Claims Framework Review

The relevance and quality of the Better Cotton Claims Framework is periodically reviewed. The most recent consultation process was carried out in 2018 and resulted in the implementation of several changes. BCI recognises the need for members to communicate about sustainability is growing and evolving, and the Framework must evolve in parallel with these growing market and consumer expectations. The Framework should provide members with accessible, yet credible, claims which allow members to report on, and take responsibility for their actions. Members should have access to claims which demonstrate the commitment they are making to BCI both in their membership, and in their sourcing of cotton as Better Cotton. As such, the review process has aimed to ensure the Framework is succeeding in enabling BCI Members to make commercially relevant and substantive claims that reach varied audiences. These member needs must be balanced with protecting BCI’s credibility and brand identity, managing potential risks and upholding the value of claims for the whole BCI membership community. The Framework must also continue to incentivise members to source increasing volumes of Better Cotton, in turn, supporting our mission of sector transformation.

Updates to the Claims Framework have been made taking into account the substantial time and costs members invest in developing and delivering marketing communications materials and strategies. As such, major changes to the Claims Framework have been made in consultation with members.

Process

Overview

A consultation was carried out in 2018 which opened up the Better Cotton Claims Framework V1.1 to review. The scope of the review was limited to claims available to BCI Retailer and Brand Members, although all of BCI’s stakeholders were welcome to participate in the consultation process by offering feedback on the existing Claims Framework via a questionnaire.

A full review of the Claims Framework has taken place to account for improved ability to make accurate and meaningful claims for all of BCI’s member and partner categories including civil society Members, Supplier and Manufacturer Member and Partners.

Aspects of the Claims Framework that were open to consultation included:

  • Sourcing thresholds for access to claims
  • Mass Balance and consumer understanding
  • Claims allowed on-product
  • Implementation of the revised Claims Framework

A total of 89 individuals completed the questionnaire and provided valuable feedback, representing the following member and partner categories:

  • 36 Retailer and Brand Members
  • 23 Supplier/Manufacturer/Trader Members
  • 11 BCI Staff
  • 7 Implementing Partners
  • 4 Other
  • 8 Unknown

Steering Committee

Role of Steering Committee

BCI appointed a Steering Committee to offer direction and due diligence to the consultative process, with the aim of enabling a successful launch of the Claims Framework V2.0 in 2019. The role of the Committee was to oversee the review process, ensuring that best practise was followed and a suitable outcome was achieved for all BCI stakeholders. Members of the Steering Committee also took part in the consultation. BCI aimed to balance the composition of the Steering Committee based on the applications we received, with the aim of achieving diverse representation including members with varied geographies, company/organisation size and type, audiences and gender. Below is the full list of Steering Committee members:

Retailers and Brands

ASOS Ruchira Joshi Senior Ethical Trade Manager
John Lewis Karen Perry Partner & Sustainability Manager- Raw Materials
VF Brad van Voorhees Director, Global Responsible Sourcing
DK Group Mona Skovly CR- Coordinator
Gap Inc. Alice Hartley Senior Manager, Sustainable Innovation  and Global Sustainability

Council

M&S Phil Townsend Sustainable Raw Materials Specialist

Civil Society

AFPRO D.K. Manavalan  Executive Director
Solidaridad Karin Jensma  Head of Communications

Implementing Partners

Arvind  Abhishek Bansal  Head of Sustainability
Cotton AU  Brooke Summers  Communications Manager

Suppliers, Manufacturers and Traders

Staplcotn Shane Stephens    Vice President Cotton Services & Warehousing
Orta Fatma Şener   Quality Systems Chief

Standard System Expert

Rainforest Alliance/UTZ Guillaume de la Ruee Innovations Manager