Better Cotton’s first conference in two years due to the pandemic plans to bring together fashion brands, textile manufacturers, retailers, businesses, farmers and speakers. The Better Cotton “Cotton + Climate Action” conference, which is taking place next month in Sweden will also feature Forum for the Future, Cotton 2040, IKEA, Walmart, European Commission, UN FAO, and WWF.

Better Cotton aims to promote better standards and practices in cotton farming and its mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment. Speakers at the event will address critical climate and industry issues such as supply chain traceability, climate change capacity building, greenwashing and misuse of data, finance and impact investing.

The conference will be led by Alan McClay CEO of Better Cotton and attendees will have the chance to listen to cotton farmers’ first-hand perspectives on the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and communities and how they are working to adapt to this new reality.  

McClay explains: “Transforming the cotton sector is not the work of one organisation alone and I am excited that we can at last bring together players from across the cotton industry at an in-person event. Our industry has been investing heavily in building its climate resilience for some years now, but of the 350 million people who rely on cotton production about half face high exposure to climate risk.

“In particular we need to show farmers that implementing more sustainable practices really will give them tangible rewards – both monetary and by improving the health of the land. There are a myriad of issues to tackle – from gender and social injustice to finance and traceability. We look forward to digging into these key issues in Sweden,” he adds.

Leading retailers and brands in Better Cotton’s membership, including Walmart and IKEA, will provide their take on climate action, and how they are contributing to projects on regenerative agriculture and traceability. 

Better Cotton says the conference will also cover: 

  • Climate risks, the implications for production, adaptation and resilience-building 
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation in small and large farm contexts 
  • Improving smallholder and community livelihoods 
  • Retailers, brands and sustainable cotton sourcing targets – what’s next after 2020 targets? 
  • Spotlight on women tackling climate change – inspiring personal stories from Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan 
  • Traceability and its relevance for sustainability outcomes and impacts 
  • Effective due diligence management systems 
  • Greenwashing and the latest legislative moves.

Breakout sessions will be held with the EU Commission, WWF, Textile Exchange, Rainforest Alliance, ISEAL, Pesticide Action Network UK, Delta Project, Wageningen University and Research, Anthesis Group, IDH, Fairtrade, Fair Capital, Solidaridad, Chainpoint, Farmer Connect, Commonland, GAP-UNDP and Landscape Finance Lab.

In April, Better Cotton’s chief operating officer Lena Staafgard, spoke to Just Style exclusively about the company’s 2030 strategy, why soil health is so important, and the future of its Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund, in this video interview.