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Only 20% of cotton produced sustainably

Today, roughly 20% of cotton is produced using more sustainable practices, and Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) plays a major part in that as cotton produced to the Better Cotton Standard accounts for 19% of global cotton production.

20% cotton produced sustainablyFigure: To ensure sustainability in the cotton firming all the stakeholders need to come forward and synchronize their work for a better future.

Producing cotton sustainably poses one of the mightiest challenges globally as the supply chain is complex, partnerships are critical in order to generate transformation and develop systems that are inclusive, fair and sustainable.

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is one such global platform with one of the largest cotton sustainability programs in the world with the goal of finding more sustainable solutions for farmers, for the environment, and for the future of each sector.

In 2016, another leading organization C&A Foundation joined BCI as it presented an opportunity to support change at scale.

“We realized that if we were really going to support and drive change, we needed to expand our programs,” says Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials at C&A Foundation.

Today, roughly 20% of cotton is produced using more sustainable practices, and BCI plays a major part in that as cotton produced to the Better Cotton Standard accounts for 19% of global cotton production.

Over the past three years, C&A Foundation has provided funding to help BCI develop its approach to promoting gender equality in cotton-producing regions and run pilot projects focused on water stewardship, land use and biodiversity.

C&A Foundation co-founded Cotton2040 – a multi-stakeholder initiative created to significantly increase the use of more sustainable cotton internationally. It attempts to harmonize the work of the standards by collaboratively developing a common language about impacts.

There are many challenges to counter, and one of the key challenges will be if cotton production is likely to suffer in the future as a result of rising temperatures, decreasing soil moisture and unpredictable weather conditions, it is important for the Better Cotton Standard to grow from strength to strength.

As for the brands, there are many approaches retailers, and brands must make.

Anita Chester highlighted, “They can increase their uptake of more sustainably produced materials, embed sustainable materials sourcing into their core business practices ­– rather than viewing it as a ‘nice to have’ managed by sustainability departments, publish public targets and commitments, sign up to industry initiatives and incentivize producers.”

“Taking natural capital into account when looking at business models will also become increasingly more important as they look to the future,” she concluded.

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