About Better Cotton

Cotton is a globally important and widely grown crop. Approximately 250 million people’s livelihoods are dependent on cotton in the production stages alone. For millions of people, often in some of the world’s poorest countries, cotton is a vital link to the global economy.

Cotton is used by nearly every single person on the planet on a daily basis. It is a renewable natural resource, but the future of cotton production is vulnerable to environmental degradation, poor working conditions and unstable markets. From improper use of pesticides, to low incomes and even child labour, there are many ways in which improvements need to be made. In 2005, a group of visionary organisations came together to develop a practical solution that would secure the sustainable future of the industry. The result was Better Cotton.

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) brings together farmers, ginners, traders, spinners, mills, cut & sew, manufacturers, retailers, brands, civil society and grassroots organisations in a unique global community committed to developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.

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 aims to create long-term change.

It is a global approach that provides a solution for the mainstream cotton industry, including both smallholders and large scale farmers. All farmers can benefit from implementing the Better Cotton Standard and the development of a new and more sustainable mainstream commodity, Better Cotton.

Hear from cotton farmers themselves in our Stories from the Field.

BCI Farmer Results

BCI Farmer Results provide an overview of the outcomes BCI Farmers are experiencing at field-level by participating in the BCI programme and adhering to the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria (P&C). Adhering to the Better Cotton P&C enables BCI Farmers to produce cotton in a way that is measurably better for people, the environment and farming communities.

Understanding BCI Farmer Results

Data from all BCI medium and large farms is collected. For smallholders, a sampling approach is used that includes the collection of data from a large representative sample of learning groups that are randomly selected by BCI on a yearly basis at the end of the season.

Communicating BCI Farmer Results

Farm results must not be manipulated in any way. Averaging farm results across different geographies undermines the credibility of the data. Should you wish to use results to support your storytelling, please contact the Communications Team who will help you craft your Better Cotton story in a way that maintains the integrity of the data.

BCI Farmer Results 2016-17

The infographics below illustrate farmer results from five countries where the Better Cotton Standard System was implemented in the 2016-17 cotton season. The results show social, environmental and economic outcomes. Download PDF.

 

BCI Farmer Results 2015-16

Download PDF.

Better Cotton Leaderboard 2018

In 2018 we moved closer to reaching our 2020 goal – Better Cotton accounting for 30% of global cotton production – and BCI Members contributed significantly to this progress. We saw a historic level of uptake*, as 92 BCI Retailer and Brand Members sourced more than one million metric tonnes of Better Cotton and spinners sourced 1.7 million metric tonnes.

Many Retailer and Brand Members have public targets to source more sustainable cotton. At the end of 2018, 46 members had announced public targets to source 100% of their cotton more sustainably by a set date. Because of BCI’s demand-driven funding model, retailer and brand sourcing of Better Cotton directly translates to increased investment in training for cotton farmers on more sustainable practices.

While all BCI Members are contributing to the sustainable future of cotton, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the 2018 Better Cotton leaders.

*Uptake refers to the sourcing and purchasing of more sustainable cotton in a supply chain. By ‘sourcing cotton as Better Cotton,’ BCI is referring to the action taken by members when they place orders for cotton-containing products. It does not refer to the cotton present in the finished product. BCI uses a chain of custody model called Mass Balance whereby volumes of Better Cotton are tracked on an online sourcing platform. Better Cotton may be mixed with or replaced by conventional cotton in its journey from field to product, however, the volumes of Better Cotton claimed by members on the online platform never exceeds the volumes physically procured by spinners and traders.

 

Top 15 Retailer and Brand Members by Sourcing Volumes

In 2018, 92 out of 102 BCI Retailer and Brand Members sourced a record breaking 1,064,421 metric tonnes of Better Cotton. Sourcing cotton as Better Cotton requires commitment from retailers and brands and it can take time to incorporate Better Cotton into sustainable sourcing strategies and processes. Therefore not all retailer and brand members were able to contribute to the uptake of Better Cotton in 2018.

The following retailers and brands are the top 15 (in descending order) based on their total Better Cotton sourcing volumes.

Members are listed in order of sourcing volumes.

Rank Retailer and Brand Member Joined BCI
1 Hennes & Mauritz AB 2010
2 Ikea Supply AG 2010
3 Gap Inc. 2016
4 adidas AG 2010
5 Nike, Inc. 2010
6 Levi Strauss & Co. 2010
7 C&A AG 2015
9 PVH Corp. (Tommy Hilfiger ) 2017 (2013)*
8 VF Corporation 2012
10 Bestseller 2011
11 DECATHLON SA 2012
12 Target Corporation 2017
13 Marks and Spencer PLC 2010
14 Tesco 2010
15 OVS Spa 2016

All of the organisations listed above have also announced public targets to source more sustainable materials by a set date.

