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HOW TO SOURCE

In the last section of the guide, we explored some of the sustainability benefits from across the different sourcing options. Here, we explore a few technical considerations that buyers may need to know to practically source within your organisation’s selected programmes.

TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS

You can compare information across up to three options below by clicking the relevant logos or download the full table for use offline

To go back to the table outlining the different standards’ approaches to sustainability issues, click here.

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General
Objective To make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.Sustainable African Cotton for a global Textile Industry.To make trade fair, empower small scale producers and workers and to foster sustainable livelihoods.To produce high quality, high yielding fibre while sustaining the natural environment, people and regional communities.Sustaining the health of soils, ecosystems and people.Third party assurance on organic product claims.Third party assurance on organic product claims, including environment and social responsibility in processing.To drive continuous measurable improvement in key sustainability metrics.The goal of the GRS is to increase use of Recycled materials in products and reduce/eliminate the harm caused by its productionThe goal of the RCS is to increase the use of Recycled materials
Overview BCI works with cotton farmers all around the world, providing training and capacity building on more sustainable agricultural practices. Producers must meet the core requirements of the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria in order to become licensed to grow and sell their cotton as Better Cotton.Cotton made in Africa is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that helps African smallholder cotton farmers to improve their living conditions. Growers must meet minimum environmental and social requirements for their cotton to qualify as CmiA.Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers. The Fairtrade standards require farmers to organize in democratic producer organizations and environmentally sound agricultural practices. It ensures the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Fairtrade Premium.The myBMP (Best Management Practices) program is the Australian cotton industry's environmental and social standard. To achieve full certification, growers must comply with over 320 criteria across 10 modules including soil health, water management, natural assets, pest management, energy efficiency and worker health and safety.Organic cotton is grown within a rotation system that builds soil fertility, protects biodiversity, and is grown without the use of any synthetic chemicals or GMOs. Growers must meet organic agricultural standards as set nationally, and by the importing country if export is carried out. Definition: http://www.ifoam.bio/en/organic- landmarks/definition-organic-agricultureThe Organic Content Standard (OCS) is a chain of custody standard that provides companies with a tool to verify that one or more specific input material is in a final product. It requires that each organization along the supply chain take sufficient steps to ensure that the integrity and identity of the input material is preserved.The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognized as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.US Cotton Trust Protocol sets a new standard that brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the issue of sustainable cotton production that drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics. The Trust Protocol underpins and verifies US Cotton's leading sustainability through sophisticated data collection and independent third party verification.The Global Recycle Standard (GRS) looks to track and trace recycled input materials all the way through the supply chain to the consumer. It looks to provide assurances to customers (both brand and consumer) that materials are infact recycled and processed more sustainbly, and reduce the harmful impacts of production to people and the environment.The Recycled Content Standard (RCS) looks to track and trace recycled input materials all the way through the supply chain to the consumer. It looks to provide assurances to customers (both brand and consumer) that materials are infact recycled and in the final product.
Production
Producing Countries In the 2017-18 cotton season, Better Cotton was produced in China, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique*, Pakistan, South Africa, Tajikistan, Turkey and the USA. An additional 10 countries produced Better Cotton under BCI recognised equivalent standards - CmiA (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia), myBMP (Australia) and ABRAPA (Brazil).Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, EthiopiaIndia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, Senegal, Uganda, EgyptAustraliaIndia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Tajikistan, USA, Tanzania, Greece, Uganda, Benin, Burkina Faso, Peru, Egypt, Mali, Ethiopia, Brazil, Senegal, Argentina, Thailand47 Countries with Certified units - top 10 are: Bangladesh, India, China, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Pakistan, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Italy64 Countries with certified units - top 10 are: India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Germany, Italy, China, Pakistan, Portugal, USA, South Korea.USACertified facilities - https://textileexchange.org/integrity/ Certified facilities - https://textileexchange.org/integrity/
Fiber Production (MT) Benchmark: 2,335,000 Standard: 2,806,500 All: 5,141,50057856216906229281180871No dataNo data65,000 Mt (2019) 218,000 Mt (2020 projection)No dataNo data
Market Share of Total Cotton Grown 8.76% BCI 10.53% BCI Benchmark2.17%0.06%0.086%0.68%No dataNo datan/aN/AN/A
