BMP Manual Enhancement (Commissioned)
The Australian cotton industry has had in place since 1997 a voluntary environmental management system - its Best Management Practice (BMP) Program - that has successfully overcome the limitations of a purely regulatory approach to natural resource management. The BMP Program focuses on the management of pesticides and petrochemicals, soil and water, and native vegetation.
The industry is looking to build on the success of the BMP Program, and is in the process of negotiating for it to provide an alternative means for cotton farmers to comply with any existing or new regulations governing how land and water is managed in Queensland.
Reviews of the BMP Program and of its outcomes highlight that it has led to a decline in pesticides used on cotton farms, a decline in pesticides found in riverine environments, improved stormwater management, improved farm management and a reduction in the regulatory burden on cotton farmers This paper will outline the structure of the cotton industry's BMP Program, highlighting the factors that have been critical to its success, including a detailed discussion on the rationale behind the partnership approach, between the industry and regulators, seen as necessary to achieve inground change. The paper will then touch on the benefits the Australian cotton industry sees in working with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on its 'Better Cotton initiative.