*Tommy Hilfiger became a member in 2013.  PVH Corp took over and consolidated BCI membership for all its brands (including Tommy Hilfiger) in 2017.

Retailer and Brand Members Sourcing at Least 90% of Their Cotton as Better Cotton

For some retailers and brands, Better Cotton accounts for a substantial proportion of their more sustainable cotton portfolio. The following retailers and brands sourced at least 90% of their cotton as Better Cotton in 2018.

Members are listed in alphabetical order.

Retailer and Brand Member Joined BCI
1 adidas AG 2010
2 HEMA B.V. 2014
3 Stadium AB 2011

Retailer and Brand Members Sourcing at Least 75% of Their Cotton as Better Cotton

For some retailers and brands, Better Cotton accounts for a substantial proportion of their more sustainable cotton portfolio. The following retailers and brands sourced at least 75% of their cotton as Better Cotton in 2018.

Members are listed in alphabetical order.

Retailer and Brand Member Joined BCI
1 adidas AG 2010
2 DECATHLON SA 2012
3 Fat Face Ltd. 2016
4 HEMA B.V. 2014
5 Hennes & Mauritz AB 2010
6 Ikea Supply AG 2010
7 Stadium AB 2011

Fastest Movers by Increased Sourcing Volumes

In 2018 these retailers and brands increased the volume of cotton they sourced as Better Cotton by at least 20 percentage points compared to 2017. For example a member moving from sourcing 10% of their cotton as Better Cotton in 2017 to sourcing 60% in 2018 would be an increase of 50 percentage points.

Members are listed in alphabetical order.

Retailer and Brand Member Joined BCI
1 Benetton S.r.l. 2017
2 Burberry Ltd 2015
3 Fatface Ltd 2016
4 GANT AB 2017
5 Gap Inc. 2016
6 HEMA BV 2014
7 La Redoute 2016
8 Marimekko 2013
9 Nike Inc. 2010
10 Olymp Bezner KG 2018
11 Peak Performance 2014
12 PVH Corp. 2017
13 Stadium AB 2011

All Retailer and Brand Members Sourcing Cotton as Better Cotton

As noted above, in 2018, 92 out of 102 BCI Retailer and Brand Members sourced a record breaking 1,064,421 metric tonnes of Better Cotton. Sourcing cotton as Better Cotton requires commitment from retailers and brands and it can take time to incorporate Better Cotton into sustainable sourcing strategies and processes. Therefore not all retailer and brand members were able to contribute to the uptake of Better Cotton in 2018. This is the list of all retailer and brand members that were able to contribute.

Members are listed in alphabetical order.

Retailer and Brand Member Joined BCI
1 adidas AG 2010
2 Adler Modemarkte AG 2015
3 Åhlens AB 2012
4 ALDI International Services GmbH & Co. oHG 2017
5 American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. 2015
6 Arcadia Group Ltd. 2014
7 Aritzia LP 2017
8 ASOS 2014
9 BabyBjorn AB 2014
10 Beaumanoir Groupe (Bonobo) 2016
11 Beddinghouse BV 2016
12 Benetton Group S.r.l. 2017
13 Bestseller 2011
14 Björn Borg Clothing AB 2017
15 Burberry Ltd 2015
16 C&A AG 2015
17 Carhartt WIP 2017
18 Coolinvestments Group 2018
19 Coop Genossenschaft 2016
20 Cotton On Group 2016
21 DECATHLON SA 2012
22 DK Company A/S 2017
23 El Corte Inglés 2018
24 Ellos AB 2015
25 Essity (formerly SCA Hygiene AB) 2017
26 Etn. Fr. Colruyt NV 2017
27 Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. 2016
28 Fat Face Ltd. 2016
29 GANT AB 2017
30 Gap Inc. 2016
31 Gina Tricot AB 2011
32 G-Star RAW C.V. 2015
33 HEMA B.V. 2014
34 Hemtex AB 2010
35 Hennes & Mauritz AB 2010
36 HUGO BOSS AG 2017
37 IdKIds Sas 2016
38 Ikea Supply AG 2010
39 Inditex 2011
40 J Crew Inc. (J Crew and Madewell) 2016
41 John Lewis 2013
42 Just Brands B.V. 2016
43 KappAhl Sverige AB 2010
44 Kathmandu (together Kathmandu Ltd., Kathmandu Pty Limited, Kathmandu (U.K.) Limited) 2015
45 KID Interior AS 2016
46 Kmart Australia Ltd / Anko International Ltd. 2017
47 Levi Strauss & Co. 2010
48 Lindex AB 2010
49 Lojas Renner S. A. 2017
50 Marimekko Corporation 2013
51 Marks and Spencer PLC 2010
52 Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) 2017
53 MQ Holding AB 2011
54 New Look Retailers Ltd. 2016
55 Next Retail Ltd 2015
56 Nike, Inc. 2010
57 Nine & Co. 2018
58 No Ordinary Designer Label ltd (Ted Baker) 2016
59 OLYMP Bezner KG 2018
60 Orsay GmbH 2017
61 OVS Spa 2016
62 Peak Performance Production AB 2014
63 Princess-Gruppen AS 2017
64 Profuomo and Michaelis (Micro Fashion) 2018
65 PUMA SE 2016
66 PVH Corp. (Tommy Hilfiger) 2017
67 Ralph Lauren Corporation 2016
68 Rituals Cosmetics Enterprise BV 2017
69 Rusta AB 2018
70 Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd. 2010
71 Scotch & Soda 2018
72 Splash Gulf LLC, UAE 2017
73 Stadium AB 2011
74 Takko Holding GmbH 2018
75 Target Corporation 2017
76 Tesco 2010
77 Tom Tailor GmbH 2016
78 *Tonrose Ltd 2016
79 Varner Retail AS 2016
80 VF Corporation 2012
81 Waitrose Ltd. 2014
82 WE Europe BV 2015
83 Williams-Sonoma, Inc. 2015
84 Woolworths Holdings Limited 2014
85 Zeeman textielSupers B.V. 2013
86 Zalando 2017
87 – 92 Six members do not wish to appear in the list

