Advance Denim x Good Earth Cotton®

Advance Denim has announced their partnership with Good Earth Cotton®, offering a fully traceable, sustainable denim made from climate positive fibre, produced using clean indigo dyeing technology.

This movement is part of Advance Denim’s ongoing commitment to a new production model which centres environmental protection while simultaneously elevating innovation and quality.

Good Earth Cotton® is Earth’s only climate positive, traceable cotton, sequestering more carbon than it emits across its entire growth lifecycle with secure, auditable data protecting provenance and transparency.

Sharing a vision for a more environmentally accountable fashion industry, Advance Denim embraces Good Earth Cotton® as a means of change – to disrupt traditional farming and manufacturing practices to further improve the environmental impact of denim and cotton overall. 

Cotton makes up 25% of the world’s global fibre use and the fashion industry accounts for 5% of annual global carbon emissions as the third most polluting industry after construction (10%) and food (25%).*

Advance Denim intends to incorporate 90% environmentally-conscious fibres in their product line by 2023.

As an industry pioneer, Advance Denim’s 30 year history recognises environmental care as a prerequisite to development. Their focus on constant sustainable modernisation has led to such innovations as BigBox Dyeing and BioBlue Indigo that create cleaner indigo dye by using 95% less water as well as the elimination of added toxic sodium hydrosulfite in the dye process.

“Advance Denim is proud to announce that we will be adding another layer of sustainability to our Advance Sico mill in Nah Trang Vietnam by partnering with Good Earth Cotton®, bringing denim made with modern regenerative cotton to the Vietnam region,” says Advance Denim’s US Marketing Director, Mark Ix. 

“Advance Sico and Good Earth Cotton® share a commitment to sustainability and carbon reduction, and are motivated to deliver high quality, sustainable and fully traceable products.”

Good Earth Cotton® employs modern regenerative and smart farming practices to minimise its global environmental footprint and maximise soil health, while elevating members of the global supply chain as agents of change. 

Good Earth Cotton® is completely traceable, backed by the power of FibreTrace® technology, which delivers end-to-end traceability in real-time to allow for irrefutable data and storytelling that is backed by scientific evidence. 

The first of the partnership collection between Good Earth Cotton® and Advance Denim will be released in December 2022. 

Blue Illusion® X Good Earth Cotton®

Blue Illusion® has released their signature Bengajean® range, now featuring styles made with climate positive Good Earth Cotton®. The release is the first for the partnership and will see the inclusion of Good Earth Cotton® yarn in three styles of the Bengajean® as the first phase of the transition of their iconic Bengajean® to Good Earth Cotton®.

The French inspired fashion brand was founded 20 years ago by Donna and Danny Guest and has always endeavoured to keep circularity and sustainable practices front of mind. 

We are so proud to be partnering with Good Earth Cotton® and have been inspired by their carbon positive production practices. Our partnership is an important step towards a more sustainable future.

Donna Guest, C.E.O and Creative Director of Blue Illusion®

The team acknowledges that sustainable practices are always advancing, and the label are woking on strategies to lower their impact. Through their partnerships with various organisations and charities targeting landfill diversion, Blue Illusion® engages in holistic sustainable practices, considering the social and economic dimensions of their products, partnerships and operations. 

Operational changes, such as the introduction of recycled yarn, compostable cornstarch bags, an emphasis on natural fibres, and the avoidance of virgin plastics where possible, has allowed Blue Illusion to continue to lower their environmental impact.

Partnering with WorldFinds Fair Trade to support female artisans in India for their accessory production and Leather Working Group for their leather products, Good Earth Cotton® is the next vital step towards reducing their carbon footprint, as regenerative farming and positive impact practices are key to Blue Illusion®’s future goals, and are an investment in the future earth. 

Blue Illusion® will continue to invest in the wellbeing of the earth and the global community, with their next project to see a tree planted for every garment purchased from their December collection. 

Shop the Bengajean® Straight Leg in clean denim, the Skinny Leg in clean denim and the Shorts in clean denim here.

The Future of Farming is Female

Women have always had a pivotal role in agriculture. The International Labour Organisation indicates almost a third of women’s employment is in agriculture globally (2018). In low- and lower-middle income countries, agriculture is the single most important employment sector for women. 

However, women account for less than 10% of the industry in upper-middle and high income countries, on average. This is not simply due to choice – barriers such as access to and ownership of land compared to their male counterparts, education and training structures and accessibility, equal treatment and lack of representation in industry bodies all contribute to a lower female involvement in agriculture. 

This is at a loss to the industry. 

Findings of a U.S. study suggest that barriers of entry to agriculture encourage female farmers to pursue alternative avenues, with women finding success in smaller scale farms, diversified high-value and value-added products and enterprises, unique marketing strategies, and sustainable practices (Sachs et al., 2016). 

