Better Cotton, the world’s largest cotton sustainability initiative, will today inaugurate the launch of a strategic partnership in Spain by hosting a multistakeholder event in Seville.
The meeting will convene the Interprofessional Cotton Association (Espalgodon) and the Regional Government of Andalucia – two stakeholders that have helped ensure alignment between the regional government’s Integrated Production System (IPS) and the Better Cotton Standard System (BCSS) – in addition to participating farmers, ginners and other industry representatives.
Espalgodon – a coalition of three Spanish agricultural organizations – represents all cotton farmers in the country, which are projected to produce around 64,000 tonnes of cotton in the 2023/24 season.
The organization submitted a Declaration of Interest in 2021, outlining domestic appetite to collaborate on the production of more sustainable cotton.
Better Cotton has since worked with the Regional Government of Andalucia – Spain’s major cotton-growing region – to recognize its Integrated Production System (IPS) as the country’s equivalent to the Better Cotton Standard System (BCSS). In practice, this will enable cotton produced on IPS-licensed farms to be sold as ‘Better Cotton’.
By aligning with organizations active in Spain’s cotton sector, Better Cotton stands to tap into existing networks and local expertise whilst avoiding duplication. In return, native cotton farmers gain assurances that their product complies with the widely recognized Better Cotton Standard System.
In the 2023/24 cotton season, production is projected to decrease by upwards of 48% from the previous season due to crop development issues exacerbated by droughts.
Better Cotton’s New Country Start-Up process included the completion of a benchmarking report by third-party services provider PwC, which outlined the gaps between the two systems and the necessary action required to reach alignment.
Better Cotton, Espalgodon, and the regional government will signify the start of the strategic partnership by signing an agreement before the respective organizations present to attendees at today’s event.
Alan McClay, Chief Executive Officer, Better Cotton, commented: “The impacts of climate change on Spain’s cotton crop are plain to see from the country’s projections for the 2023/24 cotton season. Espalgodon and the Regional Government of Andalucia have demonstrated their commitment to improving the sustainability credentials of domestically grown cotton, which can make farmers more resilient in the face of global warming.”