This week, the BCI 2018 Global Cotton Conference brought the entire sector together on 27–28 June, to collaborate on a more sustainable future for cotton. We have now reached the end of the conference and would like to share our top five highlights with all of you who could not join us in Brussels, Belgium, this year.

Sustainable Development Goals

In 1969 we saw the Earth for the first time, and in doing so it sparked a movement towards protecting it. Brice Lalonde, former sustainability advisor to the UN, opened the conference with a powerful and energetic talk on the evolution of the Sustainable Development Goals and their power to drive positive change. The SDGs provide a clear framework for global action which sits above country borders and political landscapes.

Scaling Demand and the CottonUp Guide

Dr. Sally Uren, CEO at Forum for the Future and Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials at C&A Foundation, launched the new CottonUp guide at the conference. CottonUp is a guide to sourcing more sustainable cotton and aims to equip retailers and brands with information to increase their sourcing volumes of more sustainable cotton. Take a look athttp://www.cottonupguide.organd share it with your colleagues.

BCI Farmer Panel

Three BCI Farmers, Zeb Winslow III (USA), Vinodbhai Jasrajbhai Patel (India) and Almas Parveen (Pakistan) shared their captivating personal stories with conference attendees. Due to Pakistani visa issues, Almas, unfortunately, could not attend the conference in person, but gave her heartfelt account via video. From challenging gender inequality, to training their peers, to implementing innovative sustainable practices, this insightful and emotive session brought more sustainable cotton production to life.

Breakout Sessions

Numerous and varied breakout sessions during the two-day conference allowed attendees to choose from field level, supply chain or consumer facing topics of interest. Breakout sessions were interactive, and the audience participated with panellists to address key challenges and solutions in the sector.

The Harvest

Throughout the conference, a graphic recorder encapsulated key points from each session and brought these ideas to life visually. This culminated in a highly participatory session called “The Harvest.’ The session prompted attendees to think ahead to 2030. Discussions were focused on stories of success and progress, hopes for the future in the cotton sector, the greatest opportunities available to us now, and actions required for change.

Thanks to all of the presenters, panellists and participants, the BCI 2018 Global Cotton Conference has been a great success. We look forward to seeing everyone next year in Shanghai, 11-13 June 2019.

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