The Better Cotton Assurance Programme is a key component of the Better Cotton Standard System. It involves farmers participating in a continuous cycle of learning and improvement, and it forms the central mechanism for assessing whether farmers can grow and sell Better Cotton.
The Better Cotton Assurance Programme protocol has recently been updated to include some minor clarifications. The updates in Version 3.1 include the following:
- If a non-conformity with the Better Cotton Standard is identified during an external assessment, Producer Unit Managers are now responsible for the preparation of a Corrective Action Plan. Where required, Producer Unit Managers will receive support from BCI’s Implementing Partners. (Section 3).
- A Group Assurance Manager model is available for Large Farms in the USA. A rotation limit for third-party verifiers has been added to the Assurance Programme – this enhances credibility by ensuring multiple verifiers provide assurance assessments. (Section 6.4).
- Additional details now provide clarity around the “exceptional circumstances’ clause. For example, a reoccurring incidental non-conformity may retain its grading as an incidental non-conformity rather than being escalated to a systemic non-conformity.(Section 6.5).
- Further information has been added to the Assurance Programme overview document to provide increased clarity around what constitutes a licence cancellation, suspension and denial for Producer Units and Large Farms. (Section 7.3).
- Producers have the right to appeal a licencing decision. The appeals timeline has been changed to 10 working days from the point of being informed of the licensing decision, an increase from 10 calendar days. (Section 9).
The Better Cotton Assurance Programme protocol V3.1 can be found on the Assurance Programme pages of BCI’s website.
Please send any questions or feedback to [email protected].