Sustainability initiative Better Cotton has announced four new “impact targets” to bring benefits in cotton-growing communities.

It is introducing new metrics to measure the impact of cotton farming on soil health, women’s empowerment, pesticides and sustainable livelihoods as part of its 10-year 2030 Strategy plan.

The new targets sit alongside the first commitment outlined in the organisation’s strategy: climate change mitigation which sets out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% per tonne of Better Cotton lint produced by the end of the decade.

The new targets were developed in conjunction with leading civil society organisations and industry experts. For sustainable livelihoods, it aims to sustainably increase the net income and resilience of two million cotton farmers and workers.

For soil health, it wants to ensure 100% of Better Cotton farmers have improved the health of their soil.

For women’s empowerment, Better Cotton has set the target of having one million women in cotton with programmes and resources that promote equal farm decision-making, build climate resilience or support improved livelihoods. It also wants to ensure 25% of field staff are women with the power to influence sustainable cotton production.

On pesticides, it aims to reduce the use and risk of synthetic pesticides applied by Better Cotton farmers and workers by at least 50%.

Better Cotton continues to drive continuous improvement at the field level to help cotton-farming communities survive and thrive while protecting and restoring the environment.

It stated that the new impact targets would “help ensure more significant and lasting economic, environmental and social benefits in cotton-growing communities by establishing focus and helping to leverage funding, knowledge partners and other resources to build momentum for change at scale”.

Alan McClay, CEO of Better Cotton, said: “Driving impact at the field-level is imperative for Better Cotton’s ambitions in what is a defining decade for our planet. Our new impact targets will allow us to continue taking measurable steps to support more sustainable cotton production.

“Pushing further towards regenerative and climate-smart agriculture, we can ensure cotton farmers and farm workers are equipped to address their environmental impact, futureproof their operations and adapt to the often unpredictable effects of global warming.

“Better Cotton continues to train an ever-growing global community on more sustainable farming practices. The impact targets will improve conditions across more than just cotton production, reaching beyond farming communities to benefit their landscapes, supply chains and ultimately consumers.”