Better Cotton has developed a roadmap of sustainability developments with key stakeholders in Uzbekistan to further improve the country’s cotton sector.

The collaborative agreement was signed at the beginning of June during Tashkent Textile Week. Rachel Beckett,  senior programme manager at Better Cotton, the cotton sustainability initiative, presented the roadmap to more than 600 delegates. Stakeholders from Uzbekistan, the sixth largest cotton growing nation, have committed to supporting its implementation, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Employment, and Textile and Garments Association.

The roadmap will build on the Better Cotton Programme in Uzbekistan, launched in 2022, and has four objectives:

  • To build effective management systems for the Better Cotton Programme in Uzbekistan and raise the awareness amongst cotton stakeholders in the country on sustainability pillars;
  • To promote the labour rights of workers in the cotton sector by putting in place effective labour systems that ensure decent work, safe and healthy working conditions, effective management of employer-worker relations as well as productive social dialogue;
  • To build key stakeholders’ awareness of best practices relating to environmental sustainability in cotton production and how these can be assessed at a field level;
  • And to build a three-year strategy that defines the ways in which the Better Cotton programme can be managed, funded, and delivered at scale.

Rachel Beckett said: “Better Cotton sees its work in Uzbekistan as an opportunity to create value and drive improvements for the environment, producers, and workers in the country’s cotton sector, and to bring us closer to our vision of a world where all cotton is more sustainable.”

Senate chairperson and chairperson of the National Commission to Combating Human Trafficking and Forced Labour, Her Excellency Tanzila Narbayeva, commented: “We believe that our partnership with Better Cotton will support the creation of effective management systems in cotton fields, encourage the broader application of modern, energy-saving technologies and reduce the impact of production on the environment. This roadmap serves to strengthen social protection, improve labour relations based on international standards, and create decent and safe working conditions for workers.”