. Aluminum and glass, for example, can usually be upcycled into the same quality of aluminum and glass as the original products.

USDA BioPreferred

The USDA BioPreferred® program provides verification of Biobased content for products sold in the United States. The certification is conducted directly through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Value Chain

A chain of activities in which the product (cotton) gains in value on its downstream journey from production (Tier 4) to final consumption.


Viscose / Rayon is the first generation regenerated cellulosic fiber, which is an artificial textile material composed of regenerated and purified cellulose derived from plant sources. Viscose is the globally recognized term for the fiber, because the process of extruding the fiber is the viscose process – where the dissolved wood pulp is a viscose material. Rayon is described as a regenerated fibre because the cellulose, obtained from soft woods or from the short fibres (linters) that adhere to cottonseeds, is converted to a liquid compound, squeezed through tiny holes in a device called a spinnerette, and then converted back to cellulose in the form of fibre. The difference between Viscose and Rayon is purely the name which this fiber is called in the US versus the rest of the world.

For a MMCF, different machinery and chemistry used in the manufacturing process will render a different type of fiber. There are clearly variations in strength and softness with different sustainability impacts due to the production process. Wood-Based Cellulosic fibers have gained popularity as a blending partner due to favorable benefits.

LENZING™ ECOVERO™ has a much lower environmental impact than generic viscose, as confirmed by the Higg MSI*, leaving air and water cleaner. LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibers are certified with the EU Ecolabel.


Waste Factor (%)

Waste is the loss of input incurred to produce the required output in a given production process. Waste is incurred at every level of the textile value chain. The Waste Factor is the multiplier applied to the output, to account for the waste for a production process, to estimate the input. Fiber weight is used as a baseline for reporting in the Textile Exchange PFM Benchmark, and three Waste Factors have been assumed for converting product, fabric and yarn to fiber within four PFM categories: preferred cotton, recycled polyester, preferred man made cellulosics, and preferred down.

Wet Spinning

The process in which a solution of the fiber-forming substance is extruded into a liquid coagulating medium where the polymer is regenerated, as in the manufacture of viscose or cuprammonium rayon.

Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)

Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production – an independent, objective, nonprofit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education.



Yarn is a long, continuous length of interlocked fibers suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking. Spun yarn is made by twisting or otherwise bonding staple fibers together to make a cohesive thread. Twisting fibers into yarn in the process called spinning can be dated back to the Upper Paleolithic, and yarn spinning was one of the very first processes to be industrialized.


Measured in kilograms per hectare (kg/ha), Yield refers the amount of cotton produced (in kilograms) for each hectare of land farmed. Yield is typically measured at two levels: Seed Cotton Yield (i.e. pre-ginning) and Cotton Fiber Yield (i.e. post-ginning).


1st, 2nd, 3rd Generation Feedstocks

Bio-based feedstocks are often referred to as 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation. This denotes the development stage and bio resource that they were taken from. 1st generation are taken from food-based crops, 2nd generation use feedstocks not used for human consumption (i.e. biomass), and 3rd generation will move further to non-land based crops, such as algae.




Please refer to glossary for further definition of abbreviations that are marked with *.


AB – Accreditation Body*
ABSTC – Aditya Birla Science and Technology Centre
b – billion (1 b = 100,000,000)
BA – Business Aggregator*
BCI – Better Cotton Initiative*
BFA – Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance
BSCI – Business Social Compliance Initiative
Bt – Bacillus Thuringensis*
CAP – Common Agricultural Policy*
CB – Certification Body*
CC – Conventional Cotton*
CCS – Content Claim Standard*
cDown – Certified Down*
CmiA – Cotton made in Africa*
CO2 – Carbon Dioxide
CoC – Chain of Custody*
Cry – Crystal*
CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility
DWR – Durable Water Repellency
EOL – End-Of-Life*
ETI – Ethical Trade Initiative
EU-Reg – EU Organic Regulations in Europe
FLA – Fair Labor Association
FLO – Fairtrade International
FMP – Fairtrade Minimum Price*
FSC – Forest Stewardship Council*
FT – Fairtrade / Fair Trade*
FWF – Fair Wear Foundation
GM – Genetically Modified*
GMO – Genetically Modified Organism*
GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard*
GRS – Global Recycled Standard*
ha – hectare (1 hectare is equal to 2.47 acres)
ICAC – International Cotton Advisory Council
ICEA – Istituto per la Certificazione Etica ed Ambiental
ICM – Integrated Crop Management*
ICS – Internal Control System*
INM – Integrated Nutrient Management*
IPM – Integrated Pest Management*
kg – kilogram (1 kg is equal to 2.20 lbs)
KPI – Key Performance Indicators
LCA – Life Cycle Assessment*
m – million (1 m = 1,000,000)
mic – Micronaire
MMC – Man Made Cellulosics*


MSI – Higg Materials Sustainability Index*
NGO – Non Governmental Organization
NOP – National Organic Program in the US
NPOP – National Programme for Organic Production in India
OC – Organic Cotton*
OCMR – Organic Cotton Market Report*
OCP – Organic Cotton Producer*
OCS – Organic Content Standard*
OFT – Organic Fair Trade Cotton*
PA11 – Polyamide 11*
PBAT – Polybutyrate Adipate Terephthalate
PBS – Polybutylene Succinate
pCotton – Preferred Cotton*
PET – Polyethylene Terephthalate*
PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
PFM – Preferred Fibers and Materials*
PFMR – Preferred Fiber & Materials Market Report*
PG – Producer Group*
PHA – Polyhydroxyalkanoate
PLA – Polylactic Acid*
PLP – Private Label Products
pMMC – Preferred Man Made Cellulosics*
pModal – Preferred Modal*
PP – Polypropylene
PTT – Polytrimethylene Terephthalate*
pViscose – Preferred Viscose*
RCS – Recycled Content Standard*
RDS – Responsible Down Standard*
ROI – Return On Investment*
rPET – Recycled Polyester*
RSB – Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials*
RWS – Responsible Wool Standard*
SAC – Sustainable Apparel Coalition
SBC – Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative*
SC – Scope Certificate*
SCS – Scientific Certification Systems
STeP – Sustainable Textile Production Standard*
TC – Transaction Certificates*
TDS – Traceable Down Standard / Global Traceable Down Standard*
TPA – Terephthalic Acid*
TPC-ET – Thermoplastic Copolyester Elastomer
TRADC – Textile Research and Development Centre
USDA – U.S. Department of Agriculture
WRAP – Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production