As part of its renewed effort to increase product sustainability and improve conditions for Egyptian Cotton supply chain workers, the Cotton Egypt Association has teamed with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to cooperate on the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) pilot launch in Egypt.
The pilot project will coordinate a pool of stakeholders to implement the BCI program for Egyptian Cotton, promoting production that’s mindful of the environment and the farmers who grow the cotton. BCI, the largest cotton sustainability program in the world, educates farmers and grants the BCI standard to those that meet rigorous levels of sustainable production and employee welfare.
“The partnership with UNIDO to support the BCI pilot project is one of several initiatives we will be exploring in 2019 as we continue to bring the brand and the values of the world’s finest cotton to meet the expectations of a modern consumer,” said Khaled Schuman, executive director of the Cotton Egypt Association. The Cotton Egypt Association is a non-profit association that works closely with local and international companies involved in the Egyptian Cotton supply chain to help promote and protect the fiber.
BCI currently licenses 1.3 million farms in 21 countries and aims to bring 30 percent of global production up to BCI standard by 2020.
A UNIDO spokesman said, “The pilot project’s vision is to pilot the BCI standard system in Egypt, through a multi-stakeholder program jointly coordinated by UNIDO, relevant governmental entities, farmers’ cooperatives, cotton-textile associations and local/international private sector stakeholders.” UNIDO is the specialized agency of the U.N. that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.
The sustainability drive is the latest move from Cotton Egypt Association to modernize and solidify the Egyptian Cotton brand as one of the world’s most luxurious cottons. It follows initiatives including the recent introduction of a new accreditation process in partnership with Bureau Veritas that uses DNA technology to root out counterfeit goods.
Cotton Egypt Association said consumer recognition of the brand remains high, with a recent U.S. survey showing Egyptian Cotton was also the name most people associated with quality and for which they are prepared to pay a premium.