Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) will launch a revised cotton standard this month with updated principles and criteria. There is increased emphasis on environmental principles principally concentrating on pesticide use and restrictions. This includes the phasing out of highly hazardous pesticides. It stresses on the need for personal protective equipment when applying pesticides.
There is a change in approach regarding biodiversity. The standard focuses on the identification, mapping and restoration or protection of natural resources. A water stewardship approach has been integrated to the standard, aimed at addressing and facilitating collective action toward local sustainable water use. This comes after last year’s pilot project to test the new approach to water on small, medium and large farms across India, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan and Mozambique.
The revised standard now has a clearer position on gender equality. Topics such as child labor, sanitation and equal pay – which had previously been absent – are also now included. Cotton farmers who are part of BCI will be trained on the revised standard in order to help the successful adoption of the newly outlined specifications. Better Cotton Initiative enables cotton producers, local cotton organizations and international bodies to work together on minimizing the cotton sector’s carbon footprint.