China unveils plans for new sustainable cotton standard - Just Style
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China unveils plans for new sustainable cotton standard

23 Jun 2021

China has unveiled an initiative aimed at building a homegrown independent sustainable cotton standard and certification standard as it continues to reel from western allegations of forced labour in Xinjiang, the region which supplies 80% of the country's cotton.

China unveils plans for new sustainable cotton standard

The Cotton China Sustainable Development Program has been launched by the China Cotton Association and other industry organisations.

It aims to establish a sustainable cotton standard and certification system, promote the high-quality and sustainable development of China’s cotton industry, promote domestic cotton consumption, and expand the global market share of cotton products.

The CCA says it is a sustainable development project of the cotton industry with the core concept of “environmentally friendly, high quality, respect for labour, and full traceability”.

So far, it has finished formulating standards for the management of cotton production and signed contracts with six Chinese cotton producers in April. It plans to further cooperate with the textile supply chain and brands to build a sustainable cotton industrial chain from production, textile and garment manufacturing to sales.

Local press outlet Global Times, citing Gao Fang, chairman of the CCA, speaking at the opening ceremony, said the CCA will also commence evaluation work on cotton producers, and push forward the mutual recognition between Chinese standards and international standards. Also, a traceable system will be set up to supervise the whole supply chain.

The CCA says it sped up the launch of the initiative after the BCI suspended licensing of cotton in Xinjiang.

Wang Jiandong, vice chairman and secretary-general of the CCA, told the Global Times on the sideline of the conference: “All industry bodies have been uniting to help promote Chinese cotton, to make us less constrained by [other nations]. Why does the BCI’s license have such a global influence? And why China – as the world’s largest cotton consumption country and the world’s second-largest cotton producer – has a limited saying in trade practices in the international sphere? We should reverse this situation.”

The BCI declined to comment when approached by Just Style.