Cotton from sustainable sources

Almost 40% of the fibres in our garments are cotton, which makes it one of Blåkläder’s most important materials. The fibre is used in much of our workwear and protective gear. These garments are designed to be used by professionals, which means that they have to be extremely durable and long-lasting. Cotton is a fibre that is both durable and comfortable to wear, which makes it ideal for workwear and protective gear. However, the production of cotton fibres is not without its issues. With this in mind, in 2017 we decided to join BCI, to support more sustainable means of cotton production. We firmly believe that cotton can be a more sustainable raw material, depending on how the cotton fibre is produced.

Blåkläder is a proud member of The Better Cotton Initiative/BCI. The Better Cotton Initiative, BCI, is a non-profit organization founded in 2005 that works to implement widespread change in the cotton industry, by helping cotton farmers to shift from conventional farming methods to more socially responsible and sustainable ones.
Better Cotton is more sustainable than conventionally cultivated cotton, as farmers receive training in how to use their water resources and reduce their use of fertilizers and pesticides. In such a way, they are exposed to fewer chemicals, creating better working conditions, reducing their environmental impact and saving money. Farmers also receive training in social issues like gender equality. The BCI helps farmers to cultivate cotton in a way that reduces their impact on the local environment while also improving their own standards of living. Organic cotton is the most desirable option for many reasons, but as the transition to organic cotton farming is very costly, it is currently inaccessible to the majority of poorer smallholders in the world. BCI instead enables a step in the right direction for each individual cotton grower. However, when taken together, all of these steps constitute a vast overall improvement in the world’s cotton growth. In the long term, organic growth should of course be the goal for everyone, but the journey there is long. Better Cotton offers a possible roadmap to that point, one that everyone can take – step by step.

Better Cotton is sourced via a system of Mass Balance. Better Cotton is not physically traceable from the end product. This means that the cotton is not kept separately from the grower to the factory. Instead, it forms part of a mass balance system that contributes to more sustainable cotton growth and a faster upscaling of more sustainable cotton.

We are committed to sourcing 80% of our cotton as Better Cotton by 2020. BCI is striving to help five million cotton growers convert to smarter cultivation methods by the end of 2020, which represents 30% of global cotton production. This will make a big difference to cotton farming and the environment from a global perspective. Blåkläder’s target for 2020 is for 80% of the cotton we buy to be Better Cotton. Over time, this will make up an even greater share.

Read more about BCI’s work for more sustainable cotton production here