Research conducted by Dr Lucie Newsome at the University of New England also found that female farmers are more inclined to engage in sustainable and alternative agriculture – a methodology which is increasing in popularity, revenue, and ecological necessity. 

Dr Newsome has connected this to the perceived ‘nurturing’ role of women, and how it is applied to their agricultural practice. This research concluded that a common factor of women’s success in agriculture is their willingness to work in harmony with nature rather than attempting to dominate it, as traditional methods might dictate.

This factor isn’t isolated to upper-middle and high-income countries. Increased inclusion of women in agriculture is associated with more socially and ecologically sustainable outcomes in Africa, especially in food production (OECD, 2021). 

As agriculture pivots to regenerative practices which prioritise ecological health, consumers become more educated and the climate crisis continues, there seems no better time to amplify the voices of women in agriculture across the globe. Fostering female participation is essential to an environmentally-conscious future for farming. 

International Labour Organization (ILO). (2016). Women at Work: Trends 2016.
International Labour Organization (ILO). (2018). ILOSTAT database.
Newsome, L. (2020). Beyond ‘get big or get out’: Female farmers’ responses to the cost-price squeeze of Australian agriculture. Journal of Rural Studies, 79, 57-64.
OECD. (2021). Gender and the Environment: Building Evidence and Policies to Achieve the SDGs. OECD Publishing, Paris.
Sachs, C. E., Barbercheck, M. E., Brasier, K. J., Kiernan, N. E., & Terman, A. R. (2016). A New Crop: Women Farmers in a Changing Agriculture. In The Rise of Women Farmers and Sustainable Agriculture (pp. 1–29). University of Iowa Press. 

Maggie Marilyn’s sustainability journey – A self-reflective piece.

By Maggie Hewitt

Maggie on farm with Good Earth Cotton®. Photo credit Dan Roberts.

Reflecting on Maggie Marilyn’s journey over the past five years, it still surprises me that some of the toughest days in our business have also become some of our brand’s biggest moments as well as some of my proudest. When I founded MM in 2016, I envisioned a business that made it possible for people and the planet to thrive: A transparent supply chain where workers were paid fairly and treated with dignity and respect. Where clothing was repaired, repurposed or recycled, not discarded to landfill. Where decreasing atmospheric carbon and increasing biodiversity through regenerative farming was not only possible but commonplace. But most of all, I imagined a future where climate responsible fashion was accessible to not just a privileged few, but the majority. But four years in, we found ourselves fully immersed in the notoriously ruthless and rigorous fashion industry cycle and I found myself increasingly disconnected. Maggie Marilyn was experiencing huge growth, international acclaim and we were dressing people I’d only ever dreamed of seeing in my designs, but despite our brand’s determination to challenge industry norms and influence change, I could see Maggie Marilyn drifting further away from my original vision. 

Having spent four seasons pushing our wholesale buyers to continue telling our sustainability story, by February 2018 they had started candidly saying, “Sustainability just isn’t important to our customers, Maggie. This isn’t a story we are ready to tell.” That was a fork in the road for me – I knew then that if I wanted to educate the women wearing my clothes on the importance of ethical, sustainable fashion, then wholesale was not our way forward: We needed direct communication with our customer. Put simply, exiting wholesale was the only way I could continue running this business of mine in good faith and twenty years from now I believe it will remain the single most important decision MM made on our mission to become circular and regenerative. 

Today, the flow-on effect from that decision in 2020 continues to steer us in the right direction; the flexibility and time afforded to us by not needing to meet wholesale deadlines allowed us to increase our dependence on sea shipping – resulting in a decrease in our carbon emissions by 73% and making us New Zealand’s first carbon positive clothing brand. In other words, we can now accurately prove that Maggie Marilyn is having a regenerative impact on the planet. But there is no finish line; the nature of the climate and biodiversity crisis means we will always encounter new challenges and problems to solve. And I know we’re up for the fight.

Learn more about Maggie Marilyn and the pursuit of good at, and her visit on-farm with Good Earth Cotton® and Vogue here.

Climate Positive vs Carbon Negative: What’s the difference?

By Sam Duncan, FarmLab Founder and CEO

As we drive back down the hill to the house from our little holiday at the coast, I spot the now-familiar blue plastic tarps flapping in the wind on buildings in the distance. “They’ve finally started repairing the daycare,” my wife explains as we look on at the white stucco buildings at the university in the distance. At least that means our youngest won’t have to go through an Armidale winter in the drafty hall they transformed into a daycare at the back of the campus. It’s been 6 months since the tornado hit our small regional town of Armidale in Northern New South Wales and, despite being declared a national disaster by the government, the red tape of building insurers and policy agents means that reparations are slow to be realised.

