IITOCHU Corporation announced that the expansion of the Pre Organic Cotton (POC) program jointly run with kurkku Co Ltd been approved as an initiative of the Business Call to Action (BCtA). BCtA is a global initiative hosted at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which promotes businesses aimed at achieving both commercial success and sustainable development.
ITOCHU and kurkku have pledged that by joining BCtA they will expand the POC program, which helps farmers in India to shift to organic cotton production, improving their income, health and the environment. As a result of the POC program, by 2015 chemical-free farmland is expected to expand to approximately 30,000 acres, increasing the crop yields of pre-organic cotton to 5,000 tons and the number of farming families growing pre-organic cotton up 6,000 from the present. The BCtA stated, “The POC program makes it possible for farmers in India to transition to organic cotton production by guaranteeing to purchase the cotton yields during the three-year organic conversion process.”
ITOCHU and kurkku will use their membership to the BCtA as the driving force to expand the POC program, helping more farmers to reach higher standards of living while also reducing environmental degradation. The POC program was typically supported by consumers with a high level of awareness of environmental problems. Membership to the BCtA is expected to increase international recognition of the program and make pre-organic cotton more likely to be adopted by a wider array of customers, including major retailers and apparel companies in Europe and the United States.
In Japan, ITOCHU and kurkku also collaborate with educational institutions and organizations to raise awareness about the socio-economic and environmental benefits of organic cotton farming. Additionally, the companies aim to promote use of pre-organic cotton for employee uniforms, which encourages businesses to further take part in the POC program.
The Pre Organic Cotton program was launched in 2007 as a joint project between ITOCHU Corporation and kurkku Co., Ltd., which is represented by Takeshi Kobayashi, a music producer.