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LONDON – Multi-stakeholder cotton certification programmes operating in Sub-Saharhan Africa “lack ambition” and are too “intertwined” with the interests of those involved in their creation and uptake, claims new research. Researchers looked at the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), the EU Organic Regulation and Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO). They found the EU Organic Regulation scores best in terms of environmental sustainability, while programmes in which NGOs actively participate “are less ambitious compared to the public standard.” The paper also claims that NGOs such as Pesticide Action Network (PAN), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which publicly support multi-stakeholder initiatives, risk contributing to ‘greenwashing’ corporate conduct by encouraging public support for standards which fall behind existing public regulation on organic certification.

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