We partner with the initiative BCI
The initiative BCI came from an initiative led by WWF which involved several organisations from the sector. It is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world, involving everything from …
The initiative BCI came from an initiative led by WWF which involved several organisations from the sector. It is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world, involving everything from farms to major fashion and textile brands.
Among the values we share with this project are those related to sustainable development goals (SDG), the eradication of child labour and the promotion of fair trade. In fact, one of the SDGs is to reduce inequalities between producers and carry out production in ways that are in harmony with nature.
Sustainable products, the goals of the BCI
Our main product, cotton napkins, are made of 100% cotton, and for this reason, it is very important for us to partner with initiatives such as the BCI in 2021. This material, so highly valued on the market and among consumers, provides employment for more than 300 million farmers spread over more than 80 countries. Furthermore, it accounts for over 40% of all the garments that are manufactured worldwide.
However, as a brand that uses cotton in its products, we have a huge commitment to the environment, and we want to ensure our products support more sustainable production practices. The cotton crop is exposed to such unpredictable phenomena as pests and water shortages, and the use of pesticides and irrigation in the manufacture of cotton garments is quite widespread. For this reason, it is essential for our business to contribute as much as possible to the conservation of the environment, and we believe that supporting initiatives such as the BCI is an extremely worthwhile way of making a contribution.
BCI Farmers experience profit increases for a variety of reasons, most commonly due to increased yields and/or optimised use of inputs (such as irrigation water, pesticides or synthetic fertiliser. As part of this initiative, we teach and promote greener methods of cultivation that have already been adopted by more than two million growers around the world. This aid chain is made up of industry players such as suppliers, retailers, producers, and even consumers. Some big brands such as H&M, IKEA and Adidas have supported the project, sourcing cotton for their products through BCI.
To achieve this level of awareness, the BCI coordinates a programme aimed at developing capacity hand in hand with experienced partners and farmers. All are certified by those responsible for the initiative and aim to help farmers to adopt best practice in order to grow cotton that is better for farmers, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.
Improvement in farmers’ living conditions
This is one of the values shared with the UN goals previously mentioned (SDG). The BCI works with experts to clarify what actually constitutes forced labour and decent work when it comes to setting standards for growing the best cotton. The result of this is the creation and distribution of a decalogue with recommendations to improve the system for identifying, preventing, mitigating, and repairing the risks of forced or precarious labour.
Fight against child labour
BCI considers the ILO to be the international authority on labour matters. The ILO has developed a system of international labour standards, which primarily take the form of Conventions. In 1998, the ILO issued its Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which identified eight of these Conventions as ‘fundamental’. These Conventions cover the four ‘core labour standards:
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
- The elimination of forced labour.
- The abolition of child labour.
- The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Child labour remains a challenge in some countries, especially in those where all members of the same family have to work for a living. The well–being of children and workers is always of the utmost importance: child labour on cotton farms is simply unacceptable to the BCI.
In fact, if any of the places where our cotton is produced are found to employ child labour, this is considered a violation of our standards and is dealt with immediately.
One of the objectives is to help farmers understand and respect national and legal requirements, as well as the conventions of the International Labour Organisation. These make it very clear that the minimum working age must be respected, and all forms of child labour must be prevented.
With the BCI initiative, there is a commitment to measuring the improvements in terms of sustainability in all those places where cotton is grown respecting these standards. Thus, the environmental, social, and economic impact is carefully evaluated.
To this end, a variety of research and evaluation methods are used, working side-by-side with independent researchers and organisations studying the impact on the land. This diversity of approach is necessary to obtain real results, as well as to measure the impact that we are having on the natural world.
In short, our goal is not only to partner with and support the BCI initiative, but to ensure that this year the cotton we source for our products is sourced more sustainably through BCI.