Growth in production 33.12% increase BCI 86.11% increase BCI Benchmark*17% increase6% decrease66% increase54% increaseNo dataNo datan/aIncrease in those facilities that are already producing commercially e.g. Rebribra by Lenzing and RecoverIncrease in those facilities that are already producing commercially e.g. Rebribra by Lenzing and Recover
Projected growth in production Projected increaseProjected increaseProjected increase-55%Projected to increase (44,394 ha in-transition in 2017/18)No dataNo datatarget of 50% of US cotton (8m bales / 1.7m Mt) by 2025Capacity increasing with various new technologies and plants coming onlineCapacity increasing with various new technologies and plants coming online
Assurance
Chain of Custody (supply chain) Physical segregation farm to gin; mass balance gin to retailer.Mass Balance from spinning mill onward (hard identity from field to spinning mill); full traceability possible through Hard Identity Preserved (option).Two models: (1) Classic - physically segregated and traceable, (2) Mass balance - physically traceable until spinner; CoC maintained through supply chain via online tool.Physical segregation and tracing possible, unique barcode identifier on every bale tracking field to spinning millIdentity Preserved; Certification of Supply Chain.Identity Preserved; Certification of Supply Chain.Identity Preserved; Certification of Supply Chain.Physical segregation farm to spinning mill, supported by permanent Bale ID (PBI). Mass Balance from spinning mill to brand. Full traceability possible through physical segregation and isotope testing.Identity Preserved; Certification of Supply Chain.Identity Preserved; Supply Chain Self Declarations and Certification
Product marketing / labeling On-product and off-product communications. The BCI On-Product Mark can be used by BCI’s Retailer and Brand Members. Strict criteria for use are set out in the Better Cotton Claims FrameworkIn store marketing/ on product labeling (own label or CmiA hangtag).On product and In store marketing. Third party certified (Fairtrade Mark).In store marketing and on- product label (own label or Australian cotton swingtag)In store marketing/ on product label. 3rd party certification label optional.In store marketing/ on product label. 3rd party certification label optional.In store marketing/ on product label. 3rd party certification label optional.Product claims can be made in line with participation guidance, including claims that sourcing USCTP cotton provides incentive for farmers to implement continuous improvement plans. On product logo available.In store marketing/ on product label. 3rd party certification label optional.In store marketing/ on product label. 3rd party certification label optional.
Consumer recognition The introduction of the Better Cotton Claims Framework enabled BCI’s Members to communicate their commitment to BCI and Better Cotton to their consumers. 13% awareness among German consumers (measured Aug 2016).Fairtrade mark widely understood and trusted by consumers.Higher levels of awareness in AustraliaConcept of organic widely understood, trusted and respected by consumers.Concept of organic widely understood, trusted and respected by consumers.Concept of organic widely understood, trusted and respected by consumers.new program, yet to launchGrowing customer understanding of concept, but mark is growing in recognition B2B, and is being used B2C by certain brandsGrowing customer understanding of concept, mark is not widely used or understood yet
Price / Quality
Cost implications/ impacts No price differential at point of sourcing but membership and volume-based fees apply.No membership fee but retailers/ brands pay a volume-based fee and spinning mills pay a small annual registration fee.Price differential (Fairtrade Minimum Price). Buyers also pay Fairtrade Premium for community investment.No price differential at point of sourcing, no membership or licensing feesPrice differential paid to farmer/producer group.Price differential paid to farmer/producer group.Price differential paid to farmer/producer group.No price differential at point of sourcing but membership and volume-based fees apply.Pricing is based on the type of recycling technology used and the quality of the final fibre needed; however certification of facilities and segregation through the supply chain and a relatively small supply of certified material can push prices up.Pricing is based on the type of recycling technology used and the quality of the final fibre needed; however segregation through the supply chain and a relatively small supply of certified material can push prices up.
Quality perception / implications No known quality implications.Historical perceptions of quality being an issue - but not so much these days.Historical perceptions of quality being an issue - but not so much these days.Consistently very high quality, amongst highest in the world across all parametersHistorical perceptions of quality being an issue - but not so much these days.Historical perceptions of quality being an issue - but not so much these days.Historical perceptions of quality being an issue - but not so much these days.US cotton is consistently trusted for quality. The detailed USDA quality classification of every US bale is linked to the permanent bale ID (PBI)Quality depends on type of inputs, type of recycling and type of technology used - historically mechanical recycled cotton has had its issues however new technologies like 'Recover' have managed to solve these problems for most products. Colour can be impacted by recycling - limiting the amount of colours on mechnical recycling, and certain types of chemical recycling can not achieve the whitest whites.Quality depends on type of inputs, type of recycling and type of technology used - historically mechanical recycled cotton has had its issues however new technologies like 'Recover' have managed to solve these problems for most products. Colour can be impacted by recycling - limiting the amount of colours on mechnical recycling, and certain types of chemical recycling can not achieve the whitest whites.
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