cotton industry

Updates to Field-Level Principles & Criteria by Better Cotton

Published: April 27, 2023

A cotton sustainability programme called Better Cotton has updated its Principles & Criteria (P&C) to make sure it continues to be a useful instrument for promoting ongoing development and delivering sustainability effects at the field level.

The P&C outline the organization’s strategy for more environmentally friendly cotton production and lay out the conditions that farmers must meet in order to obtain a licence and market their cotton as ‘Better Cotton’. A licence is currently held by more than two million farmers globally, including both large and smallholder enterprises.

The updated Principles include the two cross-cutting themes of gender equality and climate change as well as management, natural resources, crop protection, fibre quality, decent work, and smallholder livelihoods.

The most recent revision was completed in February after lengthy consultations to make sure it accurately reflected the organization’s most recent key areas, such as while aligning with international trends towards more sustainable agricultural value chains and market laws, its 2030 Strategy. Version 3.0 (v. 3.0) has been improved in accordance with the guidelines of good practise from ISEAL, a recognised authority on sustainability standards, and will be available for licencing beginning with the 2024–25 season.As a more locally relevant standard that tackles the environmental, social, and economic issues most important to cotton production today, the new P&C will in practise take a farmer-centric approach. With the help of earlier revisions and user feedback, it has been reframed to close important gaps and eliminate redundant needs.

By supporting regenerative agriculture practises and more sustainable crop protection, P&C amendments will promote the appropriate use, conservation, and development of natural resources, which will hasten environmental gains. approaches and efficient water use.

From a social perspective, the revised standard will strengthen the emphasis on generating impact and fostering wellbeing in agricultural communities, supported by more stringent rules regarding gender equality and decent work, as well as the establishment of a new principle: smallholder livelihoods.

Additionally, a new section on climate change will advise farmers on how to best respond to problems on the farm and emphasise the most effective, area-specific solutions.

“After an 18-month review process, we’re confident that the revised principles will help cotton growing communities continue to deliver improvements at the field-level,” said Alan McClay, CEO of Better Cotton. Our standard, which has a practice-oriented orientation, enhances criteria across social and environmental concerns and even goes farther to include agriculturefor the first time, sources of income. We appreciate all of the stakeholders who contributed to this most recent modification because it is only with their help that we can guarantee the P&C is efficient throughout our sector.

The review process of the Decent Work & Gender working group, according to Joky Francois, lead on gender at the Rainforest Alliance, was “very inclusive and productive with plenty of space to include thoughts and experiences from diverse kinds of stakeholders. As a result, new principles have been developed that are consistent with international norms and guidelines as well as being clear, relevant to the setting, and practical. As a result, they will greatly assist cotton growers in identifying and resolving labour and gender difficulties, as well as in enhancing living and working situations for the populace. participating in sustainable cotton production.”

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