India is the world’s third-largest cotton exporter and the world’s second-largest textile exporter, both of which contribute considerably to the country’s economy. The worldwide cotton value chain includes no fewer than 6 million small-to-medium-sized Indian cotton producers and agricultural employees.
As a result, the country must guarantee that it not only maintains its place in the global cotton trade but also plans for a strong, secure, and sustainable future.
The global textile supply chain is experiencing a paradigm transition; it is pursuing environmental and social improvements to fulfill the demands of sustainability. This is done via the use of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), which include certification programs, labeling programs, and private standards. The major VSS that are dominant in the sustainable cotton value chain today include Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Organic Cotton, Fairtrade Cotton, and Cotton Made in Africa.
Adapting to VSS is certainly advantageous for India. On the one hand, it will assist it in remaining internationally competitive in the cotton supply chain and strengthening its position in the export market, while on the other, it will assist India in meeting its SDG obligations.
India has made significant headway toward a more sustainable cotton agricultural ecology. The overall VSS cotton area has reached 1.5 million hectares, accounting for 24% of the global VSS cotton area.
It is the greatest producer of organic cotton, accounting for 50% of worldwide organic cotton output, and the second-largest producer of ‘Better Cotton,’ with around 0.2 million hectares of production area. Better Cotton farmers have 9 percent higher yields and 18 percent higher profit than conventional farmers.
Because VSS in cotton assures a better production system, sourcing techniques, and consumption habits while also touching the lives of hundreds of millions, India must scale it up while aligning it with its SDG objectives.
Reference- Better Cotton website,IBEF website, Economic Times, Better India, WWF, Business Standard