Better Cotton Launches its Initiative in Uzbekistan

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
February 2nd, 2023

To further promote the environmental and social benefits of sustainable agricultural practices, BCI has announced this past January the launch of a new program in Uzbekistan. 

In many countries, cotton is the most important crop, not only providing fibers for the textile industry, but also playing an important role in the food industry, as its seeds have a high oil and protein content. Cotton production employs some 350 million people directly and indirectly, in the field, in its transportation, ginning, packing, pressing, storage, etc.

Although cotton occupies only 2.1% of the world's arable land, its value chain goes far beyond cultivation and includes multiple processing steps, contributing to job creation and the improvement of industrial infrastructure.

This crop represents approximately 2.5% of the total irrigated area, as it is the third most water-intensive crop after rice and wheat, followed by corn, fruits, and vegetables. Depending on the techniques used, between 5,000 and 10,000 liters of water are needed to produce one kilo of cotton. This is why it is vital to produce it sustainably.

In an effort to contribute to this task, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) was created. It is a non-profit organization that has established itself as the world's largest cotton sustainability program.

Its objective is to improve cotton production worldwide by helping to reduce the effect of cotton cultivation on the environmental impact since it promotes less intensive forms of planting. This program also has an interesting social aspect that focuses on defending the rights and quality of life of producers.



The World's Largest Cotton Sustainability Program

At the end of 2019, BCI had more than 1,840 members, spanning the entire global cotton supply chain, from farmer organizations to retailers and brands. It thus seeks to lessen the negative impacts of conventional cotton production by supporting the production and sourcing of Better Cotton - cotton is grown in line with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria.

Initial support came from organizations such as adidas, GAP, H&M, Mango, and Nike to name a few. Fast forward to today, the organization now has more than 2,400 members.

BCI connects people and organizations in the cotton sector around the world, from field to store. Its goal is to make global cotton production better for the people who grow it, better for the environment in which it grows, and better for the future of the industry. That is why it embraces organizations of all kinds, from farms to fashion and textile brands, and civil society organizations, driving the cotton sector towards sustainability.

The program also has an interesting social component that focuses on defending the rights and quality of life of producers. Better Cotton trains farmers to use water efficiently, care for the soil and natural habitats, reduce the use of the most harmful chemicals, and promote decent work since cotton is grown in areas of the world with great challenges, both environmental and social.

This is why BCI seeks to manage socio-political and economic conditions in order to offer support and interventions where they have the greatest impact.



BCI Announces New Program in Uzbekistan

To further promote the environmental and social benefits of sustainable agricultural practices, BCI has just announced this January the launch of a new program in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan is the world’s sixth-largest cotton producer and was praised last year for having eradicated long-standing systemic child and forced labor issues pertaining to the cotton industry by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Upon this success, BCI remains firm on its belief that commercial incentives are the way forward when it comes to ensuring that the newly privatized cotton sector will go on to reform standards, in addition to meeting international standards of sustainability.

By adhering to these principles, BCI Farmers produce cotton in a way that is measurably better for the environment and farming communities. While it will be no easy task to reach every cotton field in the world, the organization is well underway and the size of its commitment is equal to the challenge ahead.

BCI farmers minimize the detrimental impact of crop protection practices, promote water stewardship, and care for soil health.


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