Better Cotton Initiative to Spread Throughout the World in 2010

Better Cotton Initiative to Spread Throughout the World in 2010

Cotton grown and produced to the standards of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is expected to be on the global market next year, and the BCI aims to expand into more countries.

The BCI, which held its inaugural meeting this month, is a partnership of cotton producers, brands, retailers and environmental groups, including Adidas, Gap, International Federation of Agricultural Producers, Levi Strauss, Marks and Spencer, Pesticide Action Network and WWF.

The BCI sees its standards as complimentary to other efforts like organic and Fairtrade cotton. The BCI standard calls for phasing out pesticides categorized as WHO Class I, ensuing water extraction doesn't have adverse effects on groundwater and water bodies, using production practices that minimize erosion, and protecting drinking water sources and other bodies of water from farm runoff.

BCI members WWF and IKEA have already been running pilot projects in Pakistan and India that reduced water and pesticide use by 75 percent and increased cotton producers' net revenue by 70 percent.

Projects growing cotton to the BCI standards are planned for Brazil, India, Pakistan and Western and Central Africa. The BCI plans for all of its members to account for 15 percent of global cotton production and have Better Cotton account for 1.3 percent of global cotton production. It also hopes to expand into China and Central Asia and eventually have 100,000 cotton farmers using BCI standards.

Cotton - CC license by