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Better Cotton aims for 50% cut by 2030

Organisation and partners have trained over 2.5 million farmers in 25 countries.

14th December 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Geneva & London

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Better Cotton – the world’s largest certifier of cotton – has announced an ambitious new climate change mitigation target including  reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions per ton of its cotton produced by 50% 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.

Since its formation in 2009, Better Cotton has had a significant impact on the sustainability of the world’s cotton production. A recent study analysing data from three seasons (2015-16 to 2017-18) for example, showed that on average Better Cotton production had 19% lower GHG emissions intensity per ton of lint than comparison production across China, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey.

During the 2019-20 season, Better Cotton farmers in India –where the most farmers are licensed to grow Better Cotton – used 10% less water, 13% fewer synthetic fertilisers, 23% fewer pesticides and 7% more organic fertiliser when compared to farmers in the same regions who operate outside of Better Cotton. At the same time, Better Cotton farmers in India achieved 9% higher yields and 18% higher profits than comparison farmers in the same season.

Better Cotton and its partners have also trained over 2.5 million farmers in 25 countries, having raised €99 million since 2010 to fund capacity building and other field-level activities. This is projected to grow to just over €125 million by the 2021- 22 season.

“This is a pledge for Better Cotton farmers and a stake in the ground for the global cotton sector,” said CEO Alan McClay. “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.”

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