Results and Impact

BCI is committed to measuring sustainability improvements everywhere Better Cotton is produced and to evaluating the environmental, social and economic impact of the Better Cotton Standard System.

BCI uses complementary research and evaluation methods and works with independent organisations and researchers to assess field-level impacts. This diversity of approaches is necessary to effectively measure results and impact both at scale and in depth.

Click on the infographic below to find out more about our approach, including examples of results and impact activities that enable stakeholders to understand and communicate the contributions they make by engaging with BCI.


Results Indicator Data: BCI’s Results Indicators quantitatively measure differences between licensed BCI Farmers and non-BCI Farmers in the same geographic area who are not participating in the BCI Programme (also referred to as Comparison Farmers) and are integrated into the Better Cotton Assurance Programme. Data is collected every season from a representative random sample of participating smallholders, and from all medium and large farms. In addition to the data recorded by licensed BCI Farmers, BCI collects data from Comparison Farmers. Find out more about working with results indicators.

Independent Case Studies: BCI also commissions independent case studies to collect data from samples of BCI Farmers and non-BCI Farmers. The findings of these case studies are then compared to the Results Indicator data reported by farmers, and used to check general directional similarities in results. The case studies also provide an opportunity to gather qualitative information about the Better Cotton experience directly from farmers, hearing in their own words how they feel that Better Cotton is driving change.

Impact: By ‘impact’, we mean the positive and negative long-term effects resulting from the implementation of a Better Cotton Standard System, either directly or indirectly, intended or unintended (from the ISEAL Impacts Code, adapted from OECD Glossary). Impact takes time to achieve and measure, but BCI has already commissioned studies and partnered with academic institutions to seek greater understanding of the impact of Better Cotton on the people who produce it and on the environment. Further studies are in progress and findings will be shared as they become available.

Learn more about BCI’s approach to assessing field-level results and impact.

Demonstrating and Improving Poverty Impacts (DIPI)

BCI Farmers in southern India are adopting Better Cotton Principles at high rates, according to a key study that enables BCI to improve our impact potential throughout the region and beyond. The three-year independent impact study, ‘Evaluation of the Early Impacts of the Better Cotton Initiative on Smallholder Cotton Producers in Kurnool District, India’, was conducted from 2015 to 2018. The research, funded by the Ford Foundation and commissioned by the ISEAL Alliance, monitored farmers’ participation in BCI activities, through a baseline assessment (2015), an interim monitoring exercise (2017), and a final evaluation (2018).

Learn more about the key study findings here. You can also access BCI’s management response to the study here.

Find out about additional BCI research in the dropdown menu below.

Policy on Communicating Data

BCI is committed to ensuring that credible data demonstrating progress and results is communicated to BCI members, partners, funders, farmers and the public. The reputation of BCI rests in large part with the credibility of its data. Data is therefore provided at strategic moments throughout the cotton production cycle to allow actors engaged in the Better Cotton network to effectively use and learn from it. BCI’s Policy on Communicating Data specifically addresses:

  • Types of data about which BCI communicate
  • The rationale for any limitations on data use
  • When and how data is made available by BCI

For any enquiries please use our contact form.

BCI Research

Please use the links below to read research conducted by both BCI and external parties exploring the potential and real impact of Better Cotton as support continues to grow worldwide. While these reports show that Better Cotton is linked to positive change, BCI will be carrying out further studies in the future as more and more quantitative and qualitative data is collected each year, to evidence of the real impact of Better Cotton.