Patrick Laine Interviewed by BBC Radio 4

As part of the BBC Radio 4’s Consumer Affairs programme “You and Yours,’ a series of programmes have been aired over the last few weeks exploring the many challenges faced in cotton production in India. In the concluding part of this series, our CEO Patrick Laine was interviewed by the BBC, and journalist Rahul Tandon followed a John Lewis bath mat from field to store, exploring the company’s social responsibility in the cotton supply chain. Also interviewed were Alison Ward CEO of Cotton Connect, Steven Cawley Head of Sustainability at John Lewis and Pramod Singh IKEA Cotton Project Manager in India. The interview focuses on the systemic use of child labour in cotton production, and the ways in which organisations such as BCI are working towards eradicating the issues associated with this in a responsible manner. Other key topics of discussion throughout the programme focus on both the financial benefits and savings to farmers when growing cotton sustainably, and increased yields.

Patrick also discussed the complexities of physical traceability in the cotton supply chain: ”We fight as hard as we can to avoid becoming a premium eco-niche product. In order to have the impact on the planet, you need to be mainstream.” said Patrick.

To listen to the programme in full, follow the link to the BBC podcast by clicking here.

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New India Documentary Released

We’re very excited to announce the release of our latest country documentary for India. The short movie follows Kacharu Keshav Jagtap – a Better Cotton farmer in the Maharashtra State of India, and demonstrates the difference Better Cotton is making for farmers lives and the lives of their families. Our thanks go to BCI Implementing Partner, Ambuja Cement Foundation, for helping to make this happen.

To watch the movie, go to the India page on our website by clicking here. Should you wish to watch more short movies like this, you will find our documentaries for Brazil, Pakistan and Mali on the corresponding regional pages of our website.

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Better Cotton Programme seeks China government collaboration

13.11.13 Ecotextile News
www.ecotextile.com

GENEVA – A new report from the Better Cotton Initiative’s Fast Track Program, which includes clothing retailers, Adidas, H&M and Walmart, has outlined the association’s aim to collaborate with Chinese government to develop new good agricultural practices and a greater understanding of China’s cotton policy.

Aiming to address the sustainability challenges faced in the production of cotton and work to mainstream sustainable cotton, retailers involved in the Better Cotton Initiative’s (BCI) Better Cotton Fast Track Program also include Marks and Spencer, Levi Strauss and VF Corporation.

The Better Cotton Fast Track Program End Year Report 2012, From field to fashion, report looks the impact of the fast track program worldwide, including the BCFTP funded ABRAPA (Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Algodão), project in Brazil covering over 210,000 acres and 100 farmers,20 projects in India reaching more than 90,000 workers and farmers, and an investment of EU 390 000 made in China.

The recent distortion of the market by China’s national cotton reserve program has been the biggest challenge for retail brands to procure Better Cotton from Chinese suppliers, the report claims, with thecountry cultivating around 25 per cent of the total global cotton production, according to BCI figures.

”BCI is actively seeking collaboration with central and local government (initially by engaging with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Research Centre for the Rural Economy to develop the China Good Agricultural Practices )… Developing an understanding of China’s cotton policy and exploring solutions is clearly indispensable to all stakeholders in the cotton supply chain,” the report states.

2012 was the first year Better Cotton was licensed and produced in China, with 32,000 megatonnes(MT) of lint licensed as Better Cotton, from which 29,000 MT was taken up by ginners.

Looking forward, the report states the BCI is aiming to set targets for brands to deliver on their public commitments in the coming years, whilst ”looking to evolve beyond sustainability departments of apparel companies get entrenched in their operations and commercial business.”

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