Assurance Programme

The Better Cotton Assurance Programme is a key component of the Better Cotton Standard System. It involves farmers participating in a continuous cycle of learning and improvement, and is the central mechanism for assessing whether farmers can grow and sell Better Cotton.

Farms are differentiated by three categories (smallholders, medium farms and large farms) recognising the differences in production methods and workforces they use. To be licensed to grow Better Cotton, farmers must first reach a set of Minimum Requirements. These ensure that Better Cotton meets clearly defined standards for pesticide use, water management, decent work, record keeping, training and other factors.

Minimum Requirements are just the first stage. At the same time, farmers are encouraged to develop further through Improvement Indicators. Improvements are measured through a concise questionnaire telling the on-going story of how things are changing for the better. Farmers receive a score based on their answers and and high scoring farmers are rewarded through extended Better Cotton licence periods. The better the score, the longer the licence.

The credibility of the Better Cotton Assurance Programme is based on a series of complementary mechanisms: self-assessment at Producer Unit level (a collection of smallholders or medium farms) or individual level for Large Farms; 2nd Party Credibility Checks (by BCI and/or Partners); and 3rd Party Verification (by independent verifiers). Risk-based assessments also give specific attention to the highest and lowest performers. The BCI Secretariat is the Assurance Provider for all farmer categories.

Links to learn more:
Better Cotton Assurance Programme
External Assessment Guidance V1.1 2019
Oversight Mechanism
Approval Procedure for Verifiers
BCI Approved Verifier List
Third-Party Verifier Competencies
PU Manager Competencies
BCI Global Assurance Team Competencies

Please use the dropdown menus below to view guidance materials for smallholders, medium farms and large farms.

For any enquiries please use our contact form.

Appeals process and documents

BCI Appeals Procedure

Producer Units or Large Farms may appeal against a licensing decision by submitting a written application (along with objective evidence) within 10 working days of being informed of a license cancellation or denial.

The Appellant (i.e. Producer Unit Manager or Large Farm) must submit a completed Appeals Submission form found on the link below. All appeal submissions must:

1. Include a clear rationale for each separate non-conformity being appealed.

2. Include detailed supporting evidence for each non-conformity being appealed.

Appeal submissions are reviewed and decided by a selected set of members from BCI’s Appeals Committee. BCI aims to communicate final decisions to the Appellant within 35 calendar days of receiving an (eligible) appeals submission.

BCI Appeals Procedure

BCI Appeals Form for Producer Units

BCI Appeals Form for Large Farms

Appeals Committee Members 2019

Appeals Committee Terms of Reference