The Short Circuit Project

Towards a thriving and regenerative textile sector.

Cotton, the mostly used material in the textile sector. But also a crop with a dark side. Becoming more sustainable as a textile brand means changing practices at the source. We introduce a ready-to-implement approach which allows every company to become fully sustainable at the source – while leaving your supply chain intact.

Tell me more about the Short Circuit Project

The Short Circuit Project is a service developed by Nature^Squared to support companies in realizing a cotton sector that is climate-proof, full of life, and that benefits the farmers. We do this by linking brand owners directly to farmers. By doubling the income of farmers, we help them to earn a living income and improve their livelihoods. We reward and support farmers to change their farming practices, so their farms become truly regenerative.

The approach works for all kinds of companies, no matter how complex the supply chain. By working volume-based – matching each company to farmers that produce the exact volume of cotton they use in their end products – we enable companies to become fully sustainable at the source, while keeping efficient supply chains intact. By working around the supply chain, we can transform agricultural production systems together. And best of all, we can start today.

Without healthy cotton fields, the textile sector is losing

Wherever it’s grown, unless produced according to sustainable practices, cotton production presents significant challenges for the environment. Fibers made from farmed plants, such as cotton, require large quantities of water and pesticides that pollute water aquifers and decrease soil fertility over time (affecting biodiversity and GHG emissions as well as farmers’ health).

This induces loss of harvests and food for communities that depend on resilient and diverse landscapes, which may translate into higher business risks for companies sourcing from these landscapes. Given our changing world and climate, these environmental issues will become even more pressing. Sourcing cotton in sustainable ways has become necessary, so that we can continue to enjoy its benefits in the future.

We have a small window of opportunity to act by moving towards regenerative farming systems. What we have lost over the last 100 years in plants, insects and animals, we can regain within 10 years, with the first visible results within 2 years. But only if we focus on the missing link: the farmer. By connecting brand owners directly to farmers, we enable both actors to become changemakers and to make a positive impact on
climate and biodiversity.

40% of all arable lands are already degraded

40%

FAO estimates only 60% harvests are left at our current pace

60%

60% of cotton is produced by smallholder farmers, who are some of the poorest and most vulnerable in the world

60%

By 2030, demand for water in one of cotton's main producing countries, India, will outstrip supply by 50%

50%

Over 20% of global pesticides and insecticides are used in cotton production

20%

So what about regenerative farming systems?

How does it work?

The short Circuit Project makes it possible for every company to start making a positive impact now by:
  1. Keeping your supply chain intact and connecting you with a group of farmers that produces the volume of ingredients that you need for your end products. As our approach is volume based, you can still make an impact even when you don’t know the farmers who are growing the cotton you use.
  2. Paying farmers directly for making a positive impact on biodiversity and mitigating climate change. The starting point is to double the price that farmers receive. This creates a substantial financial incentive to change their farming practices, so their farms become truly regenerative.
  3. Supporting farmers to implement technical landscape solutions to turn cotton farming into a sustainable process that leaves the soil ready for multiple harvests.
  4. Improving working conditions. Child labor and forced labor are both a symptom and a cause of poverty. By doubling the farm-gate price of cotton, we effectively increase farmers’ income, aiming to break this vicious cycle.
In practice, this means that we will perform the following activities:

1. Identifying the volume you need and calculating the biodiversity premium that goes directly to farmers
2. Matching you with a network of farmers that produce the required volume
3. Developing a biodiversity action plan together with farmers, introducing on the ground sustainable interventions
4. Making smart payments, ensuring that the premium ends up at the right farmers
5. Ensuring monitoring and continuous improvement, making adjustments when needed
6. Reporting about the impact that you have made together with the farmers

Based on one simple insight:
Making a positive impact is actually quite cheap

The origin of many products can be traced back to the land. Here, at the start of the supply chain, is where the impact on biodiversity and the environment is the largest while the economic value is the lowest. This offers a huge opportunity! By focusing on the missing link- the farmer – we can make the highest impact on biodiversity restoration at the lowest cost. With less than 0.01% – 1% of retail prices, you can double the income of farmers!

Your results

  1. You can ensure that your products have a genuine positive impact on biodiversity, climate and the livelihoods of farmers.
  2. You can communicate about the impact being made on the ground to your consumers and stakeholders.
  3. You can differentiate your business based on your biodiversity efforts – solely 5% of businesses report about ecological boundaries and 0.258% align their products and operations to these limits.
  4. You are better placed to mitigate risks by practicing responsible stewardship – every year we wait longer, costs $1000 billion to restore the ecosystem.
  5. You can accelerate your efforts towards becoming a sustainable brand and strengthen your contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6, SDG 10, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 15)

Get on board

Want to know more? 
Get in touch with us.

Send us an email or fill in the form below

    The three pillars of the Short Circuit Project

    SCALABLE

    Volume-based

    Connecting companies with farmers who produce the volume of cotton that you need for your products. The more your company produces, the more you help expand the source of regenerative farming.

    SIMPLE

    Mass Balance

    By cutting short the supply chain, we make real and immediate impact based on the volume you need. As with green energy, it is about the total flow that makes up a system which is why we go beyond individual chains. You ensure the financial flows, we do the rest.

    AFFORDABLE

    Low cost – high impact

    By working volume-based and interfacing directly with farmers, we don’t have to map entire supply chains or implement expansive chain of custody systems. We keep costs low and spend the money on making positive impact straight away.

    Join the Short Circuit Project

    The Short Circuit approach is currently piloting with two companies: one in sustainable sportswear and one in physiotherapy supplies. The results are promising. Sustainable farming practices have resulted in increased vegetation cover, improved water infiltration and healthier soils. Mixed cropping systems and the reduction in pesticide use have led insects to return to the (rubber and cotton) fields. And when the insects return, so do the birds and mammals. Regenerative farming helps farmers to adapt to climate change, changing weather conditions and controlling pests. We are now ready to expand and start working with new customers.

    For our first clients, together with MVO Nederland we can offer a co-funding of 10,000 euros.
    * conditions apply

    “Thanks to the Short Circuit method, we have an accessible way of making a positive impact in our supply chain. It enables us to give back to those that are fundamental to creating our products: the farmers” – Erik de Groot, founder Iron Roots

    Easy to control and adjust the system!

    Together with ChainPoint – the industry leader in software for sustainable supply chains – we are ready to unlock a tailor-made platform for clients that require high volumes and high flexibility.

    Together we can secure and monitor all steps necessary in your supply chain and provide you with access to all the relevant data with just a click of your mouse.

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    Iris Visser

    Project coordinator

    Daan Groot

    Director

    Tom Kools

    Project manager

    Joost Hoff

    Business Sustainability Specialist

    Wiebe Draijer

    Farmers based organizations & certification expert, specialized in cocoa

    Robin Boogaards

    Sustainable entrepreneur – Tailored-by

    Marije Bakker

    Business management & operations

    Joost Geuke

    Sustainability expert – specialized in palm oil

    Johan Zandbergen

    Supply chain & software specialist

    Jesper Feenstra

    Regreening specialist

    Alexandra Meijer

    Business & communication specialist

    Erik Groot

    Sustainable entrepreneur – Iron Roots

    ABOUT

    The Short Circuit Project is an initiative of Nature^Squared (VOF De Natuurverdubbelaars).

    VISIT NATURE^SQUARED