Deal to boost sustainable cotton in Africa

29.08.13 Ecotextile News

PARIS – The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) have signed a long-term cooperation agreement in Paris that aims to improve the living conditions of smallholder farmers in developing regions through sustainable cotton production. After a thorough benchmarking
process between Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and the Better Cotton Standards, CmiA cotton will continue to be sold as Better Cotton to BCI members; and is an extension of the interim partnership already in existence since July 2012 on a permanent basis.

Under the terms of the newly signed agreement, the two organisations say resources generated through this joint effort will be invested in improving the livelihoods of a large number of African smallholder farmers.

To achieve this the aim through new initiatives intend to work more closely together and develop common solutions especially for issues such as child labor, integrated pest management, and in system optimization between cotton supply and demand. It is hoped this will increase the sale of sustainable African cotton on the world market along with the economic and environmental sustainability of smallholder farmers.

“Thanks to the close collaboration between Aid by Trade Foundation and BCI, participating smallholder farmers benefit through better market access and assistance and the textile industry benefits through better availability of sustainably produced cotton,” says Christoph Kaut, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation.

The Aid by Trade Foundation and BCI will also work together to promote the continuous development of standards for sustainable cotton production. Patrick Laine, Chief Executive Officer at BCI expands: “With this partnership our respective members can benefit from the activities of both initiatives, improving access to the supply of sustainably produced cotton, and taking one step closer to sustainable cotton becoming a mainstream commodity.”