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April 11, 2022

Better Cotton to manage growth fund under IDH reshape

IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and Better Cotton have redefined their partnership in a move that sees IDH hand over management of the Better Cotton Growth & Innovation Fund to Better Cotton.

By Beth Wright

IDH and Better Cotton are reshaping their partnership to collectively work towards the sustainable transformation of the cotton sector for the 2022-2030 period.

During this period, IDH and Better Cotton will continue to collaborate to support the transformation of the cotton sector; through deepening social and environmental impacts in cotton-growing regions, reducing climate change impacts, and engaging with brands on sustainable sourcing practices.

In addition, IDH will continue to support the Better Cotton Growth & Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF) as a funder and strategic partner but will hand over the management of the Fund to Better Cotton.

IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative is an organisation that works with businesses, financiers, governments and civil society to realise sustainable trade in global value chains. It operates in multiple sectors and landscapes in Africa, Asia and Latin America with over 600 companies, CSOs, financial institutions, producer organisations and governments. Its aim is to develop and apply innovative, business-driven approaches to create new jobs, sustainable industries and new sustainable markets to have large-scale positive impact on climate change, deforestation, gender, living wages and living incomes, which will help to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

IDH and Better Cotton are committed to building a cotton sector that promotes climate-resilient approaches which support farmer livelihoods and agricultural practices that protect and restore the environment, as well as business models that incentivise and sustain this transformation. They will cooperate in these areas of mutual interest through programme development, field interventions, and scaling investment opportunities through impact funding.

IDH and Better Cotton have worked closely as strategic partners since 2009 when the Better Cotton Standard System was originally launched, and the Better Cotton Fast Track Program (BCFTP) was established to create momentum for the global cotton market transformation. BCFTP, managed by IDH, drove innovative public-private commitments to accelerate the supply and sourcing of Better Cotton. By the end of the programme in 2015, it supported the production of nearly 2m metric tonnes of Better Cotton and the capacity building of 663,000 farmers in eight countries.

The programme transitioned to the Better Cotton Growth & Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF) in 2016. IDH, in addition to being a funder, also provided fund-management services to the Better Cotton GIF, which was executed by a dedicated team at IDH, managing the Fund’s day-to-day operations. IDH is now handing over the fund management to Better Cotton.

“Together, we have come a long way in achieving market transformation towards sustainable cotton and improving livelihoods of over two million cotton farmers globally. The Better Cotton model is established as one of the most successful global sustainability standards, including nearly a quarter of the global cotton production,” says Pramit Chanda, global director, textiles and manufacturing at IDH. “We are both proud as well as humbled with what has been achieved and we look forward to elevating this partnership with Better Cotton to the next level and drive additional impact for the cotton farmers globally.”

Lena Staafgard, COO, Better Cotton, adds: “Since the inception of Better Cotton, IDH has been one of our most important and dedicated partners. They took the lead in securing growth and acceleration of the Standard through the establishment of the BCFTP and have continuously provided challenge and support, helping ensure our strategies and interventions are impactful and efficient. We look forward to exploring the new opportunities for driving change together through our continued collaboration and partnership. The 2030 Agenda for Transformation requires innovation and brave decisions to succeed. IDH is an ideal partner on both counts.”

Global non-profit organisation Better Cotton said last week enhanced education programmes are the answer to increase soil health, reduce pesticide use and increase yields, as climate change increases pressure on agriculture and farming.

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