*Tonrose is a Supplier and Manufacturer Member operating in the service sector.

Retailer and Brand Members with Public 100% Sustainable Cotton Targets

Many of our Retailer and Brand Members have public targets to source more sustainable materials by a set date. At the end of 2018, the following members had announced publicly that 100% of their cotton will be sourced more sustainably by a set date.

Members are listed by target year.

Retailer and Brand Member Target Year
1 Stadium AB 2017/2018
2 adidas AG 2018
3 Marks and Spencer Plc. 2019
4 Åhlens AB 2020
5 Björn Borg AB 2020
6 C&A AG 2020
7 DECATHLON SA 2020
8 Ellos AB 2020
9 Essity (formerly SCA Hygiene AB) 2020
10 Fatface Ltd 2020
11 G-Star RAW C-V 2020
12 Hennes & Mauritz AB 2020
13 HEMA BV 2020
14 Hemtex AB 2020
15 KappAhl Sverige AB 2020
16 Kathmandu (together Kathmandu Ltd., Kathmandu Pty Limited, Kathmandu (U.K.) Limited) 2020
17 KID Interior AS 2020
18 Kmart Australia Ltd / Anko International Ltd. 2020
19 Levi Strauss & Co. 2020
20 Lindex AB 2020
21 MQ Holding AB 2020
22 Nike, Inc. 2020
23 Okaidi (IDKids) 2020
24 OVS Spa 2020
25 Peak Performance Production AB 2020
26 Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd. 2020
27 PVH Corp (Tommy Hilfiger) 2020
28 VF Corporation (applies to non-US cotton) 2020
29 Waitrose 2020
30 Woolworths Holdings Limited 2020
31 Target Corporation 2020
32 Cotton On Group 2021
33 Esprit 2021
34 Gap Inc. 2021
35 Lojas Renner S. A. 2021
36 Rusta AB 2021
37 Williams-Sonoma, Inc. 2021
38 Bestseller 2022
39 Bonobo Planet 2022
40 Burberry Ltd. 2022
41 Benetton Group S.r.l. 2025
42 Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. 2025
43 La Redoute 2025
44 Scotch and Soda 2025
45 Tesco 2025
46 Gina Tricot AB 2028

Top 20 Cotton Merchants by Sourcing Volumes

These cotton merchants sourced the largest volumes of Better Cotton in 2018.

Merchants are listed in alphabetical order.

Merchant Country Joined BCI
Basil Group India 2012
Cargill Cotton Limited UK 2012
Changzhou Keteng Textile Co. Ltd China 2014
Cotton Distributors Incorporated Switzerland 2014
ECOM Switzerland 2010
Jess Smith & Sons Cotton, LLC USA 2015
Jiangsu Sinocot International Trade Co. Ltd. China 2015
Louis Dreyfus Company Switzerland 2012
Namoi Cotton Alliance Australia 2015
Niva Organics Private Limited India 2018
Olam International Singapore 2011
Om India Trading Company PVT. Ltd. India 2017
Paul Reinhart AG Switzerland 2012
Quarterway Cotton Growers LLC USA 2018
R.S. Cottmark (India) PVT. Ltd. India 2015
Spectrum International Prvt Ltd India 2013
Suzhou Hao Xue International Trade Co. Ltd. China 2017
Xiamen ITG Group Corp. Ltd. China 2018
Xinjiang Guomao Cotton Co. Ltd. China 2018
Xinjiang jiafeng cotton industry Co. Ltd. China 2018

Top 50 Mills by Sourcing Volumes

These mills sourced the largest volumes of Better Cotton in 2018.

Mills are listed in alphabetical order.

Mill Country  Joined BCI
AA Coarse Spun Ltd. Bangladesh 2016
Alkaram Textiles Pakistan 2013
Amber Group Bangladesh 2014
Ambika Cotton Mills Limited India 2015
Artistic Milliners Pakistan 2011
Arvind Limited India 2010
Bros Eastern Co. Ltd. China 2011
Celikaslan Tekstil San. ve Tic. A.Ş Turkey 2015
DBL Group Bangladesh 2013
Envoy Textiles Ltd. Bangladesh 2016
Erdem Tekstil Turkey 2013
Fazal Group Pakistan 2013
GMS Composite Knitting Ind. Ltd. Bangladesh 2017
Gul Ahmed Textile Mills Pakistan 2011
Henan  Xinye Textile Co. Ltd. China 2015
Huafu Fashion Co. Ltd. China 2015
Kipas Mensucat Isletmeleri A.Ş Turkey 2011
Loyal Textile Mills LTD. India 2013
Mahmood Group Pakistan 2011
Matam Fibre Mills Ltd. Bangladesh 2016
Menderes Tekstil Turkey 2012
Nahar Spinning Mills Ltd (Nahar Group) India 2012
Naveena Exports Pakistan 2010
Ningbo Shenzhou Knitting Co. Ltd. China 2015
Nishat Mills Ltd./Nishat Linen Pvt Ltd. Pakistan 2011
NITIN SPINNERS LTD. India 2014
Zaber & Zubair Fabrics Ltd. Bangladesh 2013
Norfil S/A Industria Textil Brazil 2014
P.T. Kahatex Indonesia 2014
Sapphire Group Pakistan 2013
Sintex Industries Limited (Yarn Division) India 2016
Square Textiles Limited Bangladesh 2013
Suraj Cotton Mills Limited. Pakistan 2015
Tainan Spinning Co., Ltd Vietnam 2016
Texhong Textile Group Ltd China 2013
Top Star Textiles China 2011
Trident Ltd. India 2011
Vardhman Textiles ltd. India 2011
Viyellatex Group Bangladesh 2012
WELSPUN INDIA LIMITED India 2014
Wugang Longshan Textile Technology Co. Ltd. China 2017
XinJiang Litai Silk Road Investment Co. Ltd. China 2016
Yuyue Home Textile Co. Ltd. China 2013
Interloop Ltd Pakistan 2013
Soorty Enterprises (Pvt.) Limited Pakistan 2011
US Denim Mills (Pvt) Ltd. Pakistan 2011
Far Eastern Industries (WuXi) LTD China 2012
Sunvim Group Co. Ltd  No. 2 Towel Company China 2015
*Two members do not wish to appear in this list

Top 10 Mills by Country

These mills sourced the largest volumes of Better Cotton in 2018.

Mills are listed in alphabetical order.

Bangladesh

Mills in Bangladesh Joined BCI
AA Coarse Spun Ltd. 2016
Amber Group 2014
Badsha Textiles Ltd. 2015
DBL Group 2013
Envoy Textiles Ltd. 2016
GMS Composite Knitting Ind. Ltd. 2017
Matam Fibre Mills Ltd. 2016
Zaber & Zubair Fabrics Ltd. 2013
Square Textiles Ltd. 2013
Viyellatex Group 2012

China

Mills in China Joined BCI
Bros Eastern Co. Ltd. 2011
Henan  Xinye Textile Co. Ltd. 2015
Huafu Fashion Co. Ltd. 2015
Ningbo Shenzhou Knitting Co. Ltd. 2015
Sunvim Group Co. Ltd  No. 2 Towel Company 2015
Texhong Textile Group Ltd 2013
Top Star Textiles 2011
Wugang Longshan Textile Technology Co. Ltd. 2017
XinJiang Litai Silk Road Investment Co. Ltd. 2016
Yuyue Home Textile Co. Ltd. 2013

India

Mills in India Joined BCI
Ambika Cotton Mills Ltd. 2015
Arvind Ltd. 2010
K.P.R. Mill Ltd. 2014
Loyal Textile Mills Ltd. 2013
Nahar Group (Nahar Spinning Mills Ltd.) 2012
Nitin Spinners Ltd. 2014
Sintex Industries Ltd. (Yarn Division) 2016
Trident Ltd. 2011
Vardhman Textiles Ltd. 2011
Welspun India Ltd. 2014

Pakistan

Mills in Pakistan Joined BCI
Alkaram Group 2013
Artistic Milliners 2011
Fazal Group 2013
Gul Ahmed Textile Mills 2011
Indus Group of Companies 2012
Mahmood Group 2011
Naveena Exports Ltd. 2010
Nishat Mills 2011
Sapphire Group 2013
Suraj Cotton Mills Ltd. 2015

Turkey

Mills in Turkey Joined BCI
Beyteks Tekstil San. ve Tic. A.Ş 2013
Çalık Pamuk 2013
Celikaslan Tekstil San. ve Tic. A.Ş 2015
Erdem Tekstil 2013
Ipek Tekstil ve Dis Tic. A.Ş 2015
Jnr Mensucat Tekstil San. ve Tic. A.Ş 2017
Kipas Mensucat Isletmeleri A.Ş 2011
Menderes Tekstil 2012
Uspar Tekstil San. ve Tic. A.Ş 2014
Almaxtex Tekstil San. ve Tic. A.Ş 2012

 

Access the Better Cotton Leaderboard 2017.

Where is Better Cotton Grown?

AUSTRALIA (MyBMP)  |  BRAZIL (ABR)  |  CHINA  |  AFRICA (CMIA)  |   INDIA  |   ISRAEL  |  KAZAKHSTAN  |  MADAGASCAR  |  MALI  |  MOZAMBIQUE  |  PAKISTAN  |  SOUTH AFRICA  |  TAJIKISTAN  |  TURKEY  |  USA

 

 

In the 2017-2018 cotton season, 2 million BCI Farmers across 21 countries produced 5.1 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton lint, accounting for 19% of global cotton production. 

The international cotton season runs from August to July. In the northern hemisphere, the harvest was completed in 2017, and in the southern hemisphere the harvest was completed in 2018.

Through a successful benchmarking process, as of April 2018, the following standards are recognised by BCI as being equivalent to the Better Cotton Standard System: myBMP (My Best Management Practice) in Australia, ABRAPA (Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Algodão) in Brazil, ‘Cotton made in Africa’ (CmiA) and ‘Smallholder Cotton Standard’ (SCS) of Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF). CmiA and SCS are benchmarked with BCI in specific countries in Africa; more information can be found here.

With the support of over 65 partners, we are on track to achieve our 2020 goal to reach and train 5 million cotton farmers and produce 30% of global cotton as Better Cotton. Our partners deliver field-level capacity building programmes that help farmers understand and apply the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria, improve the sustainability of their farms and gain a Better Cotton license. These licenses enable farmers to sell their cotton as Better Cotton, increasing the supply of more sustainable cotton in the global market, and linking farmers with a growing demand for more sustainable raw materials.

Partners also implement continuous improvement plans, identify opportunities for innovation and collect the field level data we use to monitor and evaluate our work. We also work with certain existing national sustainability standards to allow farmers already adhering to those standards to sell their cotton as Better Cotton.

To learn more about key environmental, economic and social indicators achieved by BCI Farmers, please refer to the BCI Farmer Results.

Better Cotton Standard System

The Better Cotton Standard System is a holistic approach to sustainable cotton production which covers all three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic. Each of the elements – from the Principles and Criteria to the monitoring mechanisms which show results and impact – work together to support the Better Cotton Standard System, and the credibility of Better Cotton and BCI. The system is designed to ensure the exchange of good practices, and to encourage the scaling up of collective action to establish Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.

Below is an explanation of each of the component parts which make up the Better Cotton Standard System. Click on the links for more detailed information about each element:

  1. ‘Principles and Criteria’: providing a global definition of Better Cotton through 7 key principles.
  2. ‘Capacity Building’: supporting and training farmers in growing Better Cotton, through working with experienced partners at field level.
  3. ‘Assurance Programme’: regular farm assessment and measurement of results through 8 consistent results indicators, encouraging farmers to continuously improve.
  4. ‘Chain of Custody’: connecting supply and demand in the Better Cotton supply chain.
  5. ‘Claims Framework’: spreading the word about Better Cotton by communicating powerful data, information and stories from the field.
  6. ‘Results and Impact’: monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to measure progress/change, to ensure that Better Cotton delivers the intended impact.