Better Cotton Introduces Programme in Uzbekistan After Years of Piloting

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by KnowESG
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Better Cotton has announced the rollout of a programme in Uzbekistan. As the world's sixth largest cotton producer, this programme moves the company closer to its vision of a world where sustainable cotton is the norm.

The cotton industry in Uzbekistan has come a long way in recent times. After years of well-documented problems with systemic forced labour, the Uzbek government, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Cotton Campaign, civil society institutions, and human rights activists were able to get the Uzbek cotton industry to implement state-led labour reforms. ILO research shows that as a result, Uzbekistan has been able to get rid of systemic child labour and forced labour in its cotton sector.

Better Cotton believes that commercial incentives can help ensure that the newly privatised cotton sector continues to change and meet international standards by building on this success. The Better Cotton Programme in Uzbekistan could give farmers this incentive by connecting them to international markets and helping them improve their practices.

With the help of the Better Cotton Standard System, the company will set up monitoring systems for decent work that are strong and trustworthy and can show the impact and results on the ground. It will also start physical tracing, which means that cotton from farms with licences will be completely separated and able to be tracked through the supply chain. Any licenced Better Cotton from Uzbekistan will, at present, not be sold via the mass balance chain of custody.

Better Cotton CEO Alan McClay said: "Better Cotton exists to work in contexts with both environmental and social challenges. Uzbekistan’s cotton sector, government, and the farms themselves have made enormous progress, and we are looking forward to building on this multi-stakeholder engagement and driving further positive change across the sector."

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Source: Better Cotton


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