A few years ago, Bedding House created a policy to make a positive contribution to a better and sustainable future. This awareness is taking shape more and more, both within and outside the company. We chose to focus on the following three P’s: Product – People – Packaging.
In 2017 we took the first important steps in respect of the first P, Product. Our activities were mainly aimed at making cotton more sustainable by joining the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) of which we became member in 2016. We are also committed to make things better for those who work in and for our organisation, this is the second P, People. The Better Cotton Initiative not only insures our product goals but also supervises the work conditions of the people who work for our company. In addition, we are increasingly aware of the adverse effects of plastic on our planet, third P, Packaging. In this way we are continuously optimising our contribution while remaining committed to our three P’s.
There is no need to realise this all at once. However, we do want both consumers and our business partners to understand the route we have chosen to follow. It is, however, our goal that others follow this route as well, which is something we can do together. After all, you cannot build a responsible world by yourself. We want to realise a growth in business but with only half the impact on the environment and surrounding area. And in doing so, we will make our conscious efforts more visible in the years to come.
The BCI is an organisation through which various large parties from the textile industry have committed themselves to the responsible production of cotton. In collaboration with carefully chosen parties, the BCI is involved with the implementation of new production ways at cotton farmer level. They do this by means of various training courses in the field. BCI also manages a reward system for participating cotton farmers based on their performance which motivates them to keep on improving their business practices. Bedding House has been a partner of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) since 2016. The BCI works with a wide range of stakeholders, who connect people and organisations in the cotton industry. From the cotton field to the product in the shop, to encourage measurable and continuous improvements for the environment, agricultural communities and the economies of cotton producing countries.
The BCI wants to transform the worldwide cotton production by developing so called Better Cotton as a sustainable and commonly used material. By 2020, the Better Cotton Initiative will have reached more than 5 million farmers and more than 30% of the worldwide cotton production.
The focal points of Better Cotton Initiative are:
- To minimise the use of pesticides and insecticides
- An efficient use of water
- A good use and regeneration of land
- To preserve the natural diversity
- To educate and reward the cotton farmers in accordance with their performance
The community of BCI stakeholders is rapidly growing. In the 2015 - 2016 season, 12% of all the cotton produced globally was licensed as Better Cotton. By 2020, BCI is aiming for this figure to be 30%.
The BCI uses a chain of custody model called Mass Balance. Mass Balance functions much like renewable energy. If you purchase renewable energy credits, a power line is not run, from say, a wind farm directly to your house. Rather, the credits are proof that a certain amount of renewable energy has been added to the existing power grid. By committing to sourcing Better Cotton, brand members can be assured that they are supporting more sustainable cotton production regardless of where that cotton ends up.
Why the BCI?
- The Mass Balance principle ensures that you can achieve results faster and that you can scale-up faster.
- The difference lies at the source: The BCI starts with transformation of the cotton sector starting by the cotton farmers, which is the only way to approach this raw material as a commodity.
- The BCI not only focuses on more sustainable cotton but also focuses on improving the life of cotton farmers and their children.
Cotton is arguably the world’s most important natural fiber. Nearly everyone on earth comes into contact with cotton on a daily basis. Around 40% of the total textiles production can be addressed to the production of cotton. The majority of the Bedding House products is also made of natural materials. Cotton is the main resource for our products, 90% is made of cotton. Cotton is considered a highly contaminating agricultural product. However, using conventional cotton can have a negative environmental impact, resulting in cotton farmers, their families and the environment being harmed. The main challenges in cotton production are child labour, the use of pesticides, soil depletion, smallholder poverty, the loss of habitat and water management. The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is committed to a more environmentally-friendly cotton production. Bedding House has been a BCI member since 2016. In this way, Bedding House commits to improve the conditions in the cotton supply chain to a more sustainable way of sourcing cotton.
Many people think of waste separation, the planting of greenery and driving electrically when they hear the term sustainability. There is one key factor here, namely the human factor. Our staff is motivated to share their thoughts on sustainability and to act accordingly. Bedding House also supports various projects in the countries where the production takes place and has done so for quite some time. In this respect we also support the women and children involved in cotton production via our participation in the BCI. In addition, it is the policy of the BCI to support male/female emancipation and the education of women and children. The support of women in cotton production has a multitude of effects; it strengthens their self-confidence and their position within their families and the community. As women, in general, spend 90% of their income on their families, it will help families save for health care and child education. The BCI is currently collaborating with 40,560 female farmers worldwide. However, it is often the case that female workers in the cotton industry are less skilled (seasonal or part-time employment) which gives them less job security than men. Female workers worldwide are more likely to receive low wages and (on average) 25% to 30% less reward than men for exactly the same work. In collaboration with a local partner in Afghanistan, the BCI supported projects where women received guidance on how to run their own cotton farms independently.
Bedding House is against any type of child labour. We visit our factories on a regular basis to see this with our own eyes. And also our Bedding House employees in our the production countries check this at any time, that no children are working on the production of our bed textiles.
Nowadays, consumers are far more aware of the consequences of environmental pollution than before. Increasingly more measures are taken to counter environmental pollution. One of the big players in pollution is plastic. Everybody knows that plastic is harmful to the environment, but why? And if it is so harmful, why do we keep using it for so many different purposes each and every day? Is there a way to ensure that plastic will not adversely affect the environment? We, as Bedding House, spend a lot of thought on these questions to ensure a better environment.
What is PVC and why is it so burdensome on the environment?
PVC is short for polyvinyl chloride. PVC is made of chemicals and is not biodegradable. PVC can’t be reused. What makes PVC so harmful are ‘plasticisers’ which over time become smaller and smaller until eventually absorbed by the soil or surface water. It is our objective to package all products PVC-free by 2020. In this way we prevent the harmful effects our packaging may have on the welfare of animals and the environment. In order to reduce the usage of PVC we’ve initiated several projects.
We are definitely heading in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.