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Side Event

Ecosystem restoration on cotton fields – bringing environmental and economic interests together

Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. (German Environment Aid) together with C&A and Cotton Connect

Date and Time
19 October 2012 13:15 - 14:45

Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 11)

The side event presents the successful project “Cotton Connect”, an initiative engaged in ecosystem restoration without GMO and pesticides offering organic cotton and supporting the Better Cotton Initiative, in cooperation with the world´s leading organic cotton clothing retailer C&A and its German NGO-partner DUH. At the same time, this project shows how companies can cooperate with organisations/NGOs jointly aiming to protect biodiversity. The cultivation of cotton is known to have many adverse impacts on biodiversity due to the high usage of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Moreover, recent developments encourage the use of GM seeds and the crop is grown in monocultures; practices that are highly questionable. Many campaigns such as the initiative by Vandana Shiva and others have demonstrated the fatal consequences of the above mentioned practices for biodiversity and small farmers. We offer an alternative and will present Cotton Connect’s role in the global cotton growth and its role in supporting organic cotton cultivation that entails an increase in biodiversity due to the abstention from industrial fertilizers, chemicals and GM seeds as well as the usage of traditional varieties of cotton seeds. Since the establishment of the Cotton Connect initiative, many environmental and biodiversity benefits from organic cotton farming are observed and we are continuously engaged in reducing pesticides and tackle the issue of water use. This work is supported locally, i.e. in India leading producer groups, academics, companies and NGOs are undertaking collaborative work to develop alternatives to GM seeds. C&A is especially interested in the sustainability of the entire supply chain and is therefore highly engaged in the availability of good quality and diverse organic seeds. On the side event we highly encourage discussion and questions from all participants to in the future adapt our program and to increase and conserve biodiversity in the long term.