Leading brands and retailers look to rope in spinners and fabric makers for the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) which so far has seen participation from farmers and ginners alone.
Speaking as part of a panel discussion at the International Conference on Cotton at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), representatives of Arvind Ltd and Mafatlal Industries talked about the need for participation of the spinning, fabric and garmenting industry in the BCI in India.
The two-day conference was jointly organised by Ahmedabad-based Diagonal Consulting, Textile Association of India (TAI) and Textile Machinery Manufacturers' Association of India (TMMA).
Started by global retailers some years ago, BCI looks to imbibe best practices in cotton-based apparel right from the farming stage.
"While on one hand the Indian consumer will have to be convinced about the benefits of a cotton wear developed through the sustainable BCI, cotton, yarn, fabric and garment value chain will have to take the initiatives to work together with brands as well," said Rajiv Dayal, director of Mafatlal Industries as part of the panel discussion.
Offering the example of Arvind Limited's involvement in BCI, Mahesh Ramakrishnan, head - agri business at the textile conglomerate said, "At Arvind, we now have about 100,000 acres of area under BCI. That goes to show our commitment to BCI. However, globally the Better Cotton Initiative is still just 0.7 per cent of total cotton cultivation. This could grow through involvement of people in the entire textile value chain."
While moderating the panel discussion, Atanu Ghosh, faculty member at IIM-A said, "There should be better use of environment such as use of less water along with fair trade and fair prices to growers. However, there has to be economic logic to all involved in BCI."
Meanwhile, the panelists agreed that the challenges in India for implementation of sustainable BCI model for growing cotton were lack of co-operation within the textile value chain, lack of awareness among cotton growers as well as limited availability.