Meeting of the Advisory Board of the IFC project on the development of socially responsible and environmentally sustainable cotton production in Uzbekistan takes place
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 4 August 2020, the third meeting of the Advisory Board of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) project on the development of socially responsible and environmentally sustainable cotton production in Uzbekistan was held in the format of a video conference.
The event was attended by representatives of the World Bank Group, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), the Responsible Sourcing Network, non-governmental organizations belonging to the Cotton Campaign coalition and foreign textile companies.
From the Uzbek side, the meeting was attended by the leadership of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, the Uztekstilprom Association, branch departments and local government bodies, as well as heads of cotton and textile clusters.
The IFC project on the development of socially responsible and environmentally sustainable cotton production in Uzbekistan, launched in 2017, aims to introduce processes and technologies for growing cotton that meet modern international requirements, in accordance with the BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) sustainable cotton production system standards.
BCI is an international non-profit organization dedicated to transforming cotton production around the world by developing Better Cotton (that is, cotton grown to BCI sustainable production standards) as a sustainable commodity.
Most well-known apparel brands such as H&M, Levi’s, Adidas, Nike and others have set themselves the goal of using only sustainable raw cotton in their products, including raw cotton grown according to the BCI standards. IKEA has completely switched to raw cotton grown using the BCI methodology and other sustainable raw cotton such as organic and processed raw cotton.
During the meeting, the current results of the project to promote reforms in the cotton sector and the introduction of modern methods of cotton production that meet the requirements of sustainability and responsible supply of international markets were discussed in detail.
The members of the Cotton Campaign presented the results of an independent monitoring of the 2019 raw cotton harvest and a draft Responsible Sourcing Agreement. The signing of this Agreement will promote the implementation of best corporate governance practices in the cotton processing industry, fulfillment of the requirements in the field of responsible procurement and due diligence by international brands, as well as the establishment of a mechanism under which Uzbek cotton and textile clusters will be assessed according to the RSA Compliance Assessment System (RSA Eligibility Scorecard System).
During the meeting, the management of the British company Ergon Associates, one of the Project consultants, provided information on the work done on the scoping study of the BCI standards system, which is a preparatory stage for considering the Plan for the launch of this system in Uzbekistan.
The Uzbek side provided information on the results of the measures taken by the Government of Uzbekistan to ensure transparency in the cotton processing sector, as well as to increase the automation and mechanization of cotton production processes and continue cooperation in these areas with international organizations, including the IFC, the International Labor Organization and the Cotton Campaign coalition.
It was noted that the Government of Uzbekistan highly appreciates the instrumental role of the IFC in encouraging reforms in the cotton sector of the country and aims at effective interaction in this matter.
Following the meeting, an agreement was reached to intensify the joint development of the draft Agreement on Responsible Sources of Supply, which will allow cotton and textile clusters of Uzbekistan to establish direct cooperation with the world’s largest brands in the near future.