BCI Retailer and Brand Members Increase Sustainable Sourcing Efforts


Published Thursday, December 12th, 2019

In 2019, BCI Retailer and Brand Members are on track to source more than 1.3 million metric tonnes of cotton as ‘Better Cotton’ – a record for BCI.

BCI’s demand-driven funding model means that increased sourcing of Better Cotton by BCI Retailer and Brand Members directly translates into increased investment in farmer training, support and capacity building at field level.

Of BCI’s 166 Retailer and Brand Members, 98 have public sourcing commitments for more sustainable cotton. Of these members, 58 have targets to source 100% of their cotton from more sustainable sources by set dates, while 27 have public commitments to source 100% of their cotton from more sustainable sources by 2020.

“At M&S we are extremely proud that in 2019 we reached our target of sourcing 100% of the cotton for our clothing more sustainably. M&S is a long-standing partner of BCI and most of our more sustainable cotton is sourced as Better Cotton. By working with BCI we are able to help support farmers such as Almas Parveen in Pakistan who has increased her yields while reducing her overheads and is now a truly inspirational spokesperson for Better Cotton.” – Phil Townsend, Technical Lead, Environmental Sustainability and Technical Services at M&S.

While supporting existing members to achieve their Better Cotton sourcing targets, BCI has also welcomed new retailer and brand members in 2019, which is critical to increasing demand for Better Cotton, and therefore ensuring additional investment at field level.

“Asda sources around 46,000 metric tonnes of cotton every year, so it is important that we do this in a way that supports the livelihoods of the cotton farmers as well as protecting our planet. In 2019, as part of our parent company Walmart’s global membership, we began our partnership with BCI. Over the last six months, we’ve worked with our buying teams and supply base to drive Better Cotton uptake through our supply chain; although we are only at the beginning of our journey, we are committed to delivering 100% more sustainable cotton by 2025.” – Melanie Wilson, Senior Director Sustainable Sourcing for George at Asda.

When Retailer and Brand Members reach certain Better Cotton sourcing thresholds, they have access to different types of consumer-facing claims. In November, BCI released a new type of sustainability claim for eligible BCI Retailer and Brand Members, as part of the launch of the revised Better Cotton Claims Framework – one of six components of the Better Cotton Standard System which equips members to make credible and positive claims about Better Cotton.

By equating the volumes of Better Cotton sourced by a member in a given season to BCI’s farm-level results in relation to water, pesticides and profitability, brands can demonstrate the impact of their sourcing and membership. An example of one of the new claims is, “Last year, an estimated 15,000 kg of pesticides were avoided thanks to our sourcing of Better Cotton.” BCI anticipates that eligible Retailer and Brand Members will start communicating using these new claims in 2020.

Final Better Cotton uptake figures for the year will be shared in 2020, along with the Better Cotton Leaderboard 2019, which showcases the BCI Members sourcing the largest volumes of Better Cotton in a given year.

If your organisation is interested in exploring BCI membership, please contact membership@bettercotton.org.