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Greece has entered into ‘The Better Cotton’ era

The Better Cotton Standard System has decided that the Greek AGRO-2 Integrated Management Standards will equally run with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)’s Better Cotton Standard System (BCSS) from now on

Being Europe’s largest producer of cotton with more than 45,000 registered cotton farmers Greece is going to promote more sustainable Greek cotton cultivation. Which makes them able to sell their cotton as Better Cotton from the 2020-21 cotton season.

Greece-entered-The-Better-Cotton-era
Figure: BCI trains farmers covering all three pillars of sustainability – social, environmental and economic to fight with numerous challenges of cotton production.

By the end of 2022, it is estimated that 5,000 farmers will grow AGRO-2 licensed cotton (equivalent to Better Cotton), on 270,000 hectares, producing around 185,000 bales covering 10% of the total agricultural land.

BCI trains farmers covering all three pillars of sustainability – social, environmental and economic to fight with numerous challenges of cotton production. Last annual reports showing- Better Cotton uptake accounts for 6% of global cotton production, and retailers and brands sourced more than 1.5m metric tonnes of Better Cotton by the end of 2019 – a 40% jump on the last year.

The AGRO-2 Integrated Management Standards are the creation of the national Hellenic Agricultural Organisation, ELGO-DEMETER, a statutory body under the Ministry of Rural Development and Food. ELGO-DEMETER and the Inter-Branch Organization of Greek Cotton (DOV) – jointly ELGO-DOV – a partnership to introduce the AGRO-2 standards for Greek cotton production.

Alan McClay the CEO of Better Cotton Initiative wants to bring the two systems together for Greek cotton. It will be able to contribute to improved farmer livelihoods while increasing the profile of the country’s more sustainable cotton production.

This System is the culmination of several years of engagement and preparation which was started in 2017 following interest expressed by Greek stakeholders. BCI worked with IDH, to explore the possibility of a BCI program in Greece.

Better Cotton Growth and Innovation initially fund a series of stakeholder consultations and assessments to conduct in line with BCI’s start-up process. After an independent comparison of the standards and a comprehensive gap analysis, a viable path towards benchmarking AGRO-2 with the BCSS was found.

Thoroughly this review is of the six components of the BCSS to draw changes upon the Agro-2 standard to ensure consistency. Following that, Greece began the official BCI country launch process and signed a strategic partnership agreement between BCI and Elgo-Dov recognizing Agro-2 certified cotton as equivalent to Better Cotton.

The Greek cotton producer complies for several years with high environmental and social ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) to achieve a reduction in water and pesticide use while increasing yields and profits. Because thirteen of the world’s biggest clothing and textile companies signed a pledge to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2025 in a deal brokered by the UK’s Prince of Wales.

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