The livelihoods of more than 250 million people are somehow connected to cotton, an industry that currently accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s insecticide use, and 11 percent of pesticides. The Better Cotton Initiative, established in 2010, is a global organisation that aims to not only make cotton production a more sustainable industry, but ensure that cotton growers work in decent conditions and are paid fairly for their toil.
It is their aim that their Better Cotton Standard will be adopted by five million farmers in the world’s main cotton-producing regions, accounting for around a third of global production. And they’re reaching such goals fast.
The Better Cotton Initiative, or BCI, is now the largest programme of its kind on Earth, representing nearly a fifth of the world’s cotton production by supplying nearly a hundred international brands and retailers, including a couple of stores at The Boundary.
Kmart has recently become a “proud member” of the Better Cotton Initiative and by July 2020, plan to sustainably source 100 percent of their cotton for their towel and bedding ranges, as well as their clothing (excluding footwear, accessories, trims and details). Since signing up to the commitment, Kmart (along with Target) has held BCI training sessions with hundreds of team members and suppliers, and placed BCI orders with suppliers across Asia.
“As a large cotton user we believe we have a responsibility to source cotton more sustainably,” states the company. “… Through our partnership with BCI and relationships with suppliers, we’re working together to ensure a brighter future for the cotton industry and those whose lives depend on it.”
Such sentiments are echoed by Kathmandu who have been part of the initiative since 2015—and was Australasia’s first member of the scheme. The outdoors retailer also aims to source 100 percent sustainable cotton by 2020, and are well on track having steadily increased from 38 percent four years ago to 74 percent in 2017.
“BCI’s results show that in the 2015/16 season, BCI farmers in India used an average of 9% less pesticides while achieving 20% higher yields than those not using BCI techniques,” says the store. “These results are better—better for farmers, better for the environment.”
And it’s all better at The Boundary.