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 Joins Industry Leaders and Experts to Drive Impact on the Sustainable Apparel Coalition Board of Directors

I am very excited to be elected as a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition Board of Directors, where I will join leaders and experts from brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, government, academia, and more in guiding the direction of the organisation for exponential impact. As a member of the Board, I will be joining a diverse set of stakeholders to drive systemic change across the consumer goods industry. I am proud to join my peers and fellow sustainability champions as we join together to help the SAC achieve their vision of an industry that gives more than it takes — to the planet and its people.

Last month, Lena Staafgard, COO of Better Cotton was elected to sit as a Director on the Sustainable Apparel Coalition Board (SAC) representing the Affiliate Category of the SAC Membership. The SAC is a global, multi-stakeholder non-profit alliance for the fashion industry. In this position, Lena will work closely with the SAC Leadership Team and other members of the board to drive impact through sustainable production across the global footwear, apparel and textile value chains, including reducing environmental impact and promoting social justice.

As Better Cotton works towards our 2030 Strategy, collaboration across the sector and our membership will continue to be essential in deepening impact and delivering our ambitions to improve lives and livelihoods in rural communities, and transform the cotton sector – for good.

The SAC has been a Better Cotton Associate Member since 2019. Through ongoing collaboration and knowledge sharing, we work together to reach cotton farming communities with more sustainable farming practices.

Better Cotton is also a SAC Affiliate Member, joining over 250 leading brands, retailers, suppliers, service providers, trade associations, non-profits, NGOs and academic institutions in the SAC Membership since 2013. We share a common journey as we endeavor to create positive change for people and the planet. We work tirelessly to ensure that the Higg Index performance improvements robustly and factually reflect the environmental performance of Better Cotton as a raw material.

Learn more at the SAC website.

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