LONDON – An on-going review by the Better Cotton Initiative into its cotton sourcing activities in the Xinjiang region of China has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and won't be published until at least October 2020.
The BCI suspended all licencing activities in the region back in March after widespread allegations that the local ethnic Uighur population was being forced to manufacture cotton goods in Xinjiang prisons. It's a region that BCI relies on for around 20 per cent of its ‘better cotton’.
BCI had initially planned to share key recommendations from an external review (by an unnamed organisation) on cotton sourcing in Xinjiang this month (July), along with the findings of a separate ‘Task Force’ which has a global remit to look at improvements in the Better Cotton Standard System overall.
However, the global pandemic has scuppered these plans and a remote external investigation is now underway instead.
“Travel constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have interrupted the Task Force’s meeting schedule, requiring more video conferencing spread out over a longer period,” said the organisation. “The timeline to communicate these recommendations has, therefore, been revised, and they will now be shared in October 2020.”