The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has outlined plans for a new digital event featuring sessions and speakers originally curated for the in-person 2021 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference.

BCI trains farmers on more sustainable cotton production, with its Better Cotton Initiative’s Better Cotton Standard System (BCSS) covering all three pillars of sustainability – social, environmental and economic – and addressing the many challenges of cotton production. According to its last annual report, Better Cotton uptake accounts for 6% of global cotton production, and retailers and brands sourced more than 1.5m metric tonnes of Better Cotton by the end of 2019 – a 40% jump on the previous year.

Its upcoming monthly Cotton Sustainability Digital Series will focus on topics including climate action, innovation and social sustainability.

Due to launch in January, the first episode, ‘A 2030 Futurescape’, will feature Lucy Shea, group CEO at sustainability consultancy and agency Futerra, for an exploration of the sustainability trends that are shaping the world and fashion and textiles sector.

In particular, it will look at how companies who embed sustainability have proven to be more resilient in 2020 and are building back better, becoming the businesses that the future needs. 

An expert task force set up to review the BCSS recently found that decent work receives less attention than environmental issues such as water and soil health – and that there is “organisational blindness” to forced labour.

The findings came a week after BCI called an immediate halt to all field-level activities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China, where ongoing allegations of forced labour and other human rights abuses “have contributed to an increasingly untenable operating environment.” Earlier in the year it suspended its licensing and assurance activities in the XUAR, meaning there is now no new licensed Better Cotton coming from the region.