Cotton:On Group

Cotton On is one of Australia’s largest global fashion brands and part of the Cotton:On group. The first Cotton On store opened in 1991 in Geelong and now has over 1500 stores in 12 countries, including New Zealand.


Woke Rating

We rate Cotton On as woke.

Woke Summary

  • Virtue Signalling – some virtue signalling found, especially cultural virtue signalling and tokenism. Supports Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Gender Ideology & LGBTQ – celebrates Pride Month, supports Pink Shirt Day, invovled in LGBTQI+ advocacy. Cotton On sells sex toys.
  • Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) – has DEI policies. Applies gender-based recruitment targets. Committed to 40:40:20 gender split.
  • Climate Change – supports the Paris Agreement and has emissions reduction targets (to be carbon neutral by 2030). Cotton On push a “Climate Crisis” narrative.

Woke Policies

Wokeness and virtue signalling distracts a company from its core business, which is to make a profit for shareholders while delivering excellent, affordable products and services to its customers. Businesses should not be distracted from this core purpose, otherwise there will be unnecessary costs which are ultimately passed onto consumers. Woke ideologies are typically unfriendly towards the traditional family unit.

Below are some woke policies and initiatives from Cotton On…

Virtue Signalling

“Doing Good’ (The Good) in society is as much a measure of our long-term success as our commercial outcomes.” – from 2023 Annual Report

Cotton On supports Black Lives Matter

Cotton On has a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is the company’s reconciliation commitment to the First Nations peoples of Australia.

“Cotton On is proud to be an Australian-born business on First Nations lands. We Acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the original custodians of the lands upon which we live and work.”

“Guided by our Ethical Framework, we’ll achieve our Reconciliation Action Plan by embedding ideals of belonging across every aspect of our business and empowering each other to speak up for what’s right. By walking alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we’re creating a future that’s brighter for each of us because we know that together, we’re stronger.”

Gender Ideology & LGBTQ+

Celebrating Pride Month
“In June, we celebrated Pride month at Cotton On Group… During Pride Month, our global team took every opportunity to listen, learn and grow from our LGBTQIA+ communities around the world. … Over the month our global team had many moments to celebrate Pride, including an in-person conversation with a local non-binary creator and LGBTIQA+ activist which was livestreamed to our global team mates.”

As we continued to foster a culture of belonging, we celebrated Pride across the globe, letting our LGBTQIA+ team know that they are seen, heard and valued at Cotton On.

Support of Pink Shirt Day
Since 2019, Cotton On has been the exclusive t-shirt partner of the Pink Shirt Day campaign in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation. The current design celebrates rainbow, Māori and Pasifika communities.

In 2023, Cotton On raised NZD $638,000 for New Zealand’s Pink Shirt Day.

Note – Pink Shirt Day in NZ was founded to predominantly support and promote the Rainbow community. It pushes Gender Ideology in our schools and kindergartens, and partners with InsideOUT, OUTLine and RainbowYOUTH. Learn more here.

Advocacy for LGBTQI+ people in sport
“At Cotton On, we share the belief that equality is a team sport and want to amplify organisations making a difference. Introducing ACTIIVST X Athlete Ally: A collection that calls for collective action and unity. 100% of proceeds will go to Athlete Ally to advocate for LGBTQI+ people in sport.”

Cotton On believes in Gender Ideology
“We define gender equality as the equal and unrestricted access to rights, opportunities and outcomes irrespective of a person’s sex or gender identity. Throughout this policy, the term ‘gender’ should be read to include both the biological sex and the gender identity of any person.”

“We are partnered with Pride Pledge, a public commitment that all LGBTTQ+ people should have the freedom to be safe, healthy and visible. We will use our voice and influence to support visibility, safety, tolerance, love, diversity and inclusion for all LGBTTQ+ people.”

Cotton On sell sex toys


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

Cotton has DEI polices.

Part of the company’s people focus, is ensuring their global team culture is underpinned by diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Ensure our global team feels as though they belong by building a culture underpinned by diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Climate Change

Cotton On supports the Paris Agreement, and has emissions reduction targets (to be carbon neutral by 2030 and switch to 100% renewable energy across all operations by 2030). Cotton On is starting to push a “Climate Crisis” narrative…

”In 2021, we made our biggest sustainability commitment to date – to become Carbon Neutral by 2030. It was the commitment that changed how we
looked at every aspect of our business. It meant that the meaningful action we take today would set us on the path to building a stronger future. But not only a stronger future for our people and our business – a stronger future for our planet. Knowing that we were up against the most urgent crisis we had faced in more than 30 years of doing business, the climate crisis, we knew we had to take an ambitious approach to protect our planet’s livelihood – even if we weren’t sure how we would get there.“

Positive Policies & Activities

The Cotton On Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Cotton On Group. Their projects primarily focus on marginalised communities in Uganda, South Africa, Thailand and Australia. They partner with organisations in these countries and run projects focused on supporting health, wellbeing and education. They have contributed approx. $120M AUD to these projects and communities.

WAINGAKE NATIVE RESTORATION NZ – contributed 80,000 trees and restored the habitat destroyed through climate and natural disasters. Rebuilt infrastructure to support local vegetation and animal habitats. Supports local and indigenous communities with long-term forest restoring initiatives.

Raised $600,000 AUD following devastating floods on Australia’s east coast and in South Africa. Cotton On partnered with humanitarian experts Red Cross and UNICEF to ensure funds reached flood-impacted communities, where help was needed most.

Opened Cotton On Childcare at the company’s Global Support Centre in Geelong, supporting parents and caregivers as they balance work and family life.

Raising over $450K for brain cancer research via a summer cap initiative. Co-designed with Carrie Bickmore, funds from the limited-edition summer caps went towards Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer Foundation to fund vital brain cancer research.


Note – This page was updated as of 20th May 2024. Please contact us if you’ve discovered other relevant information about Cotton On or other businesses pushing woke agendas. You should also contact us if you discover some positively woke-free businesses.

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