Better Cotton Conference to Spotlight Livelihoods and Traceability

Better Cotton, the world’s largest cotton sustainability initiative, will host its annual conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, next month, from 21-22 June.

Taking place at the Felix Meritis, the event will bring together more than 300 industry stakeholders – both in-person and online – representing all stages of the supply chain. Registration is still open and available at bettercottonconference.org.

The conference will be divided into four key themes – climate action, smallholder livelihoods, traceability and data, and regenerative agriculture – identified for their impact on the sustainability of the cotton sector.

Each section will be introduced by keynote speakers specially selected for their expert understanding of the topics in focus. Nisha Onta, Executive Director at sustainable development initiative Governance Lab, will kickstart the climate action theme; Antonie Fountain, CEO of cocoa sector watchdog the Voice Network, will usher in discussion on smallholder livelihoods; Maxine Bédat, Founder and Director of ‘think-and-do tank’ the New Standard Institute (NSI) will discuss traceability and data; and Felipe Villela, Co-Founder of sustainable farming foundation reNature, will present on the topic of regenerative agriculture.

Better Cotton Farmers will feature throughout the course of the event, as we strive to raise awareness of the implications of each theme on cotton-producing communities around the world. Farmers and field facilitators from India, Pakistan, Australia, Brazil and Mozambique will be in-attendance, offering attendees unique insights into their operations.

In the climate action theme, a practical workshop will be held to explore the potential of carbon finance in cotton production and agriculture more broadly. The session will explore the benefits and potential challenges of insetting and what the introduction of such mechanisms would mean for farmers.

In the livelihoods theme, Voice Network Chief Executive Antonie Fountain will sit alongside Ashlee Tuttleman, Senior Innovation Manager at IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, in an interactive session designed to directly engage the audience on the topic of a living income and how we can work towards this in cotton and beyond. Notably, the pair will address a series of myths around agriculture and livelihoods, before exploring the challenges and opportunities for progress in this space.

With Better Cotton set to launch its own traceability system later this year, the conference’s focus on the topic presents the opportunity for a timely update. Better Cotton’s Senior Traceability Manager, Jacky Broomhead, will sit down with Erin Klett, Senior Director of Research & Policy at Verité, to discuss how brand, retail and supplier members can prime their operations for increased supply chain visibility. Solution providers including TextileGenesis will then join the panel to discuss Better Cotton’s ongoing pilot project in India.

The conference’s fourth and final theme, regenerative agriculture, will explore the topic – from its very definition to ambitions of mainstreaming such practices. In an interactive panel discussion, smallholders and large farm owners from around the world – including Almas Parveen from Pakistan and Todd Straley from the United States – will discuss ‘regenerative principles’ put forward by the audience to gauge their real-world applicability.

Across the two-day event, there’ll be a plethora of organisations from across the cotton sector and beyond attending to offer their insights.

Participants include:

  • The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH)
  • Cotton Australia
  • Organic Cotton Accelerator
  • US Cotton Trust Protocol
  • Tony’s Chocolonely
  • Retraced
  • Marks & Spencer
  • John Lewis
  • J.Crew Group
  • WWF
  • Textile Exchange
  • Pesticide Action Network (UK)

Alongside an action-packed agenda, there’ll be ample opportunity to network. On the evening of 20 June, a welcome reception will be hosted at global sustainability initiative Fashion for Good’s Museum, where guests will gain access to a curated cotton exhibition.

A networking dinner will also be held on the evening of 21 June at the Strand Zuid. Registration is available via the link below and we look forward to convening the industry.

Registration | Attendee (bettercottonconference.org)

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