The materials program fosters climate-resilient and sustainable value chains in cotton-growing regions. Since 2009, we have built partnerships with leading global textile brands and retailers and supported Better Cotton to become the largest sustainability program in the cotton sector. These initiatives deliver better incomes for smallholder farmers, reduce negative environmental impacts of key apparel and textiles materials, and drive sustainable sourcing at scale.
To address issues at a systemic level, we look beyond the farm and apply IDH’s PPI landscape approach in various cotton-growing regions; Madhya Pradesh (India), the Semi-arid region of Brazil, and Southern Chad. Through convening a wide range of local and international stakeholders and aligning different perspectives (policy, markets, finance), we create locally-owned ‘Compacts’ (regional development plans) that set out long-term pathways for the achievement of climate-resilient agricultural production systems. In these landscape initiatives, we create the business case for regenerative agriculture and investments in smallholder farmers and other actors in agricultural value chains. We link market actors to the different crops grown in the area, facilitating investments and encouraging more sustainable sourcing practices.
We partner strategically with Better Cotton on the transformation of the cotton sector, through both scaling and deepening impact strategies. IDH also remains a significant investor in the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund which invests more than EUR 15 million each year in field projects that enable around 2 million farmers to access the Better Cotton market. IDH and Better Cotton work together on the development of smallholder livelihoods and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, including through considering landscape approaches and innovative finance models.
Given that cotton only represents 25% of the materials footprint, we also facilitate the sustainable sourcing of alternative materials. This program focuses on India specifically and aims to address feedstock bottlenecks for recycled cotton and polyester so that market demand for these materials can be met.
Promoting sustainable cotton production
IDH invests in and supports the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), an independent standard based on agronomic, environmental, and social criteria to create long-term change.
IDH is a strategic partner to the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF or the Fund), a global program designed to support the BCI in scaling.
The focus of the Fund is field-level – investing in more sustainable farming practices, better training and capacity building, more efficient data collection and research to benefit farmers and the environment in key cotton-growing countries.
As a strategic partner to the Fund and plays multiple roles including fund manager, funder, and partner to deliver innovations for farmer capacity building on more sustainable production practices.
Climate-Smart Cotton Landscapes
IDH’s Climate-Smart Cotton Landscapes implements an innovative jurisdictional model to address smallholder vulnerability to climate change through public-private action. Through the programs, IDH aims at de-risking farmer’s exposure to climate change through a multi-pillar strategy, anchored around water management, agricultural practices & tools, alternative livelihood, gender empowerment, and community building.
In India, the CCL are being implemented in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In Maharashtra, IDH is working with 6,300 farmers through an integrated, participatory and gender-inclusive approach of agrometeorological advisory services, training on good agricultural practices, and community-based watershed management. The program also implements an Agri-Entrepreneur model, under which a rural youth is trained to handhold 150-250 farmers in a cluster of 4-5 villages and act as a one-stop resource provider for the agricultural needs of small and marginal farmers including providing access to finance, agricultural inputs and supporting with market linkages.
IDH is extending its focus on alternatives for cotton including polyester and man-made cellulosic fibers (MMCFs) to identify innovative solutions addressing key sustainability challenges.
IDH will deliver a package of material interventions across the cradle-to-gate life cycle from farm to production, by leveraging existing network in key cotton-growing countries as well as major garment manufacturing hubs including China, Vietnam, Pakistan, and India, to solve potential cross-value chain barriers and by continuing to work closely with 90+ brands and retailer partners in the EU and USA to drive systemic changes.
Facts and Figures
Private-sector (sustainability) investments in the program (in million euro)Target 2020 10Result 2020 14Cumulative target 2020 55Cumulative result 2016-2020 61
Volume of sustainably produced cotton (in million metric tons)Target 2020 7Result 2020 6Cumulative target 2020 23Cumulative result 2016-2018 24
Smallholders, workers and community members trained (in millions)Target 2020 4Results 2020 3
|Assessment of the livelihoods of small-scale cotton farmers and the potential for diversified income opportunities in Chad||Other publications||2023||Africa||Landscapes Program|
|Feasibility Study Report Potential for Water Management in Chad||Other publications||2023||Africa||Landscapes Program|
|RPL Collaborative: Compact Launch report||Report||2022||Asia||-|
|Restoring Soil Health Through Public-Private-Community Action||Case Study||2022||Asia||-|
|Mozambique Climate Resilience Program – Annual Report 2021||Report||2021||-||-|
|Gender sensitization training toolkit for farming communities in India||Toolkit and guide||2021||-||-|
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