Chain of Custody

‘Chain of Custody’ (or CoC) refers to the documentation or chronological trail which shows the order of ownership in the Better Cotton supply chain, and is the key mechanism for determining its authenticity.

Building on the Better Cotton successes to date – creating positive change for the environment and farming communities, and growing demand from BCI Retailer & Brand members – BCI has set robust targets for the future: to increase Better Cotton volume production to 2.6m MT by 2015 and 8.2m MT by 2020. To help manage this volume of Better Cotton, BCI introduced a new Chain of Custody system for members in July 2013 to:

  • Inform all supply chain actors about their role in tracing Better Cotton throughout the supply chain.
  • Reduce the workload for suppliers in meeting a variety of guidance from retailers.
  • Enable retailers to make claims with confidence.

Two distinct Chain of Custody mechanisms used are:

  • From farm to gin level: Physical segregation
  • After gin level: Administrative Mass-Balance (MBa)

Members use the online Better Cotton traceability tools (available to members only), custom built by BCI, to then implement  the Chain of Custody. Guidelines have been produced to help guide all supply chain actors on the Better Cotton Chain of Custody requirements, including Retailers and Brands, so that they can make accurate claims about their Better Cotton procurement.

Links to learn more:
Video: BCI’s Chain of Custody Guidelines
Better Cotton Chain of Custody Guidelines
Training presentation on the Better Cotton Chain of Custody