This situation is common across regional towns in Australia, from the 2020 bushfires devastating the town of Mallacoota in Victoria’s east to the recent floods Lismore in New South Wales North coast, where extreme weather events are becoming more common and the victims are more often than not those who live closest to nature. Unfortunately, those victims are also a major contributor to the supply chains through which we source our food and fibre. As we start to use climate focussed terminology in marketing, it’s important to remember that we’re doing to this not for the sake of the consumer, but for the very people on whom our food and fibre industries rely: agriculture.

“Our real aim is to become ‘carbon positive’ – meaning we take more carbon out of the atmosphere than we put in, even as our company grows.” This statement came from one of the world’s largest clothing manufacturers, Patagonia. For those familiar with their story, you’ll know that Patagonia have been fighting for environmental causes since their inception by keen rock-climber and old-school environmentalist, Yvon Chouinard. This type of statement is becoming more commonly adopted by brands wanting to emphasise the work they’re doing to reduce emissions. But what does the term ‘carbon positive’ really mean, and how does it differ to Carbon Negative, and Carbon Neutral?

The formula we use to determine whether something is taking carbon out of the atmosphere to generate a ‘carbon offset’ is simple:

Carbon Sequestered – Carbon Emitted = Net Carbon Offsets

If I put some numbers into this equation to discover I am sequestering more carbon than I’m emitting, I will have a positive result.

This equation works well with the term ‘Carbon Positive’, but herein lies the issue: most companies won’t have any carbon sequestered. These companies will end up with a ‘negative’ result. If we are calculating our carbon emissions, the term ‘carbon positive’ might mean we’re emitting more carbon than we’re sequestering.

Who’s kicking whom?’

I decided to seek advice from an expert, so I asked my wife: esteemed Lecturer in Writing at the University of New England and all-around brilliant woman (I hope she reads this), Dr Lili Pâquet. When I asked what made more sense grammatically, ‘Carbon Negative’ or ‘Carbon Positive’, she asked, “who’s kicking whom?” I told her no-one was kicking anyone, we’re talking about climate change. She went on to explain one of the fundamental sentence structure rules she teaches first year students. In any simple sentence you need a subject, verb and object. In the case of ‘carbon negative/positive’ there is no verb. This absence results in some confusion around what we’re referring to. Do we mean ‘carbon sequestration’ or do we mean ‘carbon emissions’? It depends on who you ask.

Now take the term ‘Climate Positive’. It’s still missing a verb, but the meaning is less ambiguous. Climate + Positive = Good for the climate. The beauty of this statement is that it’s futureproof. CO2 and carbon are some of the most important environmental measurements today, but 30 years ago we were talking about CFCs in relation to the hole in the atmosphere. Over the next decade I wager we’ll start incorporating more than just carbon into our discussions about the environment, like biodiversity and ecology. An overarching term like ‘climate’ is a much more effective at capturing the overall good we want to do for the climate and the environment.

Cooperation through a common terminology

Brands today are becoming more transparent about the impact their supply chains have on the environment and society. Definitions can help us cooperate better. When it comes to being able to compare company A to company B’s effectiveness, having a standard terminology to compare the two companies can help consumers decide which brand to support. It can help suppliers across the supply chain to understand one another’s business. In our research, much of the government terminology has shifted to ‘Climate Positive’. The Australian government’s ‘Climate Active’ brand gives businesses a logo to use that represents ‘positive climate action.’ The United Nations Secretary General has proposed 6 ‘climate-positive actions’ for governments to take in rebuilding their economies following the global pandemic.

Of course, when it comes to action, it doesn’t really matter what terminology is being used. Extreme weather events like floods, fires and tornadoes are going to continue to impact our communities, and food and fibre industries will be the ones that feel the greatest effect. Fortunately, the food and fibre industries have some of the most transparent supply chains and best consumer messaging and awareness. If we get the terminology right here, we get consumers thinking about whether their cars, energy sources and furniture are ‘climate positive’ too.

Useful Definitions

Climate positive: means that a company or organisation’s activity goes beyond achieving net-zero carbon emissions to create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Carbon Positive: one way organisations choose to describe climate positive and carbon negative.

Carbon Negative: means the same thing as ‘climate positive’.

Climate Neutral: refers to reducing all GHG to the point of zero while eliminating all other negative environmental impacts that an organisation may cause.

Net-Zero Emissions: when total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) released and the amount removed from the atmosphere reaches an equilibrium. 

Sam Duncan is CEO and Founder of FarmLab, agricultural software which enables agronomists, consultants and farmers better map, sample and analyse soil using the latest in soil science and digital soil mapping techniques. For more about FarmLab, visit

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