Sustainable cotton farming showcased in Hanesbrands minidocumentary


In the second episode of filmmaker Rod Murphy’s Crop to Campus apparel sustainability minidocumentary, college students exploring T-shirt manufacturing visit the operations of a fifth-generation cotton farmer in North Carolina.

Episodes of the seven-part documentary commissioned by HanesBrands that follows three North Carolina State University students throughout the T-shirt supply chain, are being released every Tuesday.

In episode 2, the Wilson College of Textiles students visit Grant Farms in Garysburg, North Carolina, owned by fifth-generation cotton farmer David Grant. The students learn that sustainability starts early in the production process – before a seed for the raw material that goes into a Hanes ComfortWash T-shirt has even been planted.

Grant Farms uses sustainable farming techniques and natural rainfall to grow its cotton without irrigation by taking advantage of its location in the southeast United States.

“HanesBrands has made a significant commitment to sound water management, which is especially important when it comes to a water-intensive crop like cotton,” said Chris Fox, HanesBrands’ vice president of corporate social responsibility. “Raw cotton is the beginning of our entire production process, so it’s important we work with growers like Grant Farms, whose responsibly grown and harvested cotton serves as an integral first step in our supply chain. The cotton field is the beginning of the many important efforts we make to reduce our ecological footprint and social impact in manufacturing a wardrobe staple like T-shirts.”

The company is a member of Cotton LEADS, which advocates for responsible raw material production. HanesBrands, which has reduced water use by 25% since 2007, sources the vast majority of its cotton from areas of the southeastern United States, where annual rainfall generally exceeds a cotton plant’s water requirements and crop irrigation is not needed.

HanesBrands commissioned Murphy, a filmmaker from Asheville, North Carolina, who has won 14 awards for his first four documentary feature films, to make the documentary to assess how well the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts resonate with the expectations of millennials and Generation-Z youth.

Watch Episode 2 of Crop to Campus…

Crop to Campus Episode 2 from We Are Brandwear United on Vimeo.

In the first episode released 8 September the students – Mamie Trigg of Austin, Texas; Katy Powers of Charlotte, North Carolina; and Sydney Parker of Raleigh, North Carolina – discussed their different interpretations of what sustainability means to them.

In future Crop to Campus episodes, the students travel throughout the south-eastern United States and El Salvador to visit communities that rely on responsible yarn spinning, fabric production, and T-shirt sewing operations.

Next episode release dates and topics

Sept. 22: “Yarn Spinning in the U.S.A.”

Sept. 29: “El Salvador Production: Stitch by Stitch”

Oct. 6: “Community: It’s About the People”

Oct. 13: “Back to Campus: Tee Party”

Oct. 20: “Takeaways: How important is responsible manufacturing?”

Top Image: Katy Powers takes a photo of Sydney Parker in the middle of a cotton field at Grant Farms in Garysburg, North Carolina. Image Credit: Business Wire.

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