Better Cotton Launches Revision of the Better Cotton Standard

Better Cotton has launched an ambitious revision of the Better Cotton Principles & Criteria – one of the key instruments of the Better Cotton Standard System, which work together to drive the cotton sector towards a more sustainable, more equitable and climate-friendly future.

The Better Cotton Principles & Criteria lay out the global definition of Better Cotton through seven guiding principles. Today, the principles are applied by more than 2.7 million cotton farmers around the world. By following these principles, farmers produce cotton in a way that is measurably better for themselves, their communities, and the environment.

Strengthening the Standard

The revision process aims to strengthen the Better Cotton Principles & Criteria to ensure they continue to meet best practice, are effective and locally relevant, and align with Better Cotton’s 2030 Strategy. Over the last five years, we have seen increasing focus on areas such as climate change, decent work, and soil health, and the Principles & Criteria revision is an opportunity to ensure the Better Cotton Standard System aligns with leading practice and supports our ambitions to drive field-level change. 

At Better Cotton, we believe in continuous improvement – not only for Better Cotton Farmers, but for ourselves as well. In line with codes of good practices for voluntary standards, we periodically review the Better Cotton Principles & Criteria. This helps to ensure we keep up with innovative agricultural and social practices, and the latest scientific and technological research.

The revision process will include extensive consultation and engagement from all Better Cotton stakeholders, from producers and worker representatives to technical experts, other cotton initiatives, and retailers and brands. The revision process is expected to run from October 2021 through to early 2023.

Get involved

Join a working group

The revision process will be supported by several technical working groups, who will work closely with Better Cotton to revise the current sustainability indicators within the Principles & Criteria. If you have expertise in one of the thematic areas below and are familiar with the Better Cotton programme and Principles & Criteria, we invite you to apply to be a part of a working group.

  • Decent Work & Gender
  • Crop Protection
  • Natural Resources Management

Learn more and apply for one of the working groups via the dedicated revision webpage.

Stay informed through public consultations

There will be a public consultation period in late 2022. More details will be communicated to interested stakeholders closer to the consultation period.

If you would like to be kept up to date with the revision process, or contribute to the public consultation process, please submit your email address through the revision webpage.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the revision process, please contact the Better Cotton Standards Team at: [email protected]n.org.

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The Better Cotton Initiative Launches in Greece

 
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is delighted to announce that the Greek AGRO-2 Integrated Management Standards have been successfully benchmarked as equivalent to the Better Cotton Standard System.

The recognition will promote more sustainable Greek cotton farming. Greece is the largest cotton-producing country in Europe, with more than 45,000 registered cotton farmers. Cotton is planted on approximately 270,000 hectares – 10% of the total agricultural land.

Farmers certified under the AGRO-2 standards who elect to participate in the BCI Programme will now be eligible to sell their cotton as Better Cotton from the 2020-21 cotton season. By the end of 2022, it is estimated that 5,000 farmers will be growing AGRO-2 licensed cotton (equivalent to Better Cotton), on 40,000 hectares, producing around 185,000 bales.

The AGRO-2 Integrated Management Standards were developed by the national Hellenic Agricultural Organisation, ELGO-DEMETER, a statutory body under the Ministry of Rural Development and Food. ELGO-DEMETER and the Inter-Branch Organization of Greek Cotton (DOV) – jointly ELGO-DOV – partnered to promote and implement the AGRO-2 standards for Greek cotton production.

We are delighted to be working with ELGO-DOV as a strategic partner and welcome Greece as a new BCI equivalent standard. By bringing the two systems together, Greek cotton will be able to contribute to improved farmer livelihoods while increasing the profile of the country’s more sustainable cotton production.”
— Alan McClay, CEO, Better Cotton Initiative.

The benchmarking of the AGRO-2 standards to the Better Cotton Standard System is the culmination of several years of engagement and preparation. The process began in 2017 following interest expressed by Greek stakeholders.

BCI worked with IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, to explore the possibility of a BCI programme in Greece. With initial funding from the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund, a series of stakeholder consultations and assessments were conducted in line with BCI’s benchmarking and start-up process. After an independent comparison of the standards and a comprehensive gap analysis, a viable path towards benchmarking AGRO-2 with the Better Cotton Standard System (BCSS) was identified.

Following a thorough benchmarking review of the six components of the BCSS, modifications were made to the AGRO-2 standards to ensure alignment. Upon completion, Greece began the official BCI country start-up process, culminating in the signing of a Strategic Partnership Agreement between BCI and ELGO-DOV to recognise AGRO-2 certified cotton as equivalent to Better Cotton.

Photo: ELGO-DOV

About BCI

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) — a global not-for-profit organisation — is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. The Better Cotton Standard System is BCI’s holistic approach to sustainable cotton production which covers all three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic.

In the 2018-19 cotton season, together with their partners, BCI provided training on more sustainable agricultural practices to 2.3 million farmers from 23 countries. BCI is truly a joint effort, encompassing organisations all the way from farms to fashion and textile brands to civil society organisations, driving the cotton sector towards sustainability. Thanks to the support of BCI partners and members, Better Cotton now accounts for 22% of global cotton production.

About ELGO-DOV and the AGRO 2 Integrated Farm Management Standards System

AGRO-2 are Greek production sustainability standards developed and operated by ELGO-DEMETER, the national Hellenic Agricultural Organization, a statutory body under the Ministry of Rural Development and Food. The Inter- Branch Organization of Greek Cotton (DOV) is collaborating with ELGO-DEMETER for the implementation of the AGRO-2 sustainability standards for cotton production.

AGRO-2 promotes integrated management of agricultural holdings to make make combined use of all available means to reduce inputs and achieve the best possible financial outcome for farmers. Farms and producer groups are enabled and encouraged to set goals and measure their progress towards better farming methods and practices.

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