Cotton accounts for 40% of all the raw materials used by the global textile industry. The material is an essential part of the global economy which is impossible to replace at the moment, owing to its comfort, durability and recyclability. The cotton industry is also responsible for providing a livelihood to millions of people globally. It is hence imperative to ensure that such a high impact industry is working sustainably.
The cotton industry has an infamous reputation for several reasons. First is of heavy water consumption. Cotton cultivation has been often blamed for dwindling the water resources of the world. On top of that, the excessive use of pesticides in the crop also causes water pollution and soil contamination. Illegal child labour practice happening in cotton farms is a problem of another level.
In order to address these issues, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a nonprofit, is working to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. It aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.
With an achievement of sourcing one million metric tonnes of “better cotton” from 2 million certified farmers in 2017-18, accounting for about 19% of the total global cotton production, BCI has demonstrated that sustainability can be brought to the mainstream by getting multiple stakeholders to work together.
The organization has operations with implementing partners in 21 countries including India, Pakistan, South Africa and the USA. It trains the farmers for producing sustainable cotton and then certifies them to recognize the produce as sustainable. The training encompasses seven principles including environmental factors such as crop protection, water stewardship, soil health, land and biodiversity; as well as social factors such as decent working conditions and fair compensation.
BCI has an ambitious goal to certify five million farmers by 2020. It also aims to have 30% of all the global cotton being grown following its sustainability standards.
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The CSR Journal Team