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China is Creating an Alternative Standard to BCI Cotton

A farmer harvests cotton in Hami, Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. Getty Images.
A farmer harvests cotton in Hami, Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. Getty Images. (VCG)

China will soon launch its own version of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) standard, according to state media reports.

A Beijing-based cotton service provider, Zhongnong Guoji, which is also responsible for the Xinjiang Digital Cotton Research Centre, is leading the initiative, in co-operation with the China Fashion Association and the Ministry of Finance-backed Modern Seed Industry Development Fund.

“After years of living with pressure under BCI standards, we just want to build our own cotton brand to have a far greater say in the cotton and textile industry,” said Luo Yan, secretary-general of the Xinjiang Digital Cotton Research Centre.

According to Luo, the cotton programme will mainly focus on “improving production efficiency through digitalisation, a fully traceable cotton production process, low-carbon production and high-quality cotton farming.”

BCI withdrew from China’s Xinjiang region in 2020, citing persistent allegations of forced labour, and BCI affiliation has led a number of international fashion brands to be the target of boycotts in China over the past month.

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