Better Cotton 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.

Better Cotton 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, or scroll down to read more about our approach.

You can also learn more about the outcomes and impacts of the Better Cotton programme in our latest Impact Report.

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India Impact Report, 2014-2023 – Full Report

India Impact Report, 2014-2023 – Full Report

You can find previous reports here.

Independent Research and Evaluation

Better Cotton commissions independent studies to collect data from samples of Better Cotton Farmers and non-Better Cotton Farmers. The findings of these studies are then compared to the Results Indicator Data reported by farmers and used to check general directional similarities in results. The research projects can 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.

Towards sustainable cotton farming: India Impact Study – Wageningen University & Research

A study completed by Wageningen University and Research from 2019 to 2022, explores how implementing the practices advocated by Better Cotton leads to reduced costs and improved profitability for cotton farmers in three locations in the Indian regions of Maharashtra (Jalna and Nagpur) and Telangana (Adilabad).

GIZ Outcome Evaluation of Project in India, by AFC India Ltd | 2020

An evaluation to measure the attributional changes of the implementation of activities promoting Better Cotton farming practices in the GIZ-funded project in Maharastra, India.

Evaluation of the Early Impacts of the Better Cotton Initiative on Smallholder Cotton Producers in Kurnool District, India | 2015 – 2018

A three-year study of the early impacts of the Better Cotton Initiative on smallholder cotton producers in Southern India. The study showed an increasing adoption of practices promoted by Better Cotton among the farmers in the programme.

Summary of the Evaluation of Outcomes in Pakistan | 2016 

Analysis conducted to identify outcome-level deliverables as a result of Better Cotton implementation in Bahawalpur and Sanghar districts, Pakistan.

Outcome Evaluation in Turkey, by Mike Read Associates | 2016

Assessing the outcomes of implementing the Better Cotton programme in Turkey.

The Impact of Better Management Practices among Cotton Farmers in Punjab, Pakistan | 2021

Evaluation of the potential impact of best management practices imparted among Better Cotton Farmers in Pakistan by rationalising the use of input resources. Paper commissioned by WWF Pakistan and published in the Journal of Agricultural Science in June 2021.

Working Paper series by Copenhagen Business School Research

  1. The challenges of cooperation in multistakeholder initiatives: competing policy concerns for the formulation on the Better Cotton Standard System | 2017

A study tracing the Better Cotton Standard formulation process between 2003 and 2009.

2. Bridging global standards requirements and local farmer needs: Implementing Partners of the Better Cotton Initiative in Pakistan and India | 2018

An exploration of the significance of the Better Cotton Standard Implementation Partners in India and Pakistan.

3. Compliance and cooperation in global value chains: the effects of the Better Cotton Initiative on social and environmental upgrading in South Asia

An empirical investigation of the effects of Better Cotton Initiative in India and Pakistan | Article published in the Ecological Economics, Vol. 193 | March 2022


Case Study on the Effects of Better Cotton’s Decent Work-Related Activities on the Behaviour of Communities Towards Women and Children in Northern Mozambique | 2021

Summary of a study commissioned by Better Cotton on the effects of the Decent Work activities undertaken by two Better Cotton Implementing Partners in Niassa and Nampula, Mozambique.

Women Workers in Global Value Chains: A Case Study of the Better Cotton Initiative in Pakistan, by Aarhaus University | 2018

An analysis of the gender dynamics in cotton production in Pakistan based on a study of women workers participating in the Better Cotton value chain.

Rapid Assessment of Phasing out a Hazardous Pesticide in Dhoraji, Gujarat, by Outline India | 2017

A review of guidance provided by an Implementing Partner in India to the Better Cotton Farmers in phasing out a hazardous pesticide.

Better Cotton and Decent Work in India, Mali, and Pakistan | 2013

Executive summary of a report produced by Ergon Associates.

Qualitative Outcome Information

Stories from the Field

Learn more about the outcomes and impacts farming communities are
experiencing by participating in the Better Cotton programme.

Industry-Wide and Other Collaborations

We also participate in and lead industry-wide initiatives and collaborations on impact.

Delta Framework

The Delta Framework project focuses on producing a clear, consistent way to measure and report the progress of farms participating in individual sustainable commodity certification schemes. The Delta Framework features a common set of environmental, social, and economic indicators to measure sustainability across the cotton and coffee commodity sectors.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Better Cotton has been an Affiliate Member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) since 2013, and as a member, we commit to adopt and support its vision and mission. We share a common journey as we endeavour to create positive change for people and the planet. We work tirelessly to ensure that the Higg Index performance improvements robustly and factually reflect the environmental performance of Better Cotton as a raw material.

Gold Standard

The Gold Standard sets the standard for climate and development interventions to quantify, certify and maximise their impact. Better Cotton partnered with The Gold Standard to help define common practices to calculate carbon reductions and sequestration, that companies can then easily report against their Science Based Targets or other climate performance objectives.


Better Cotton’s CEO Alan McClay sits on the International Cotton Advisory Committee’s expert panel on Social, Environmental & Economic Performance (SEEP). Members collaborate to provide the ICAC with objective, science-based information on the positive and negative social, environmental and economic aspects of global cotton production.

Policy on Communicating Data

We are committed to ensuring that credible data demonstrating progress and results is communicated to our members, partners, funders, farmers, and the public. The reputation of Better Cotton 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. Better Cotton’s Policy on Communicating Data specifically addresses:

  • Types of data about which Better Cotton communicates
  • The rationale for any limitations on data use
  • When and how data is made available by Better Cotton
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Better Cotton Policy on Communicating Data

This policy is aimed at Better Cotton staff, members, partners, and funders. It refers to the periodic communication of data by Better Cotton

Working with Results Indicators

Reporting on Results Indicators is fully integrated into the Better Cotton Assurance Programme to ensure that sustainability improvements are adequately measured everywhere Better Cotton is produced.

This document provides guidance on the required methodologies to use for Results Indicator Data collection and sampling. It also presents what measures are regularly taken to ensure data is credible, how Better Cotton analyses Results Indicator Data, and what information is shared back to partners for learning purposes.

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Working with Results Indicators v2.6


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