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Supply chain John Lewis 2/4


Here there is little regulation or adopted best practice – in many cases, trying the trace the raw material back to its source proves impossible.


For a retailer like John Lewis selling a lot of homeware cotton-based products, it’s an imperative issue. The company’s head of product sourcing Sean Allam says that the nature of the commodity and the way it is traded around the world makes for some tough challenges. “In cotton there isn’t an adopted trace- ability scheme. The cotton industry is dominated by China, India and the US and these countries haven’t collaborated. After wood and paper, the next biggest raw material that we influence heavily down the supply chain is cotton – we realised that we would only make some progress on sustainability if we could


John Lewis is intent on driving change through the cotton supply chain


give back to the farmer,” he explains. Last year, John Lewis embarked on a project with Cotton Connect, a social enterprise set up by the Shell Foundation to create more sustainable cotton supply chains. Cotton Connect works by co-


ordinating the supply chain to ensure that the retailers it works with source all the cotton they need through better farming practices, while ensuring cotton farmers get a fair price for their crop. The project, which will span over three


In cotton there isn’t an adopted traceability scheme. The cotton industry is dominated by China, India and the US and these countries haven’t collaborated


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