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News from Global Partnership Projects

Better Cotton could be mainstream commodity before 2020

The availability of Better Cotton – cotton produced and licensed according to the social and environmental criteria set by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI – is increasing rapidly, and production could be large enough to make it a mainstream global commodity before 2020.

"Only 2% or 670,000 metric tonnes of the cotton lint produced globally in 2012 were Better Cotton. But a lot of people in the industry now feel we could have a significant ratio on the market before 2020," says Hammad Naqi Khan, Global Cotton Leader at WWF International’s Market Transformation Initiative.

"BCI has the ambitious aim of having Better Cotton make up 30% of global cotton production by 2020. This would mean working with 5 million farmers across the world, bringing benefits to 20 million people involved in primary production alone. Collaboration is the key to achieving this ambitious goal," says Lena Staafgard, business director at BCI.

Pramit Chanda, IKEA Material Development Leader Textiles, also believes it is possible to reach that tipping point: "It is realistic if we secure three critical success factors: We need US farmers to produce Better Cotton, we need dramatically more Better Cotton from India, and the Better Cotton Initiative needs to secure enough funds to be able to continue to build capacity at farm level."

He believes around that 3.5 to 4.0 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton lint must be available globally and more evenly distributed across important producer countries before it becomes a mainstream commodity. Today, almost half of the available Better Cotton is produced in Brazil.

WWF and IKEA were founding members of the BCI and the partnership supports its aim to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable commodity.

"This is why IKEA doesn’t buy all the Better Cotton produced by the project farmers," says Guido Verijke. He was part of setting up the joint projects in 2005 when he was Deputy BA manager Textiles at IKEA of Sweden. Today, Guido Verijke has a new role at IKEA, but remains the BCI chair.

"We create three times the capacity that we need not only to avoid premium prices but because IKEA truly wants to do something about the social and environmental problems in cotton production. We want to create a better life for the many people, not just our customers," he says.



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BCI aims to have Better Cotton make up 30% of global cotton production by 2020.


This would bring benefits to 20 million people involved in primary cotton production.


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