A white paper published by Wrangler and farm-management software company MyFarms demonstrates how field-level sustainability data can strengthen business relationships and results throughout agricultural supply chains.
Called “From Burden to Benefit: Sustainability Data in the Agricultural Supply Chain,” the paper draws on Wrangler’s cotton supply chain experiences to share how data analysis can be used to advance the economic interests of each link in the chain.
This is the second paper in the Wrangler Science & Conservation series. The first, “Seeding Soil’s Potential,” analyzed scientific studies to show that sustainable cotton farming techniques improve crop yields and reduce costs while slashing greenhouse gas emissions.
The new report focuses on understanding growers’ decision-making processes to better align these interests with those of manufacturers, retailers, and other members of the supply chain.
“As an apparel manufacturer, Wrangler wants to improve the environmental performance of our products. But to ask growers to make an additional effort to track and share farm-level data, we need to try to create something of value for them in return,” said Roian Atwood, sustainability director for Wrangler.
To that end, Wrangler is collaborating with MyFarms, which the software company’s founder and managing director Chris Fennig describes as a platform built by farmers for farmers to make their jobs easier and more profitable.
Co-authored by Atwood and Fennig, the paper highlights cotton industry examples. “On the sustainability side, the data can project soil-health outcomes like reducing erosion rates, increasing soil organic carbon, and improving water-use efficiency,” the authors wrote. “On the grower side, similar data can help compare seed performance, optimize application timing, calculate input purchases, evaluate energy efficiency, and much more.”
Sustainable practices help justify a price premium for cotton growers, Atwood and Fennig say. Even though the growers might only receive a few extra pennies at the point of sale, that premium can significantly increase farm income, they wrote.
Last year Wrangler also joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a multi-stakeholder initiative working to increase supply chain sustainability around natural resources. Members’ combined revenues total more than $1.5 trillion.
The paper uses cotton examples, but these insights can be applied to food and fiber supply chains, the authors say. “By thinking strategically about how sustainability engagements can benefit farmers, we’re choosing an approach that has proven successful for other supply chain initiatives,” they conclude.