Cotton is one of the world's most important crops. 250 million people are dependent on cotton farming for their livelihood – and without cotton, there wouldn't be a fashion industry!
Nevertheless, doubts remain about cotton. Child labour and other social problems are all too commonly associated with the world's cotton fields. Chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used all too frequently and incorrectly. The high water consumption of cotton farming is another problem at many locations.
These are problems that Better Cotton Initiative is trying to correct by educating cotton farmers about such things as the importance of children attending school, how to use agricultural chemicals in a responsible way and water conservation techniques.
Better Cotton Initiative is growing at a fast pace. In 2015, the project targeted cotton fields totalling more than two million hectares and 680,000 cotton farmers, which resulted in 900,000 tons of cotton that was produced under the Better Cotton Initiative. This has led to lower use of pesticides, more efficient use of water and a better life for the ones working the hardest to manufacture our clothes, i.e. cotton farmers. This expansion is possible thanks to the support from large companies and organizations.
Gina Tricot has been a member of Better Cotton Initiative for three years. And, we also collaborate with CottonConnect in order to fulfil our BCI obligations. Gina Tricot provides funds to CottonConnect for farmer support, which is one of the most important components of our BCI membership. These funds are used to increase farmers' knowledge of cotton farming and how it can be improved. The goal is for farmers to gain more knowledge and capacity via production methods that are financially profitable, environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable.
CottonConnect is helping to provide training to farmers in the area of western India called Gujarat. In total, approximately 2,000 farmers have participated in the programme thus far and the number increases with each year that the project remains in place.
We're proud to have planted a seed for more sustainable cotton production!