China has come up with The Weilai Cotton (Future Cotton) project! This is an attempt to fight against forced labour allegations surrounding its cotton industry.
The industry is looking at China’s own version of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).
Notably, the Weilai Cotton has been developed by cotton vertical service provider Zhongnong Guoji over the last two years.
Now the same is top priority of China’s textile industry as China Fashion Association and the Modern Seeds Development Fund come forward to support this project.
South China Morning Post has quoted Zhao Yan, a coordinator for the initiative, that the mounting international backlash against Xinjiang cotton has helped crystallise the project.
He further added that “We have been living with Switzerland’s standards (BCI) for years, but the country doesn’t even produce cotton. Now it is time to form our own national standards.”
The project has recruited 32 members in Xinjiang, as well as some domestic fashion brands, according to Luo Yan, Secretary General, Xinjiang Digital Cotton Research Center, who took part in the early preparation of the project and helped with recruiting members in Xinjiang.
It is being said that the recent international hostility toward Xinjiang cotton has accelerated the project, which is expected to demonstrate a ‘national aspiration’ at this ‘crucial moment’.
The Switzerland-based BCI, which sets the global standard for cotton industries and certifies cotton farms worldwide, announced last year that it was ceasing all operations in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region amidst accusations of forced labour there.