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LONDON – The Better Cotton Initiative has set up a taskforce to review forced labour risks associated with the Better Cotton Standard System. The taskforce will include several independent civil society organisations including representation from Anti-Slavery International, the Fair Labour Association and Human Rights Watch.

The establishment of the taskforce comes amid claims of forced and prison labour in the Xinjiang province of China. BCI recently suspended licensing from Xinjiang for the upcoming cotton season (2020-21) based on the “recognition that the operating environment prevents credible assurance and licensing from being executed.”

BCI assurance activities in Xinjiang for the last season finished in September and there will be no licensed Better Cotton from Xinjiang next season (2020-21). Prior to this, Xinjiang had accounted for around a fifth of all BCI licensed cotton.

The new taskforce will produce recommendations intended to improve the effectiveness of the Better Cotton system in “identifying, preventing, mitigating and remediating forced labour risks.” It includes representatives from civil society, retailers, brands, and consultancies with a strong expertise in human rights and forced labour.

Taskforce members

Civil Society organisations

  • Patricia Jurewicz, Founder and Vice President | Responsible Sourcing Network
  • Isabelle Rogers, Global Cotton Programme Manager | Solidaridad
  • Chloe Cranston, Business and Human Rights Manager | Anti-Slavery International
  • Shelly Han, Chief of Staff & Director or Engagement | Fair Labour Association
  • Komala Ramachandra, Senior Researcher | Human Rights Watch

Consultancies / Research Organisations 

  • Rosey Hurst, Founder and Director | Impactt
  • Aarti Kapoor, Managing Director | Embode
  • Brett Dodge, Senior Consultant | Ergon

Retailers and Brands

  • Lydia Hopton, Ethical Trade Manager | M&S Clothing and Home
  • Aditi Wanchoo, Senior Manager – Development Partnerships Social & Environmental Affairs | adidas

Project Advisors

  • Stephen McClelland, Independent Senior Consultant

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