Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

WUR and G-Star develop trousers made from Dutch-grown cotton

Wageningen University & Research and clothing manufacturer G-Star have jointly developed a pair of trousers made entirely from cotton grown in Dutch greenhouses. The project aims for the most sustainable clothing production possible. "Cotton cultivation in greenhouses results in a production increase of five to 23 times and significantly less water usage (95%) thanks to the reuse of (rain)water. Additionally, no chemical pesticides have been used," says researcher Filip van Noort.

Despite these advantages, there are still hurdles to overcome. For example, the initial production costs are too high, making greenhouse-grown cotton currently not economically viable. Further improvements and scaling up are necessary to make 'home-grown denim' economically feasible in the future.

Cotton is an easy crop to grow but requires a lot of agricultural space and can need up to 10,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of cotton. Additionally, cotton cultivation depends on a specific warm climate, making cotton fields the starting point of a long and complex supply chain to the consumer. There is a great global demand for responsibly grown cotton.

Research in Bleiswijk
For six months, research was conducted on greenhouse-grown cotton at the business unit Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University & Research in Bleiswijk. The research focused on the quality, yield, and fibre properties of cotton, and compared the environmental effects with traditional cultivation methods. Precision irrigation and biological control were among the methods examined to reduce the environmental impact. The economic viability and market potential were also analysed.

Greenhouse-grown cotton will not quickly replace conventional cotton cultivation. However, Van Noort sees potential in a niche market for such sustainable products. The growing demand for environmentally friendly and ethically produced clothing can stimulate the market for greenhouse-grown cotton, especially among consumers who value sustainability and transparency in the production chain.

Additionally, such projects can offer valuable lessons for traditional outdoor cotton cultivation. "By experimenting with new, more sustainable cultivation methods in greenhouses, researchers and growers gain new insights that can be applied to improve the overall sustainability and efficiency of cotton cultivation, both in the Netherlands and worldwide," says Van Noort.


Publication date: