Supply Chain

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) engages and brings together the entire cotton sector, from farmers, ginners and spinners to civil society organisations and major global retailers and brands, to establish more sustainable cotton as the norm.

Among BCI’s 2,000 members, its Retailer and Brand Members are influencing the market and driving demand by sourcing more sustainable cotton as their raw material of choice. Better Cotton – the cotton grown by licensed BCI Farmers – often forms a significant part of a retailer’s portfolio of more sustainable cotton, which may also include organic, Fairtrade and recycled cotton.

In 2020, and notwithstanding the significant impacts felt by retail markets due to Covid-19, 192 BCI Retailer and Brand Members sourced 1.7 million tonnes of Better Cotton – a record for BCI and the industry. This represents a 13% increase on 2019 sourcing volumes.

”H&M Group wants to lead the change towards circular and climate positive fashion, and one of the key tools to do this is to shift from conventional cotton to cotton sourced in a more sustainable way. We have come a long way on this journey and it’s positive that an increasing number of companies, including H&M Group, are sourcing more sustainable cotton, including cotton sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative. Contributing to real impact at farm level to help cotton growers to embrace environmentally friendlier, and socially and economically sustainable farming methods is crucial to us and BCI allows us to achieve that.” – Cecilia Brannsten, Environmental Sustainability Manager, H&M Group.

BCI’s demand-driven funding model means that when BCI Retailer and Brand Members source cotton as Better Cotton, it directly translates into increased investment in training for cotton farmers on more sustainable practices, as set out in the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria.

Supplier and Manufacturer Members also form a critical link between demand and supply of Better Cotton and are committed to sourcing increased volumes year on year. In 2020, spinners sourced an incredible 2.7 million tonnes of Better Cotton, ensuring there was ample supply available on the global market.

BCI Members remained focussed on their commitments to sustainability through this challenging year. From civil society members supporting farmers on protective measures for Covid-19, to commercial members continuing to source Better Cotton, and thereby invest in cotton farming communities, BCI Members were more active and engaged than ever. Now we look ahead to 2021 and supporting even more ambitious sourcing plans from our growing membership.” – Paula Lum Young-Bautil,Deputy Director, Membership & Supply Chain, BCI.

Find a list of all BCI Members here.


BCI uses a Mass Balance Chain of Custody Model, which is a widely used volume tracking system that allows Better Cotton to be substituted or mixed with conventional cotton once it enters the supply chain, provided equivalent volumes are sourced as Better Cotton. The Better Cotton Platform (BCP) is BCI’s online system used by more than 9,000 ginners, traders, spinners, fabric mills, garment and end product manufacturers, sourcing agents and retailers to electronically document volumes of cotton sourced as Better Cotton as they pass through the supply chain. Users of the Better Cotton Platform grew by 30% in 2020. Learn more about Mass Balance.

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