The retail giant IKEA is working harder to decrease its environmental footprint and to benefit the workers at the far reaches of its supply chain. The company recently announced that by the end of 2015, it will only purchase cotton that complies with standards set by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). This change came as a result of the UNDP’s support of the Business Call to Action (BCtA), a campaign that works to help businesses shift towards practices that benefit global development.
BCI, founded by a group of companies including IKEA, works to ensure that cotton grown around the world is grown in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Additionally, they prioritize fair trade practices so that the workers who grow the cotton itself are fairly compensated and enjoy a higher quality of life. By reducing the number of pesticides and decreasing the costs of external waste products, the income of cotton farmers can actually increase.
IKEA currently buys more cotton than any other commodity except wood. Today, only 34 percent of that cotton complies with BCI standards. Over the next three years, IKEA seeks to complete its transition to 100 percent BCI-approved cotton, with the goal of guaranteeing sustainable cotton at an affordable price—ideally the same price as any other cotton.
– Jake Simon