IDH and Better Cotton Re-Shape Strategic Partnership

IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and Better Cotton have redefined their partnership to collectively work towards the sustainable transformation of the cotton sector for the 2022-2030 period.

During this period, IDH and Better Cotton will continue to collaborate to support the transformation of the cotton sector; through deepening social and environmental impacts in cotton-growing regions, reducing climate change impacts, and engaging with brands on sustainable sourcing practices. Further, IDH will continue to support the Better Cotton Growth & Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF) as a funder and strategic partner but will hand over the management of the Fund to Better Cotton.

IDH and Better Cotton are committed to building a cotton sector that promotes climate-resilient approaches which support farmer livelihoods and agricultural practices that protect and restore the environment, as well as business models that incentivise and sustain this transformation. They will cooperate in these areas of mutual interest through programme development, field interventions, and scaling investment opportunities through impact funding.

Together, we have come a long way in achieving market transformation towards sustainable cotton and improving livelihoods of over two million cotton farmers globally. The Better Cotton model is established as one of the most successful global sustainability standards, including nearly a quarter of the global cotton production. We are both proud as well as humbled with what has been achieved and we look forward to elevating this partnership with Better Cotton to the next level and drive additional impact for the cotton farmers globally.

IDH and Better Cotton have worked closely as strategic partners since 2009, when the Better Cotton Standard System was originally launched, and the Better Cotton Fast Track Program (BCFTP) was established to create momentum for the global cotton market transformation. BCFTP, managed by IDH, drove innovative public-private commitments to accelerate the supply and sourcing of Better Cotton. By the end of the programme in 2015, it supported the production of nearly 2 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton and the capacity building of 663,000 farmers in eight countries.

The programme transitioned to the Better Cotton Growth & Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF) in 2016. IDH, in addition to being a funder, also provided fund-management services to the Better Cotton GIF, which was executed by a dedicated team at IDH, managing the Fund’s day-to-day operations. IDH is now handing over the fund management to Better Cotton.

Since the inception of Better Cotton, IDH has been one of our most important and dedicated partners. They took the lead in securing growth and acceleration of the Standard through the establishment of the BCFTP and have continuously provided challenge and support, helping ensure our strategies and interventions are impactful and efficient. We look forward to exploring the new opportunities for driving change together through our continued collaboration and partnership. The 2030 Agenda for Transformation requires innovation and brave decisions to succeed. IDH is an ideal partner on both counts.

About IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative

IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative is an organisation (Foundation) that works with businesses, financiers, governments and civil society to realize sustainable trade in global value chains. We work in multiple sectors and landscapes in Africa, Asia and Latin America with over 600 companies, CSOs, financial institutions, producer organizations and governments towards sustainable production and trade. We develop and apply innovative, business-driven approaches to create new jobs, sustainable industries and new sustainable markets to have large-scale positive impact on climate change, deforestation, gender, living wages and living incomes, which will help to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

About Better Cotton

Better Cotton is the world’s largest cotton sustainability programme. Its mission: to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment. In challenging times, they are meeting the challenge head on. Through their network of field-level partners they have trained over 2.5 million farmers – from the smallest to the largest – in 25 countries in more sustainable farming practices. Nearly a quarter of the world’s cotton is now grown under the Better Cotton Standard. Better Cotton has united the industry’s stakeholders behind their efforts, from ginners and spinners to brand owners, civil society organisations and governments.

Key Contacts:

Mrinalini Prasad, Communication Manager, IDH – [email protected]

Eva Benavidez Clayton, Communications Director, Better Cotton – [email protected]

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Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund Reaches 1 Million Farmers

The Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF),managed in partnership with the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), makes strategic investments into Better Cotton projects to support the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in reaching its 2020 targets.

In the 2017-18 cotton season, the Better Cotton GIF invested €9.4 million in more sustainable cotton farming practices in China, India, Mozambique, Pakistan, Senegal, Tajikistan and Turkey Рreaching and training over one million cotton farmers*.

The Better Cotton GIF Annual Report provides insight into the Funds activities to reach this milestone, with stories from BCI’s Implementing Partners and BCI Farmers in the seven cotton-producing countries.

Access the reporthere.

What is the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund?

The Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF) was launched in 2016, by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).The Better Cotton GIF is governed by the BCI Council, in partnership with BCI Retailer and Brand Members, Civil Society Members and government bodies. IDH is the official fund manager, as well as an important funder.In the 2017-18 cotton season, the Better Cotton GIF directly invested €6.4 million in field-level programmes and mobilised an additional €3 million in co-funding from partners, resulting in a total portfolio value of €9.4 million.

*While the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund reached over one million farmers in the 2017-2018 season, the Better Cotton Initiativeis forecast to reach and train a total of 1.7 million cotton farmers in the season. The final figures will be released in BCI’s 2018 Annual Report.

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Better Cotton launches the Growth and Innovation Fund

BCI has launched its Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF), which came into force on 1 January 2016. The Fund is BCI’s new global investment vehicle for supporting Better Cotton projects in cotton-growing regions around the world. The scale of the Fund will help BCI advance its goal of reaching 5 million farmers and accounting for 30% of global cotton production by 2020. The portfolio is jointly run by BCI, its partners and members from the worlds of business, civil society and government. The Fund is managed by BCI’s strategic partner IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, which also ran the very successful Better Cotton Fast Track Programme (BCFTP) from 2010 to 2015.

Joint investments in training and capacity building enable the BCI GIF to address the most pressing sustainability issues in cotton farming, including pesticide use, water efficiency and severe working conditions such as child labour, gender issues andunfair pay. By mobilising public and private funds, BCI strives to mainstream Better Cotton, which is grown in a way that is measurably better for the environment and farming communities. The fund invests in capacity building programmes that train cotton producers to optimise inputs, use chemicals in a safer manner, increase yields and generate higher profits. The model is based on continuous improvement, which means BCI farmers are required to develop plans to continuously improve their practices over time.

Private partners in the Fund are some of the world’s largest cotton buyers, including adidas, H&M, IKEA, Nike, Levi Strauss & Co. and M&S, who have agreed to pay a volume-based fee related to their use of Better Cotton. Retailers and brands who use Better Cotton in their supply chains contribute to the funding of farmer capacity building. BCI currently has a retailer and brand membership of over 50 organisations, with a target to pass 60 by the end of 2016. Global institutional donors are invited to match the fees contributed by the private sector in order to achieve a multiplier effect.

The BCI GIF (and its predecessor the BCFTP) offer a five year track record of effective large-scale fund management. Results collected each year show strong positive changes in the field, which translate into large-scale environmental benefits as well as social and economic improvements for cotton producers and their families. For 2014 results, please see our most recent Harvest Report.


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