As a global industry, the conditions under which cotton is grown and the issues associated with its cultivation vary enormously due to differing environmental, agroecological, climatic, socio-economic and political conditions. These varying conditions mean that the cultivation of the same crop may result in significantly different practices and impacts, and that there are significantly different options and capabilities available to address these impacts. An assessment of the impacts of cotton growing, and development of the best options for managing impacts, should therefore always be done with reference to the specific context. However, despite these highly variable conditions, and the site-specific nature of appropriate responses, the impacts of cotton growing are often considered globally. Both the cotton industry and cotton as a raw material are assessed either generically, or on the basis of the averaging of information from different countries without reference to the specific production locations. Access to comprehensive, site-specific, robust and uniform data is necessary to ensure that this “globalization” of the impacts of cotton farming portrays the actual impacts as accurately as possible.