The Better Cotton initiative has launched a new strategic partnership in Spain through which it aims to kickstart the production of Better Cotton-equivalent cotton in the country.
The partnership with the Interprofessional Cotton Association (Espalgodon) and the regional government of Andalucia, Spain’s major cotton growing region, was launched at a meeting in Seville, also attended by farmers, ginners and other industry stakeholders.
It follows work by Better Cotton to align its Better Cotton Standard System (BCSS) with the Andalucian government’s Integrated Production System (IPS), meaning that cotton produced on IPS-licensed farms can be sold as ‘Better Cotton’.
Espalgodon, a coalition of three Spanish agricultural organisations which represents all cotton farmers in the country, submitted a declaration of interest in the production of more sustainable cotton in 2021.
By aligning with organisations 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-recognised BCSS.
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.
In the 2023/24 cotton season, Spain is projected to produce around 64,000 tonnes of cotton, a decrease of more than 48% from the previous season due to crop development issues exacerbated by droughts.
Alan McClay, CEO of 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.”