Policy, Data and Field-Level Impact in Focus for Better Cotton Conference in Istanbul

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  • Farmers and farm workers from around the world will take to the stage
  • More than 200 representatives from across the industry in attendance
  • Better Cotton staff to offer updates on traceability, legislation and company claims

Better Cotton will host its annual conference 26-27 June in the cotton-producing country of Türkiye, renowned for its textile manufacturing. Taking place at the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center, the event will bring together more than 200 industry stakeholders – both in-person and online – representing all stages of the supply chain. Registration is still open and available.

A focus on ‘Accelerating Impact’ unites the four themes: Putting People First, Driving Change at Field Level, Understanding Policy & Industry Trends, and Reporting on Data & Traceability. Sessions will explore the sector’s most compelling issues and developments, including regenerative agriculture, decent work responsibilities across the supply train, traceability and sustainability legislation.

Antonie Fountain, managing director at VOICE Network, will serve as the conference host, while keynote speakers will come from three continents and various disciplines.

  • Aarti Kapoor, Founder and Executive Director of human rights agency Embode, will kickstart the first theme, ‘Putting People First’
  • Lewis Perkins, President of the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), will lead discussion for the ‘Driving Change at Field Level’ theme
  • Dr Vidhura Ralapanawe, Executive Vice President for Innovation and Sustainability at global apparel manufacturer Epic Group, will introduce the theme ‘Understanding Policy & Industry Trends’
  • Tülin Akın, founder of Turkish farmer social enterprise Tabit, will lead on the event’s final theme, ‘Reporting on Data & Traceability’

Better Cotton Farmers will feature throughout the programme, connecting stakeholders directly with cotton farming communities, including representatives from Türkiye, India, Mozambique, Pakistan, Tajikistan and the US.

The ‘Putting People First’ theme will cover the social side of cotton farming – from promoting sustainable livelihoods to ensuring decent work. Conversations will explore ideas around farmer remuneration as well as the role producer organisations can play in supporting this mission.

‘Driving Change at Field Level’ will delve into a number of topics, from women’s empowerment and farmer financing mechanisms to regenerative agriculture and cross-commodity collaboration. A timely discussion on carbon markets will get things underway, as panellists debate the pros and cons of such frameworks and whether they’re fit to accommodate millions of the world’s smallholder cotton farmers.

On day two, attention will turn to ‘Understanding Policy & Industry Trends’ as sessions consider the changing legislative landscape which continues to impact the fashion and textile sectors. Panel discussions will touch upon how stakeholders can prepare for emerging regulations, and how performance claims can support company sustainability goals.

The event’s final theme, ‘Reporting on Data & Traceability’, will consider the crucial role of data in driving improvements both at the field level and within cotton supply chains. Better Cotton will provide insights into its 2023 India Impact Report results, as well as the latest information relating to traceability.

Across the two-day event, there’ll be a plethora of organisations from across the cotton sector and beyond attending to offer their insights.

Participants include:

  • Marks & Spencer
  • WWF
  • IDH
  • Solidaridad
  • International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • 2050
  • World Agroforestry
  • Olam Agri

There will be ample opportunity to network, including a welcome reception on Tuesday 25 June to kickstart an engaging couple of days. A networking dinner and the Better Cotton Member Awards will be hosted 26 June on a cruise along the Bosphorus to take in the city sights and Istanbul’s rich history.

Registration is available via this link, and we look forward to convening the industry.

A huge thank you to our event sponsors: USB Certification, Gildan, Cotton Incorporated, Artistic Milliners, Louis Dreyfus Company, Ortablu, Spectrum, Kipas Textiles, Supima, Cotton Brazil, Source Intelligence, San JFS, Global Organic Textile Standard Türkiye, Koton and RBDC.