We grow radically sustainable cotton
We are currently growing cotton in our research lab in South London. The technology that we are developing specifically for cotton agriculture enables us to reduce the volume of water and fertiliser used by up to 80%.
We are doing this by preventing waste of agricultural inputs and radically increasing the efficiency of their delivery. At the same time we are laying the groundwork for a suite of technologies and designs to contextually address cotton’s social and environmental impact in a range of growing environments.
We believe in transparency, which is why we are combining our growing technology with new traceability mechanisms to provide sustainability credentials throughout the supply chain, from the farm to fashion company.
Why grow sustainable cotton?
Cotton is commonly known as the world’s dirtiest crop, having a tremendous environmental and social impact on our planet. The industry is behind numerous natural disasters such as the draining of the Aral Sea and destruction of its surrounding ecosystems and livelihoods. Its use of resources are mostly to blame with studies estimating that the industry is accountable for up to 2.6% of global water usage.
This is a problem for both the planet and all of us as water scarcity will directly affect ⅔ of the world’s population by 2025. But it’s also a problem for apparel and textile companies, which will soon struggle to meet demand as competition for resources become more fierce and expensive.
Making sustainable and economically viable cotton is a wicked problem with many issues to tackle. Beyond water usage, intensive cotton agriculture pollutes waterways, uses over 10% of the world’s pesticides and hides behind an opaque global supply chain.
Our initial focus lies in technology to address the intense consumption of water and fertiliser, however our long term strategy aims to tackle many of these problems, including pesticide usage and lack of transparency throughout the supply chain.
Our team is well equipped to undertake the challenge. Together we gather academic and professional experience working in industrial farms and AgTech startups, as well as designing for manufacture using experimental and emergent technologies.
Being truly interdisciplinary innovators, our core strength is in adaptability and collaboration which is why we are also building an extensive network of industry experts in fashion, agronomy and business to make hydroCotton grow and thrive.
The founding members became friends during their time at Imperial College and at the Royal College of Art. During our studies we were all drawn towards project with strong potential for social and environmental impact in various sectors. Since graduating we have gained experience working on various sustainable design projects from fashion to agriculture - 2 of the worlds most polluting industries.