In November 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the Morrison's website, my.morrisons.com, and found that the company sold a range of clothes containing cotton under the "Nutmeg" brand. The clothes were not labelled as being made from organic cotton.
Morrisons' website stated: "Morrisons is committed to improving cotton farming practices globally with the Better Cotton Initiative. The Better Cotton Initiative makes global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future. Better Cotton is sourced via a system of Mass Balance. We are committed to sourcing 100% of cotton used in our Nutmeg clothing range as Better Cotton by 2025."
Although this was a positive commitment, Ethical Consumer looked for policies already in place to cover a company's entire clothing range. As the company's range was not 100% certified at the time of writing, it received Ethical Consumer's Worst Rating for its cotton sourcing policy and lost marks in three categories as detailed below:
According to Anti-Slavery international (ASI) website viewed by Ethical Consumer in August 2018, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were two of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, and every year their governments forcibly mobilised over one million citizens to grow and harvest cotton. Due to the high proportion of cotton likely to have come from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and the prevalence of forced labour in its production, the company lost half a mark in the Workers Rights category.
The Organic Trade Association website, www.ota.com, stated in July 2018 that cotton covered roughly 2.78% of global arable land, but accounted for 12.34% of all insecticide sales and 3.94% of herbicide sales. Due to the impacts of the widespread use of pesticides in cotton production worldwide the company also lost half a mark in the Pollution & Toxics category.
According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a non-profit pro biotech organisation, genetically modified cotton accounted for 80% of cotton grown in 2017. Due to the prevalence of GM cotton in cotton supply chains and the lack of any evidence that the company avoided it, it was assumed that some of the company's cotton products contained some GM material. As a result it lost half a mark under the Controversial Technology category.