PHOTO: Khushbakht Fatima Jamal, BC Pakistan and Brooke Summers Cotton Australia, at the Better Cotton conference.

Cotton Australia’s Cotton to Market Lead, Brooke Summers, last week attended the Better Cotton Conference in Istanbul where the impacts of incoming EU legislation, carbon accounting, living wages, traceability and regenerative cotton were high on the agenda.

Attended by over 200 people from the sustainable cotton community around the globe including brand and retailer members, the Conference was organised around themes of Putting People First, Driving Change at Field Level, Understanding Policy and Industry Challenges and Reporting on Data and Traceability.

Brooke participated in a panel looking at the role of standards in regenerative agriculture and cotton. Expertly moderated by Kushbakht Fatima Jamal of Better Cotton Pakistan, Brooke sat alongside colleagues Alex Cullen from the UK Soil Association Certification, Dave Maslen of The New Zealand Merino Company and Kristine Root from Regenified in the U.S.

During the discussion, which included issues around farmer engagement, mechanisms to reward farmers directly and data collection, Brooke made some key points including:

  • It's essential cotton farmers co-design (not just have a seat at the table) anything that impacts them, including regenerative standards - rather than having more requirements imposed from the top down
  • Farmers need to be paid more if they're expected to do more at farm level including collecting and reporting more data, changing practices and enabling back to farm traceability
  • If there's any chance of moving beyond pilots and small projects to scale, we need to recognise the existing regenerative outcomes and practices contained in Better Cotton, myBMP from Australia and all of the other cotton programs working on the ground with farmers in every producing country.

“The current myBMP program contains a multitude of regenerative practices already including low and no-till farming, crop rotations, water use efficiency, soil conversation and a focus on reducing synthetic inputs,” Brooke said.

“As part of the Strategic Roadmap for Australian cotton, the industry will be reviewing myBMP and building a data platform to ensure the practices and progress already being made on farm is recognised and aligned globally, and that we’re capturing the data required.

“While there is an increasing number of cotton certifications, programs and standards available to Australian cotton farmers, we need to make sure that the industry-led program, designed by our farmers and researchers, is future fit to ensure market access and value to our farmers.”

During the Conference, Cotton Australia was also recognised with an Award for its 10-year partnership with Better Cotton, acknowledging the Cotton Australia team and our certified farmers who are working hard to implement sustainability at farm level in Australia with around 45% of the crop now certified under myBMP.


Cotton Australia has formed a number of authentic partnerships with retailers, brands, manufacturers and supply chain partners who share the industry's values. If your organisation believes in reducing environmental footprint, the fair and safe treatment of workers, quality product and supply chain traceability - then we may be in business.

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