[hepr-vn] Better cotton threading its way towards global markets
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Mon Jul 13 03:14:25 EST 2009
Better cotton threading its way towards global markets
Posted on 09 July 2009
© WWF-Canon / Mauri RAUTKARI
Pesticides spraying in cotton field in Pirawalla, on the Punjab Plains in
Pakistan. The Better Cotton Initiative aims to reduce this kind of pesticide use.
© WWF-Canon / Mauri Rautkari
Camels transport cotton in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Sustainable cotton, produced
using less water and pesticides is now expected to reach global markets next year.
Gland, Switzerland: The first batch of sustainable cotton – to be produced with
a fraction of the water and pesticide use of traditional cotton cultivation – is
expected to reach global markets starting next year.
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a partnership between major corporations
such as Adidas, IKEA, Gap, and H&M, and NGOs such as WWF, recently created a new
set of criteria to make cotton cultivation more economically, environmentally,
and socially sustainable.
The Better Cotton System outlines mechanisms to mitigate the negative impacts of
one of the world’s most water and chemical crops, which is often grown in
semi-arid and water scarce areas.
Cotton cultivation covers more than 2.4 percent of global arable land, involving
about 30 million farmers. Cotton is produced in more than 65 countries
worldwide, mainly in the developing world.
“The Better Cotton Initiative aims to make global cotton production better for
the people who produce it and better for the environment it grows in” said
Walter Wagner, WWF Switzerland, newly elected vice-chair of the BCI.
Pilot projects are slated to test the BCI system in Pakistan, India, Africa, and
Brazil to provide sustainable cotton to textile makers and buyers starting next
year. For example, the initiative aims to reduce water and pesticide use.
Projects underway in Pakistan and India led by WWF and IKEA have led to 75
percent reduction in water and pesticide use, while increase the net revenue to
cotton producers by 70 percent.
A WWF-IKEA project that began in 2006 in Andhra Pradesh state in India for more
sustainable cotton production on a small scale with around 40 families. Today,
the project covers 18 villages and involves around 600 cotton growers. The
cotton growers worked with test areas where they test co-planting of crops, look
at which pests are active and test biological pesticides.
“BCI endeavors to initiate global change in the mass market, with long-term
benefits for the environment, farmers and other people dependent on cotton for
their livelihood,” according to its website.
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