Save the Date: Better Cotton Conference

Better Cotton Conference

22-23 June 2022

After two years of adapted online engagement due to the pandemic, we are excited to share the dates for the next Better Cotton Conference.

Hosted in a hybrid format—with both virtual and in-person options for joining—we look forward to the opportunity to engage face-to-face again. As we consider the ongoing pandemic in our planning to allow safe and inclusive participation, details on our programme, registration, location and more will be shared soon.

Transforming the cotton sector is not the work of one organisation alone. Save 22-23 June in your calendars to join the Better Cotton community at this major event for stakeholders in the sustainable cotton sector.

Save the date and  join us in shaping a more sustainable future for cotton!

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Better Cotton Launches New Cotton Sustainability Digital Series for 2021

We are delighted to launch a new Cotton Sustainability Digital Series for 2021!Sessions and speakers originally curated for the in-person 2021 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference will now be coming to you live online, at more accessible rates and times across the entire year.

Join BCI and partners throughout 2021 for the monthly Cotton Sustainability Digital Series, where the entire sector will come together to shape a more sustainable future for cotton.

Connect with industry leaders and experts andexplore the entire cotton value chain. Sessions will focus on topicsincludingclimate action, innovation today and social sustainability.


January Episode| A 2030 Futurescape

What will 2030 look like and how do we respond as brands, manufacturers, NGOs and citizens?’

Join Lucy Shea, Group CEO, Futerra, for an exploration of the sustainability trends that are shaping the world around us and the fashion and textiles sector. In particular, we will look at how companies who embed sustainability have proven to be more resilient in 2020 and are building back better, becoming the businesses that our future needs. The next ten years will see the disruption of almost every industry, driven by our fast-changing world and the shifting desires of consumers, especially Gen Z.Learn more about Lucy Shea.

Date: Tuesday 19 January 2021
Time: 15:00-16:00 GMT




You can look forward to hearing from a selection of brilliant speakers throughout the year! Episodes and speakers will be updated and added to the BCI website inthe coming weeks and months. Keep checking back for new sessions.

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Global Cotton Sustainability Conference Moves to March 2021

The 2020 Global Cotton Sustainability Conferencehas been postponed until 2 – 4 March* 2021.

The decision to postpone this year’s conference was not taken lightly, butthe BCI Leadership Team agreed that postponement is the most responsible approach given the current situation regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 and its global impact on health and travel. BCI’s priority is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all BCI staff, members, partners and stakeholders.

“The spread of coronavirus will have an ongoing impact all over the world, and affect the entire BCI community, including members, staff, partners and other stakeholders. The situation now requires a significant step-up in the BCI management response. We need to face an unprecedented crisis with unprecedented solutions. It is inspiring to see how quickly, and with a deep sense of engagement, our stakeholders, partners and team members have stepped up to the plate and embraced new ways of working and living in order to continue delivering on their commitments. With this level of engagement, we feel confident about the sustainable cotton community’s ability to meet the challenges of this period of crisis and uncertainty and emerge stronger.” Alan McClay, CEO, BCI.

The conference in 2021 will deliver the same programme, designed to address sustainability issues across the entire cotton supply chain. Join us next year to hear from inspiring speakers from farm to fashion, and network with leaders and experts from across the cotton sustainability sector.

Some of the exciting conference sessions already lined up include:


  • The Value of Cotton in the Circular Economy
  • Money, Magic, Measurement & Sustainable Agriculture
  • Making Purpose Real

Plenary Panel Discussions

  • Experiences from the Field: Smallholder Farmers
  • Getting Aligned on Impact
  • Reaching Our 2020 Goals

Breakout sessions

  • Farm Adaptation to Climate Change
  • Can Cotton be Carbon Neutral?
  • Embedding Climate Action: Internal Engagement and Communications
  • Innovation Showcase
  • The Cotton 2025 Challenge
  • Impact for People: The Case Studies
  • Community Partnerships
  • Women in Agriculture and Beyond

The goal of the 4th Global Cotton Sustainability Conference is to bring the entire sector together in shaping a more sustainable future for cotton.

The full conference agenda, list of registered attendees and more is available now in the free conference mobile app. Find out more and download the app today.

We hope you can join us in Lisbon on 2 – 4 March 2021*.

*BCI intends to postpone the conference to 2 – 4 March 2021, with final arrangements currently under review. We are providing advance notice, so you can make arrangements for attending now. Pending venue confirmation, logistics may be subject to change.

