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Introduction

Developed by the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), the Regenerative Cotton Standard® (RCS) is a voluntary standard for cotton grown by small-scale farmers using regenerative farming methods.
RCS aims to improve the overall resilience and productivity of small-scale farming while adding value to farmland, rural communities, the biosphere, and the quality of life of farm animals.
To achieve these aims, RCS targets the entire production system rather than only the cotton itself.

Regenerative Agriculture

The idea of regenerative agriculture is not new and has been subject to different definitions. The Aid by Trade Foundation’s RCS defines it as follows:

Actively creating co-benefits in interaction between nature, people, society, and the economy, bringing agricultural systems into a better state than they are currently in.

Responsible Management forms the basis to enable transformation towards community-supported regeneration. To achieve and verify this, it is key to combine suitable and available traditional knowledge and farming approaches with scientific insights and state-of-the-art digital technology.

What is in scope of RCS?

RCS focusses on farm-level outcome indicators. It includes all arable land on which cotton could be grown as part of a crop rotation as well as any livestock on the farms. The Managing Entity carries a high level of responsibility to involve, organise and train RCS-associated farmers and to create the preconditions for enabling a transformation towards regenerative farming. This includes established management and social criteria which have already made Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) a successful and credible standard. Respecting and amplifying traditional knowledge, combining this traditional knowledge with today’s state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, and involving the farming communities’ views during prioritisation and implementation are core factors within most operative criteria.

Assurance

The Managing Entity must deliver information for a thorough baseline and use the Continuous Regeneration Plan as a strategic planning document. Regular checks will be performed independent verification bodies to guarantee the reliability of the standard and to verify whether RCS-associated farmers meet the standard’s criteria. The responsible Managing Entity will then receive a Regenerative Cotton Standard certificate.

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Interview – Cotton Farming in India

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Press Release

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Fact Sheet

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Regenerative Cotton Standard

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Code of Conduct

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