sustainability

the largest producer of BCI cotton in the world

World leader in sustainable cotton production and licensed by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Brazil increased its share in the amount of cotton approved by the Swiss NGO from 31% in 2018 to 36% in 2019. The country has ranked number one in the world since 2013.

In the Brazilian protocol, 178 certification items are required by the country’s labor and environmental legislation, which is considered to be one of the most complete and rigid in the world.

 

Responsible Brazilian Cotton Program (ABR)

Created by Abrapa, the ABR program certifies farms that are committed to a strict protocol of good agricultural, environmental, social, and economic practices. The program has operated in tandem with the BCI since 2013, with both programs using unified protocols.

 

timeline

2005

Regional initiative in the state of Mato Grosso

2009

Certification program is implemented across the country

2012

Creation of a single protocol for the country (ABR – Responsible Brazilian Cotton)

2013

ABR unifies programs with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

2020

Launch of the ABR-UBA program (Responsible Brazilian Cotton – Cotton Ginning Plant)

First country in the world to certify Cotton Ginning Plants.

today

Record volume of certified cotton at 2.3 million tons

Brazil supplies 36% of the world’s BCI cotton

 

sustainability pillars

Buying Brazilian cotton means collaborating for a fairer and more balanced system of relationships between man, the economy and the environment. The ABR certification ensures respect for three essential pillars of sustainability:

environmental

Brazilian cotton preserves the environment: it does not contribute to deforestion, it promotes good agricultural practices and has an effective program for the intelligent use of water.

social

Production respects any and all systems involving companies and institutions, working for dignified and bilateral relations between all parties. Employees are valued and slave and child labor are fiercely fought.

economic

Production promotes fair economic practices and contributes to the development of its market ecosystem and of the country.

Under these pillars, eight evaluation criteria have been established:

1
employment contract
2
ban on child labor
3
ban on slave/slave-like work or work performed in degrading or undignified conditions
4
freedom to unionize
5
ban on discrimination
6
safety, occupational health, and the work environment
7
environmental performance
8
good agricultural practices

Criteria 2 and 3 entail mandatory compliance.

 

What does sustainable Brazilian cotton deliver?

92% does not use irrigation, grows on rainwater alone.
1st in yield without irrigation in the world.
varied production matrix

There is no monoculture. Cotton producers also grow soybeans, corn, millet, sorghum and other crops.
75% of the national production is certified with the best sustainability practices.
only country in the world to have certification for Cotton Ginning Plants, starting in 2020.
development and social transformation in communities
In 20 years, producing regions have moved from the very low to the high end of the MHDI range (Municipal Human Development Index). Comparative examples: Nova Mutum (Mato Grosso) jumped from 0.432 to 0.758, and Barreiras (Bahia) from 0.408 to 0.721 between 1991 and 2010.

 

certification

Certification is the result of three main steps:

  1. diagnosis of the production unit,
  2. correction of possible non-compliances and
  3. auditing. Farms and ginning plants are visited individually by independent auditors with international recognition *, in all ABR crop seasons.

The ABR, like the BCI, is based on the continuous improvement of good social, environmental, and economic practices in cotton production units.

* Certifying bodies licensed by Abrapa in the 2019/2020 crop: ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Standards), Bureau Veritas and GenesisGroup Certifications.

the history


Brazilian cotton has a curious history of resilience and innovation. According to historical reports, local indigenous people used cotton fibers to produce yarns and rustic fabrics. But in 1750 the country discovered the commercial potential of its agricultural production and cotton became a sort of white gold for the domestic economy.

until the 1980s

Brazil was one of the world's largest producers and exporters of cotton.

late 1980s

early 1990s

The boll weevil spread across the fields destroying entire crops, causing families to lose everything and the Brazilian production to drop by more than 60%. This was one of the worst crises caused by a pest in cotton farming in the world.

late 1990s

Cotton crops are resumed and Abrapa (Brazilian Association of Cotton Growers) is created. The Association is responsible for uniting producers from all over Brazil.

2004

Creation of Abrapa's traceability system in which each Brazilian cotton bale carries a code with a unique numerical sequence that makes it possible to track bales and also bears the following identification information: grower, crop year, ginning plant, laboratory, and HVI test results.

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2005

Start of the sustainability pillar for Brazilian cotton, which since 2013 has worked in tandem with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). In 2020 Brazil became the first country in the world to also certify the Cotton Ginning Plants.

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2016

Development of the quality pillar based on monitoring programs for HVI laboratories, ensuring full transparency for the Brazilian cotton information.

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2020

Production in Brazil offers traceability, sustainability, quality, and year-round availability.

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