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Biodiversity Knowledge Partner 
with Better Cotton

Creating a development and implementation model for delivery of Better Cotton's biodiversity principles and criteria: 

innovation project in Pakistan. 

Fashion & cotton

Fashion's environmental impact starts at the farm level where raw materials are grown and cultivated for clothing. Climate change and intensive agricultural practices have led to a decrease in biodiversity in farmlands. Pilio's work in sustainable fashion has involved looking at opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and improve biodiversity in natural fibre landscapes. We have put much of our focus on cotton, the most used natural fibre and a large global cash crop. In our holistic approach to addressing sustainable cotton, we have become a knowledge partner of Better Cotton.


Who are Better Cotton?

The world's leading initiative dedicated to enhancing the sustainability of global cotton production. Better Cotton provides training and assistance for 2.5 million farmers globally to implement their standard principles and criteria aimed to minimise the ecological footprint of cotton farming while simultaneously improving the well-being of cotton farmers and their communities. Core to the third iteration of their standard, Better Cotton's key biodiversity priorities are land degradation, high conservation value areas, and riparian zones. 

Better Cotton Growth & Innovation Fund 

The Fund was established in 2022 to enable engagement with external companies to address implementation of sustainable cotton farming. The Fund focuses on building farmer capacity and ensuring practices in line with Better Cotton's six Principles and Criteria: crop protection, sustainable livelihoods, natural resources, decent work, management, fibre quality.

Cotton & Biodiversity
in Pakistan

Pakistan is the 6th largest producer of cotton globally, mainly grown at smallholder farms deeply rooted to the local area and associated biodiversity. Biodiversity provides a range of ecosystem services for farmers including pollination and pest control, but it is facing a decline in Pakistan. Climate change has put pressure on habitats that can no longer support some species, and intensive farming practices have led to use of harsh chemicals and left little space for nature.

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Our knowledge partner project

In collaboration with SAMA^Verte and WWF Pakistan, Pilio are completing a multi-year project through the Fund to create a model for developing and implementing biodiversity enhancement plans in cotton growing communities. This will aim to inform how Better Cotton can achieve its criteria and protocols for biodiversity, core to their natural resources principle. The project is focused on Pakistan where Better Cotton have nearly 500,000 licensed farmers. 

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“The project proposed by Pilio and SAMA^Verte will address biodiversity loss in Pakistan. The Fund was particularly attracted by the project’s innovative approach for creating a model for the development and implementation of biodiversity enhancement plans involving the whole community, rather than just farmers; its thoughtful design, in terms of creating opportunities to incorporate learnings at many points throughout the project; and the project team itself, a great blend of researchers and people who have a deep understanding of the project context.”

Cristina Martin Cuadrado,

Programme Manager, Better Cotton

Our conceptual framework

We are taking an inclusive approach to the project, working closely with farming communities to ensure that the biodiversity principles and criteria of Better Cotton produce the desirable outcome while being sustainable and feasible for the communities. We will pair local community knowledge and practice with scientific macro understanding. Developed closely with SAMA^Verte, our framework has 4 key focus areas:

mapping, landscape & biodiversity features, windows of vitality, and experiments. 

The Pilio & SAMA^Verte learning model for nature recovery:

A diagram of our conceptual framework for this project

Stay in the loop.

In this first year we are designing biodiversity plans across 3 Better Cotton Learning Groups, which are local groups of farmers. We are gaining understanding and tailoring the plans to specific local context while also designing with scaleability in mind for rollout across more Better Cotton Pakistan farmers in years 2 and 3 of the project. Keep up with our project updates on our blog.

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