We are committed to reviewing the Better Cotton Standard at least once every 5 years. This is a unique opportunity to integrate feedback from all of our various stakeholders in to the Standard. Importantly, the process will maintain the Better Cotton Standard’s relevance to sustainability challenges in the cotton sector. The revision process gives opportunities to the general public and membership to contribute to the way in which the Better Cotton Standard evolves.
As an ISEAL Full Member, BCI also follows the ISEAL Code for Setting Social and Environmental Standards, ensuring that the Standard is reviewed regularly and following recognised good practices.
In keeping with these commitments, in January 2015 the BCI Council approved the proposal to launch a formal review of BCI’s Standard. This revision process provides an exciting opportunity to incorporate improvements to the Standard that will enhance BCI’s ability to reach its mission and strengthen the credibility of the overall Better Cotton Standard System.
The revision of the Standard is led by the BCI Standard and Assurance team, supported by a Standard Revision Committee.
The process affects various stakeholders who are part of the BCI system implementation and use the Principles and Criteria (P&C) and related documents to implement more sustainable farming practices.
- Farmers: Smallholders, Medium Farms and Large Farms define their continuous improvement plan and undertake annual self-assessment on BCI minimum and improvement requirements. They are therefore directly concerned by any change brought to the P&C.
- Implementing Partners: They enable cotton farmers to grow Better Cotton by supporting Producer Units in conducting their activities, carrying out Second Party Credibility Checks on Producers Units (including the preparation of corrective actions), and sharing best practices with BCI, also in line with the P&C.
- Country Managers/Strategic Partners: They are the front-line implementers of BCI system. They are not only in charge of carrying out Second Party Credibility Checks, but they also review Producer Unit self-assessment, support 3rd party verification process, prepare corrective action plans for Implementing Partners/Producer Units. Their work will be significantly impacted by any change in current version.
- Independent Verifiers: It is part of their duty to independently assess a Producer Unit or Large Farm’s performance against BCI requirements. They will have to make adjustments to their verification processes according to the new version of the P&C.
- BCI Members and other stakeholders: The P&C are the basis of the BCI sustainability production system, and due to this, their revision and the changes they will bring will have a significant impact on this group of advocates. Members will be sensitive to the way standards are revised, ensuring sustainability objectives are maintained.
Two rounds of public consultation will be conducted to ensure that all stakeholders who have an interest in the P&C revision have the opportunity to comment on revised drafts.
The Standard Setting and Revision Committee (SSRC) supports the revision of the Standard by discussing modalities and intensity of changes to be brought to P&C and prepare drafts for stakeholder consultations.
Ultimately, the BCI Council will assess the final draft drawn up by the Committee and approve the revised version of the P&C.