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BCI Gets $2.1M to Increase Sustainable Cotton Production

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Better Cotton Initiative is receiving major funding to boost sustainable cotton production.

BMZ, a Federal Ministry of Germany, granted the not-for-profit organization $2.1 million to boost eco-friendly cotton farming worldwide. The funding will be used to support global training and address environmental issues in cotton farming, including water efficiency, pesticide use and labor ethics.

BCI is a leader in the effort to achieve better environmental and social standards in cotton production,” federal minister for economic corporation and development Dr. Gerd Müller said. “Together with the private sector, civil society and producer country governments, we are defining standards.”

BCI also welcomed BMZ to the BCI Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF), its global investment vehicle managed by strategic partner, The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), which supports international Better Cotton projects. GIF strengthens BCI’s goal of accounting for 30 percent of global cotton production by 2020 and reaching 5 million farmers worldwide. Last year, the GIF invested more than $5.3 million in sustainable cotton projects and with BMZ’s contribution, BCI will be able to significantly scale-up its portfolio for the next season.

“The BCI Growth and Innovation Fund is a global partnership fund set up to support Better Cotton farmers around the world,” Better Cotton Initiative CEO Alan McClay said. “BCI currently has 66 retailers and brand members who contribute to the fund and global institutional donors and government agencies are invited to match the contributions from the private sector to achieve a multiplier effect.”

BCI’s latest grant follows the organization’s second public consultation on the BCI Standard Revision. On Dec. 8, BCI invited stakeholders to provide comments on this global document, which will be used to set sustainable cotton farming standards and address new agricultural innovations in 2017.