China releases sustainable cotton production standards
Published: Mar 16, 2022 12:43 AM
A cotton picking machine moves in a cotton field in Dolatbag Town of Bachu County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. File photo: Xinhua

A cotton picking machine moves in a cotton field. File photo: Xinhua

The China Cotton Association (CCA) has released sustainable production standards for cotton, which will be officially implemented in the industry from April 1, according to a notice released by the CCA. 

As an important part of the Cotton China Sustainable Development Program (CCSD), the standards focus on the core issues of sustainable agricultural development, such as the management and use of agricultural chemicals, ecological and environmental protection, cotton quality and occupational health and safety during cotton planting.

An official with the CCA said that China is an important producer and consumer of cotton as well as an exporter of textiles and garments, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

"The publication and implementation of this standard will help guide cotton producers to adopt sustainable production and operation, meet the demand for high-quality and sustainable cotton products, solve the problem of unbalanced industry development, promote ecological civilization, increase cotton farmers' income and improve the level of rural economic development," said the official.

According to the standards, participants are required to improve efficiency with chemical fertilizer in a bid to reduce the amount that is used. They are also required to increase the use and efficiency of clean energy and reduce the use of non-renewable energy.

Employees must be paid at least the local minimum wage and medical check-ups should be provided at least once a year free of charge.

The standards will be implemented among the first six production partners of the CCSD, as well as production and operation units, including farmers, that are willing to adopt the standards for sustainable cotton cultivation, and deliver sustainable cotton raw materials to downstream brands and consumers.

According to the CCA, the six partners are all large cotton enterprises in the industry, with a total annual cotton turnover of more than 1.6 million tons.

The CCSD was launched by the CCA in June 2021, aiming to build a homegrown independent sustainable standard and certification system to counter the current standard system, which is monopolized by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a West-led industry body.

On Tuesday, the turnover of six listed cotton futures contracts on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange (ZCE) totaled 32.05 billion yuan ($5.02 billion). The cotton futures were listed on ZCE in June 2004 to help cotton-related enterprises hedge price risks, since China is the world's largest consumer, producer and exporter of textiles.

Global Times