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Highlights: 2020 Better Cotton Implementing Partner Meeting & Symposium

In January 2020, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) convened more than 45 of its field-level partner organisations – Implementing Partners – from 12 countries, for the fourth edition of the BCI Implementing Partner Meeting & Symposium. The annual meeting provides BCI’s Implementing Partners with an opportunity to come together to share knowledge, best practice and innovations across teams, organisation, regions and countries.

We’ve picked out some event highlights in this short video!

The three-day event focused primarily on biodiversity and the practices and innovations being implemented on the ground. BCI’s Implementing Partners had the opportunity to share their successes and challenges, while biodiversity experts took to the stage to share their insights. Guest speakers included Olivia Scholtz, High Conservation Value (HCV) Resource Network; Gwendolyn Ellen, independent consultant; Nan Zeng, The Nature Conservancy; Liron Israely, Tel-Aviv University; and Vamshi Krishna, WWF India.

Sharing practical solutions was a key element of the event and each partner organisation had the opportunity to showcase the methods and tools they are most proud of. This created a great opportunity for hands-on learning, and attendees explored a rich variety of biodiversity practices from different BCI Programme countries.

To further recognise the great work of BCI’s field-level partners, 10 Producer Unit Managers* were shortlisted and awarded for their outstanding efforts in the field. Meet the winners.

The event concluded with each attendee committing to actions to protect, enhance and restore biodiversity in 2020 based on the challenges and solutions identified and tested in the previous cotton sessions.

*Each BCI Implementing Partner supports a series ofProducer Units, which is a group of BCI Farmers (from smallholder ormedium sizedfarms) from the same community or region. Each Producer Unit is overseen by a Producer Unit Manager and has a team of Field Facilitators; who work directly with farmers to raise awareness and adoption of more sustainable practices, in line with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria.
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Global Cotton Sustainability Conference | Meet the Speaker: Reuben Turner

As of 20 March 2020, the Global Cotton Sustainability Conference in Lisbon moved from 9-11 June 2020, to be hosted on 2-4 March 2021. The decision to postpone was in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its global impact on health and travel.


In just a few months’ time, the 4th annual Global Cotton Sustainability Conference will take place in Lisbon. Farmers, brands, manufacturers, suppliers, NGOs, civil society organisations, agricultural experts and researchers will meet to collaborate on a more sustainable future for cotton.

Ahead of the conference, we caught up with the keynote speakers to gather their insights on key industry challenges and the innovations they are particularly excited about right now.

Meet Reuben Turner, Creative Partner and Founder, GOOD Agency

Reuben Turner has a long and distinguished background in marketing and advertising for social purpose. He is co-founder of London-based creative agency GOOD, one of the first agencies founded with social, ethical and environmental principles at its core.

As well as having worked with a number of leading NGOs, Reuben focuses on helping commercial brands understand, define and grow through social purpose, with current clients including Pernod Ricard, the Kingfisher group and leading fashion brand ESCADA.

How have approaches to defining and communicating an organisation’s purpose changed over time?

For a long time, an organisation’s “purpose’ was primarily about statements, manifestos or mood films. Although business leaders understood the need to have an organising principle that would make an emotional connection with stakeholders, staff and customers, they saw it primarily as a brand or positioning project. That led us to the era of “purposewash’, where brands would make emotive claims to stand for things or awkwardly link themselves to social issues.

How damaging is “purposewash’?

In an era of accelerate climate change, social division and structural inequality, such claims are rightly being seen as superficial, and it’s arguably added to the cynicism and distrust that so many people feel towards business. Simply put, we don’t have time for “purposewash’ anymore. It’s not solving the corporate world’s trust issue.

How can organisations get it right?

Today, there’s a new breed of business leaders who understand that statements are the start, not the end of the purpose journey. What actually matters is what businesses DO: the actions they take, the policies they change, the product innovations they invest in and the ways in which they help customers live healthier, more sustainable and equitable lives. These are all things that people care far more about than adverts.

Are there any innovative approaches to communicating purpose which you are particularly excited about right now?

I’ve been talking for a couple of years about the dynamic of “ally brands’ – these are brands that reject traditional leadership principles and think deeply how they can authentically be an ally to groups that need them. That could be working mothers struggling to make themselves heard at work or marginalised communities around the world. Ally brands grow their power and influence by seeing and sharing it. That’s counterintuitive to most brand thinkers but it’s a fundamentally important role in an unequal world.

You can hear Reuben Turner speak at the Global Cotton Sustainability Conference, which has been moved to 2-4 March 2021 in light of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Find out more and register here.

