Why doesn’t BCI require physical traceability? Isn’t it important to know where our cotton comes from?

BCI believes that it is very important to know where all our products, including cotton, come from. We also know the reality of the complex textile supply chain.

When you buy a food product such as a banana or a bag of sugar, it is very similar to its state in nature. When you buy a pair of jeans, they look nothing like the cotton plant in the field. They have gone through many stages of transformation. Therefore, establishing a system of full physical traceability from cotton plant, to bale, to yarn, to denim fabric to jeans takes time.

We are giving the textile industry the time it needs to make physical traceability a reality. We are considering introducing physical traceability throughout the entire supply chain in 2016 as an option. Until then we will work with a system that continues to incentivise procurement and use of Better Cotton (see Mass-Balance Q&A above) to develop Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. Though it is important for us as consumers to know where our cotton comes from, it is even more important to know that farmers, the environment and the industry as a whole benefitted from its cultivation at scale – a claim we can make without (costly) physical traceability.