ESA title


  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSOngoing
  • THEMATIC AREAFood & Agriculture, Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources

Objectives of the service

GreenerCotton objectives


  1. Picture:  <a href="">Bild von azerbaijan_stockers</a> auf Freepik

  2. Logo:

The global textile industry predominantly relies on cotton, as the primary natural fiber, with a world production of 27M tons reached last year. The 5 major producers are China, India, USA, Brazil, and Pakistan. However, most cotton is still grown in a conventional, often unsustainable way. This circumstance led to the creation of several sustainable cotton standards.

GreenerCotton services support production and certification of sustainable cotton, also called “identity cotton” with satellite enabled technology. Identity cotton represents about 30% of the global cotton production and rising.

GreenerCotton is targeting two main use cases:

  1. Supporting standardisation companies in implementation and certification

  2. Supporting extension services (field advisory) to implement standards and improve production

The first use case is addressed by Service 1 “Cotton Transparency” supporting certification agencies and cotton companies alike. Service 2 “Cotton Farming”  focusses on supporting extension services, in implementing standards and to improve production. The services are qualified for the new European Sustainability Reporting Standard (ESRS), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The two services are composed of a series of micro services that can also be combined according to the individual need of the clients.

Users and their needs

Main user groups are standardisation bodies, extension services (often provided through ginneries), and the downstream textile industry at the same time. They benefit from:

  • improved quality of the standard

  • greater implementation efficiency 

  • higher transparency preventing green washing

The Textile Industry can profit from easier fulfilment of their reporting standards based on better data, while Ginneries can better support farmers and improve their production processes.

One major stakeholder are smallholders, they become indirect users of the services receiving advice and support from extension services.

Regions with small and medium sized farms like India, Africa and Southeastern Europe are mainly targeted.

Service/ system concept

GreenerCotton services support production and certification of sustainable cotton, also called “identity cotton”, with satellite enabled technology.

GreenerCotton will provide the following services:

  1. Cotton Transparency (CT): identifies and maps cotton growing regions and validates the area under cultivation. Growing regions are checked for non-violation of responsible land management standards. The cotton production is regionally monitored against environmental hazards.

  2. Cotton Farming (CF): provides continuous crop performance monitoring at field level based on remote sensing data, integrated agrometeorological weather, and validates areas and yields.

GreenerCotton service concept

With reference to the figure above, the pilot system to be deployed in the proposed activity will consist of the following elements:

  • Ag|Knowledge 4.0 back-end system including

    • Data access layers (satellite, weather, auxiliary)

    • Field data storage backend

    • Time series data layer

    • Generic analytics layer

  • Greener Cotton specific service components:

    • Cotton Mapping & Protected Area Module (CMPAM) (Cotton Transparency Service)

    • Drought Monitor (DM) (Cotton Transparency Service)

    • Cotton Field Validation Module (CFVM) (Cotton Farming Service)

    • Cotton Monitoring Reporting Module (CMRM) (Cotton Transparency Service &  Cotton Farming Service)

    • Sustainability KPI Module (SKM) (Cotton Farming Service)

    • Cotton Weather and Water Demand Module (CWWM) (Cotton Farming Service)

    • Cotton Yield Validation Module (CYVM) (Cotton Farming Service)

  • Greener Cotton visualisation components

Space Added Value

GreenerCotton is based on the Ag|Knowledge 4.0 platform, which is making intensive use of various space assets, primarily open remote sensing satellite data originating from Copernicus Sentinel like Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3, Landsat 8/9 and MODIS.

Weather data originating from Eumetsat satellites like Meteosat and GOES are exploited among other data sources by global circulation forecast systems as operated by weather providers. For GreenerCotton commercial weather data providers are used as weather data source.

GNSS will be primarily used for ground data collection. It will be collected by stakeholders via GNSS equipped smartphone devices and mobile apps.

Current solutions for in field auditing suffer from the lack of area coverage and the high costs involved (for field surveys or drones, aerial photography, sensor networks or very frequent field visits, in-field sampling techniques). The use of EO data in contrast provides objective and continuously updated information at low costs while at the same time covering up to 100% of the requested area.

Current Status

The current status section should be updated when major project events are passed e.g. FAT test, SAT test.

The project builds on the ESA Kick-Start GreenerCotton feasibility study 2021. During and after it, we have worked closely with several stakeholders to collect requirements and identify pains and gains. Based on this, we started the project with the kick-off meeting in Oct 2023. Currently we are preparing the Baseline Design Review meeting.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 02 December 2023