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Better Cotton Updates Target to Reduce GHG Emissions

Better Cotton announced the launch Wednesday of its ambitious new climate change mitigation target as part of a new strategy designed to deliver substantial environmental, social and economic impact across the cotton industry by 2030.

The headline climate change mitigation target has been set to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions per ton of Better Cotton produced by 50 percent by 2030 from a 2017 baseline. Four additional targets covering soil health, pesticide use, smallholder livelihoods and women’s empowerment are expected to be announced by the end of 2022, with impact indicators providing robust metrics for tracking and evaluating against the baseline.

These progressive new metrics will allow enhanced measurement across the five key areas to ensure greater and lasting economic, environmental and social benefits at farm level for cotton-growing communities.

“This is a pledge for Better Cotton farmers and a stake in the ground for the global cotton sector,” Alan McClay, CEO of Better Cotton, said. “Nearly a quarter of the world’s cotton is currently produced under the Better Cotton Standard. We aim to at least double that by 2030.”

McClay noted that at COP26, the textile and fashion industry announced a whole series of commitments aimed at achieving net zero by 2050. Better Cotton said its new 2030 Strategy not only aligns with these goals but also sets solid and measurable metrics that will have material impact across cotton production worldwide for the benefit of the whole industry.

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“We know that climate change poses a great risk to cotton farmers–with rising temperatures and more extreme weather events like flooding and unpredictable rains,” McClay said. “We will help on the ground by incentivizing farmers to enrich the environment and embrace both climate-smart and regenerative agricultural practices. We will also help open doors to markets, and through our metrics, feed back information on the results farmers are achieving, so they can see the benefits of sustainable practices and continuously improve the way they farm.”

Better Cotton also intends to take the lead in developing solutions for physical traceability, enabling retailers and brands to make stronger sustainability claims related to the cotton content and provenance of their products.

The climate change mitigation target launch comes on the back of the recently released 2020 Better Cotton Impact Report. The evolution of more sustainable cotton production methods continues to build on previous farmer reporting and demonstrates how each component of the Better Cotton Standard System is set up to deliver impact in a world where supply chain transparency and accountability are paramount.

“Beyond the organization, Better Cotton is a unique global platform that strives to do something that has never been done before, and that is to bring some collective continuity to the conversation around cotton,” Marc Lewkowitz, president and CEO of Supima, said. “As the world’s largest natural fiber crop, cotton exists in a very diverse landscape. With Better Cotton’s new 2030 Strategy, there is an ambitious initiative to drive and steward demonstrable continuous improvement that is both responsive to our global challenges as well as supportive of the growers and their communities.”