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Register Now for the 2020 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference: Early Bird Offer Expires 15 February

Are you planning on joining BCI and partners for the 4th annual Global Cotton Sustainability Conference? From 9–11 June 2020, representatives from the entire cotton sector and beyond will meet in Lisbon to shape a more sustainable future for cotton.

This year, the conference will dial in on three key themes – Climate Action, Innovation Now and Social Sustainability– exploring how the sector can collaborate in these areas to create and drive collective impact.

Register before 15 February 2020 to take advantage of the early bird rates.

BCI Members also receive an additional 50% discount.


Confirmed conference speakers include Futerra, The Renewal Workshop, GOOD Agency, IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative, Fair Labor Association, Change Agency, Cotton Inc., JFS and KAL. Hear from Reuben Turner, Creative Partner and Founder at GOOD Agency in the first of our Meet the Speaker blogs.

We still have a number of sponsorship opportunities available, from supporting cotton farmers’ travel to the event, to sponsoring the conference dinner. Please contact Events Officer Olivia Ji for more information.

Find out more and register for the conference at

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Better Cotton Partners from Around the World Meet to Drive Sustainability in Cotton Farming

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) works with 69 field-level partners – Implementing Partners – to provide training, support and capacity building to cotton farmers around the world. From 13 to 15 January 2020, BCI Implementing Partners from more than 10 countries will gather in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for the annual BCI Implementing Partner Meeting & Symposium.

The annual event enables BCI’s partners to come together to share best practices in sustainable farming, learn from one another, collaborate and engage in valuable networking. This year, the event will focus on biodiversity and BCI’s biodiversity requirements, as defined by the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. Attendees will be joined by cotton industry experts to discuss successes and challenges from the previous cotton season, as well as sustainable solutions and innovations for the coming season.

Expert guests include Gwendolyn Ellen, Founder of Agricultural Biodiversity Consulting; Vamshi Krishna, Senior Manager, Sustainable Agriculture at WWF-India; and Nan Zeng Ph.D, Climate and Agriculture Specialist at The Nature Conservancy.

Gwendolyn Ellen has over three decades of experience working in sustainable and organic agriculture. She has conducted research into entomology, botany, plant pathology and crop and soil science in multiple western agro-ecosystems. In addition, Gwendolyn has managed agricultural programmes focused on functional agricultural biodiversity for universities and the non-profit sector.

Vamshi Krishna is an expert in agricultural science, specialising in soil science and agricultural chemistry. He has worked with WWF-India for the past 13 years and played a key role in developing and demonstrating best management practices for the BCI Programme in India. Vamshi has also conducted research into soil profiles under different land use for the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture.

Nan Zeng has spent more than a decade researching and working in the field of ecology. She has participated in many projects focused on ecosystem services, biodiversity protection and sustainable agriculture. As a certified coach in the Conservation Coach Network, Nan has previously led training sessions on biodiversity for nature reserves and NGOs.

Highlights and key learnings from the BCI 2020 Implementing Partner Meeting & Symposium will be shared following the event. If you have any questions, please contact BCI Training and Assurance Manager Graham Bruford at [email protected].


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Join Better Cotton at World Cotton Day | Registration Closes on 20 September 2019

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) will host the launch of World Cotton Dayon 7 October 2019 at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

World Cotton Day will celebrate cotton, from its qualities as a natural fibre to the benefits people obtain from its production, transformation, trade and consumption. The event will also serve to shed light on the challenges faced by cotton industries around the world, and particularly in the least-developed countries.

The day’s events will include:

  • A plenary session with heads of state, heads of international organisations, ministers and high-level officials as well as industry and business leaders;
  • Several thematic side events gathering public and private sector leaders and experts on cotton for informative discussions and networking;
  • A partners’ conference organised to leverage resources and catalyse technical expertise specifically towards a new project on technology transfer for the development of cotton by-product value chains in eight pilot African countries;
  • A fashion show to display cotton fashion and designers from different parts of the world with a special focus on Africa;
  • A press conference; and
  • Cotton exhibitions, display booths, a pop-up store, a photo contest, a reception and livestreaming of cotton celebrations around the world.

Representatives from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) will attend the event and Alan McClay, CEO, will moderate a panel discussion organised by the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC). Join BCI and industry experts from Cotton Incorporated, C&A Foundation, H&M Group, World Textile Information Network, Esquel Group and Vardeman Farms between 15:30-17:00 CET on 7 October. The panel will address many of cotton’s challenges, including climate change, population growth, plastic pollution, innovation and changing consumer preferences.

In addition, Lisa Barratt, BCI Africa Operations Manager, will deliver a presentation on sustainability issues in the cotton sector in Africa, before participating in a panel discusson focused on market and policy trends in the cotton sector.

