IKEA Way Of Making Cotton Farming Sustainable, Ideal For Sourcing

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Identifying the problems of cotton farmers across the globe, dwindling returns on their investment for cultivation, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has slowly and steadily expanded its presence across various cotton growing countries, engaging more farmers to grow better cotton and thereafter increasing sourcing. The focus is now on growing supply and demand to procure better cotton. By training farmers to produce cotton for supply, the objective is to have 1 million better cotton farmers producing over 2.5 million tonnes (mt) of the fibre by 2015-16 and taking this up to 5 million better farmers producing 8.2 mt by 2020, which is about 30% of global cotton production of 25 mt. A round table initiative of World Wildlife Fund to achieve better goal for finding sustainable solutions for farmers, and environment, has a number of major corporate entities and others taking part in the initiative. These include Adidas, Gap Inc, H&M, Organic Exchange, Pan UK, IFC and IKEA.

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First meeting of the initiative was hosted at IKEA headquarters in Sweden & since then it has touched thousands of farmers in various parts of the world, including cotton farmers in Maharashtra, Telangana and other parts of the country. Pramod Singh, Cotton Leader, IKEA Sweden, said, "The initiative started working with cotton farmers in 2005-06. In Warangal, 47 farmers agreed to join the initiative initially and it has since become big." Over a decade ago, IKEA began taking steps to transform the way cotton is produced. Along with WWF and others, IKEA helped set up BCI, which aims to make global cotton production better for people who produce it, better for environment it grows in and batter for the sector's future by developing better cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. "From September 1, 2015, all cotton we use for IKEA products comes from more sustainable sources. That means cotton is grown with less water, less chemical fertilisers and less pesticide, while increasing profit margins of farmers," he said.

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