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Zara owner Inditex demands transparency from Better Cotton

By Susan Zijp


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Cotton Credits: Aid by Trade Foundation

Better Cotton, the world's largest cotton sustainability programme, is being asked to answer to growing concerns raised by fashion giant Inditex. In a letter to Better Cotton CEO Alan McClay, Inditex demanded a plan to clarify transparency on cotton traceability following allegations of "illegal practices" by the NGO Earthsight, according to Spanish business platform Modaes.

Inditex's demand comes after an investigation was launched by Earthsight late last, followed by a report published on 11 April. In it, two Brazilian producers of cotton with the Better Cotton certificate are suspected of illegal practices, including deforestation and violent actions against local communities. Inditex is now demanding that Better Cotton draw up a plan to "provide maximum visibility to the entire industry on certified practices", the fashion giant stated in the letter seen by Modaes.

Inditex demanded that Better Cotton investigate Earthsight's allegations, with the company writing: "If its contents [of the Earthsight report, ed.] are confirmed, the cotton sourced from these producers will fall completely outside the standards required by Inditex and expected by its suppliers and customers around the world." The letter noted that the required information requested by the fashion group "will be crucial in assessing potential constraints in the consideration of the Better Cotton standard" in the supply system and "the possible implementation of greater control regarding the production conditions of cotton of Brazilian origin".

Established by BCI, the Better Cotton standard refers to cotton produced in a way that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Founded in 2005, Better Cotton has become one of the most representative standards for sustainable cotton, with more than 2,500 members worldwide. Mainly textile suppliers and manufacturers are affiliated to the company, but fashion giants like Inditex, Mango, LVMH and Pepe Jeans are also members of Better Cotton.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.NL. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.

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