Social, Environmental & Economic Performance of Cotton (SEEP)

arrowDocuments arrowInterpretative Summary of the Study on Pesticide use in cotton in Australia, Brazil, India, Turkey and the USA.

The decision to create an Expert Panel on the Social Environmental and Economic Performance of Cotton (SEEP) grew out of information provided during the 65th Plenary Meeting in Brazil, in September 2006, that there is a perception that agricultural production, including cotton production, can lead to degradation of soil and water, exposure of workers to harmful chemicals, and that there are areas of disagreement, confusion or uncertainty regarding the impact of cotton production on the environment, and other negative factors. It is also apparent that there is not agreement on how to measure progress in achieving sustainability goals, and there is little baseline information available about world cotton production from which to judge empirically the performance of the industry at this time.

During the 485th Meeting of the Standing Committee in Washington DC, in November 2006, the Standing Committee approved the general Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel on SEEP:

1. Provide the ICAC with objective, science-based information on the negative and positive social, environmental and economic aspects of global cotton production;

2. Gather information from around the world on costs of agricultural labor and the factors that affect those costs to assess their impacts on the social performance of cotton; and

3. Make recommendations for further action as appropriate to improve the social, environmental and economic performance of the cotton industry.

The Expert Panel now includes a balanced mix of eighteen members with knowledge of value to the work of the SEEP. The members represent a broad cross section of subject matter knowledge and interest, not only from the traditional cotton industry, but from universities and government agencies.

Members of SEEP met for the first time in Lubbock TX, in September 2007. Members are conferring by email and conference call, and will report to the next Plenary Meeting.

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