For a better; People & Environment & Future…

BCI brings together producers, ginners, mills, traders, manufacturers, retailers, brands and civil society organisations in a unique global partnership to transform cotton production and to secure the future of the sector.

BCI aims to create long-term change in and around cotton fields all over the world by helping farmers to grow cotton in a way that reduces stress on the local environment and improves the livelihoods and welfare of farming communities.

BCI exists with a mission to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.

The aim is to create long-term change in and around cotton fields on a global scale by giving farmers the skills and know-how to produce Better Cotton, a new mainstream category of cotton grown in way that reduces stress on the local environment and improves the livelihoods and welfare of farming communities.

Our aim by supporting BCI is to help global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the future of cotton sector.

Key services include the provision of:

  • An identifiable Better Cotton bale of lint cotton, ensuring segregation
  • Between farm and gin.
  • Analysed global and regional impact data.
  • Implementation tools and learning activities
  • Reputation and brand Management (for BCI and Better Cotton)
  • Networks that help members build new partnerships across public, private and not-for-profit sectors

Benefits and services for BCI members

Tools and resources to accelerate progress

  • Online members portal, with access to up-to date information relating to BCI and the wider cotton sector as well as online membership forums and working groups
  • Success stories and farm level data that demonstrate change
  • External communication support materials, including presentations and photo libraries
  • Business Case fact sheets for different audiences
  • Project maps and videos and images from the field
  • Best practice case studies from peers
  • Support material for internal engagement and capacity building

Practical knowledge

  • Direct access to sources of Better Cotton
  • News, research and existing good practices relevant to Better Cotton and more sustainable cotton production
  • Collated public market information
  • Regular updates on the market for Better Cotton

Being part of a global network

  • Access to expertise and knowledge on cotton from peers and the BCI Secretariat and advisory committee
  • Option to join supply chain working group on how to secure procurement of Better Cotton
  • Option to join communications working group on how to communicate about BCI and Better Cotton
  • Communicate externally as a group representing the wider interests relating to cotton

What does membership involve?
BCI members can participate in BCI in a variety of ways depending on the type of organization, their position in the cotton supply chain, their specific objectives and the resources they have available. All members commit to active participation in the development of the BCI system to help enable a mass market transformation.
Type of member organisation and the meaning of membership committing to:

Retailers and brands;

  • Sourcing or promoting the sourcing of increased volumes of Better Cotton in to supply chains.
  • Providing support for Farmers – including, but not restricted to, specific financial contributions beyond the basic membership fee.
  • Working with suppliers to actively promote the use of Better Cotton

Suppliers and manufacturers (Financial institutions, Mills, spinners etc., Cotton traders, Ginners);

  • Sourcing or promoting the uptake of Better Cotton up and down the supply chain.
  • Providing support for farmers – which could involve facilitating promotion of BCI farm level activities, supporting activities to assist farmers and farming communities or taking on the role of Implementing Partner.

Producer organisations;

  • Participating in the development of the BCI system to help enable tangible change in the field.
  • Achievement of basic standards and commitment to continuous improvement – in support of BCI’s Production Principles and Criteria.
  • Undertaking BCI assessment and reporting requirements.
  • Promote the Better Cotton System amongst producers and other interested parties.

Civil society;

  • Participating in the development of the BCI system to help enable a tangible change in the field.
  • Taking on the role of Implementing Partner if appropriate.
  • Representing the interests of the global civil society, disadvantaged groups, minority groups and the environment.

Associate members;

  • Promoting the BCI within its sphere of influence.
  • Providing technical support or financial support for farmer activities when appropriate

In the first year, 68,000 farmers from Brazil, India, Mali and Pakistan collaborated with BCI, cultivating 245,000 hectares and producing around 35,000 MTBetter Cotton. By 2012 the goal is for 100,000 farmers to produce 300,000 MT Better Cotton lint. Total world production in 2010/11 was estimated at around 25 million MT.

How does BCI work?
BCI’s approach is to work with partners to enable the supply ofBetter Cotton and stimulate marketplace demand. Success is measured by both the positive change created at field level and the USEOF Better Cotton on a global scale.

Success means:

  • Farmers that are better off, especially in financial terms.
  • Cotton grown without putting undue pressure on fresh water supplies.
  • No damage done to human and environmental health.
  • Thriving biodiversity in and around cotton farming communities.
  • Healthy soils that support healthy crops.
  • Farmers and workers that benefit from decent working conditions.

What is being achieved?
For many years, WWF has run cotton projects in India and Pakistan. They implement practices similar to those required by BCI. In 2010 two projects that joined the BCI for the first season ofgrowing Better Cotton had already achieved the following successes:

  • Pakistan (2009): an average 47% reduction in pesticide use, 40% reduction in fertiliser use and 39% lower water use, while gross margins increased by 11%.
  • India (2009): 58% pesticide reduction, 5 % fertiliser reductions, 69% lower water usage and 28% increase in gross margins.