For further information and to register, please visit the World Cotton Daywebpage. Online registration must be completed no later than 20 September 2019.

Additional details

The WTO Secretariat is organising the event in collaboration with the Secretariats of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC). This event stems from the Cotton-4’s (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) official application for the recognition of a World Cotton Day by the United Nations General Assembly, reflecting the importance of cotton as a global commodity.

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2019 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference: Speakers and Sessions Announced

The 2019 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference will bring the entire sector together on 12 – 13 June, to shape a more sustainable future for cotton. Join industry leaders and experts in Shanghai for an interactive opportunity to explore topics at field level, in the supply chain and in consumer-facing business.

The scope of the annual conference hosted by BCI has been enhanced this year, and BCI is collaborating with other sustainable cotton standards and initiatives – including Organic Cotton Accelerator, Textile Exchange, Cotton Made in Africa, Fairtrade International and Cotton Australia – to develop the agenda.

Register here.

Confirmed speakers represent the entire cotton supply chain, from cotton farms to retail giants. Join us and hear from many great speakers, including: Christophe Roussel, Executive Vice President at GAP Inc.; Almas Parveen, BCI Field Facilitator and Farmer, REEDS; Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director-General (Programmes) at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO); and Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials, C&A Foundation.

You can look forward to thought-provoking sessions, including:

Keynote sessions

  • Good Business Can Change the World
  • Creating Change in Global Agriculture

Plenary panel discussions

  • Experiences from the Field: Smallholder Farmers
  • Experiences from the Field: Large Scale Farmers

Breakout sessions

  • Women in Agriculture
  • Adapting to a Warmer World
  • Demystifying the Value of Raw Cotton: An Introduction to Value Differences and Cotton Classification
  • And more

Register here.

The conference is sponsored by many globally renowned organisations. We have a variety of sponsorship packages available, please contact [email protected] for more information.

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Registration Is Open for the 2019 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference

2019 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference
Driving Change from Field to Fashion
11 – 13 June, 2019 |Shanghai, China

The 2019 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference will bring the entire sector together in Shanghai on 12 – 13 June, to shape a more sustainable future for cotton. Join industry leaders and experts for an interactive opportunity to explore topics at field level, in the supply chain and in consumer-facing business.

Prior to the public conference, on 11 June, the Better Cotton Initiative will host its Annual Member Meeting to share organisational updates, report on Better Cotton supply and facilitate a new peer-engagement platform.

Register before 15 Febto take advantage of the early-bird registration fees. BCI Members receive an additional 60% discount!

Call for Speakers

This year we are inviting other cotton sustainability standards and initiatives to participate in shaping the agenda of the 2019 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference.If you would like to share your ideas, expertise and insights with us, please submit your speaker proposal by 15 December.Learn more.

Sponsorship Opportunities

The global conference provides access to an international audience, prominent stakeholders within the cotton industry and organisations with a commitment to sustainability. We have a variety of conference sponsorship packages still available.Contact[email protected]for further information.

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Driving Change Is a Joint Effort: Call for 2019 Conference Speakers

BCI is taking a new approach to our 2019 annual conference. Transformative change can only happen though collaboration, so we are inviting other cotton sustainability standards and initiatives to participate in shaping the agenda to make the event an enriching experience for all attendees. We have changed the name of the conference to Global Cotton Sustainability Conferenceto reflect this inclusive approach. We are excited to be working with the following organisations in developing the conference agenda: Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Algodão (ABRAPA), Cotton Australia, Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA), Fairtrade, Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) and Textile Exchange.

Crispin Argento,Executive Director, OCA believes that, ”Lasting impact and transformational change in sustainable cotton is achieved through collaboration, sector alignment and knowledge sharing. OCA is excited to work with BCI and other standards to improve the livelihoods of 100 million farming households globally and double-down on our collective impact on the environment“.

In addition to this collaboration, we are also launching aCall for Speakers where the cotton sector is invited to submit recommendations for conference speakers and topics. Our goal is to curate exceptional content, generate debate and ensure that the event is an opportunity to enhance attendees’ knowledge and expertise. You can contribute your ideas through this brief online survey. Please share your thoughts with us by 15 December 2018. Topics can range from presenting evidence-based approaches, to sharing unique viewpoints that have not been included in previous conferences.

We look forward to seeing you in Shanghai next June!

Event details:

2019 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference

Driving Change from Field to Fashion

Shanghai, China |11 – 13 June 2019

11 June: BCI Annual Member Meeting

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