ISEAL awards BCI full membership status

Announcements Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

The Better Cotton Initiative is pleased to announce that it has been accepted as a full member of the ISEAL Alliance by achieving full compliance with ISEAL’s Standard-Setting Code. The decision was approved by ISEAL’s Membership Committee, which reviewed BCI’s performance under ISEAL’s Independent Evaluation Mechanism.

The Better Cotton Initiative, which exists to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity, has demonstrated overall compliance during an independent evaluation against ISEAL’s Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards (Standard-Setting Code). The organisation has also demonstrated progress towards implementing the Impacts Code and the Assurance Code.

“BCI is extremely pleased to be awarded ISEAL’s full membership status,” said Damien Sanfilippo, Director of Standards and Assurance at BCI.  “This recognition is a testament to BCI’s credibility as a sustainability standard, and it gives us the opportunity to continuously improve our work of transforming the future of cotton through collaboration with a community of diverse standard systems.”

BCI was founded as part of a round table initiative led by WWF in 2005 with the goal of finding more sustainable solutions for cotton farmers, the environment and the future of the sector. To achieve this goal, BCI works with a diverse range of stakeholders across the cotton supply chain to promote measurable and continuing improvements for the environment, farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas.

“I would like to congratulate BCI on achieving full ISEAL membership status,” said Karin Kreider, Executive Director at ISEAL Alliance. “I have watched BCI grow over the years and witnessed their incredible dedication to transforming cotton production. To now achieve full ISEAL membership reflects their commitment to credible practices and ensuring continuous improvement. We look forward to working with BCI in the years to come.”

Cotton is one of the world’s most important natural fibres. Over 25 million tonnes of cotton are produced every year in over 80 countries around the world, supporting 250 million people’s livelihoods in the production stages alone. Cotton is a renewable natural resource but the future of cotton production is vulnerable to poor environmental management, poor working conditions and unstable markets.

The Better Cotton Standard System gives assurance that cotton is being produced in a way that cares for the environment by minimising the negative impact of fertilisers and pesticides, and caring for water, soil health and natural habitats. BCI Farmers achieve higher yields and more financial security through access to global markets, while improving the working conditions in their fields. BCI Farmers are also expected to continuously improve in key environmental, social and economic areas over time. The Better Cotton Standard can be applied to different scales of cotton production – from smallholder farms in Mali, Mozambique and Tajikistan to large, industrialised operations in Brazil, China and Australia.

BCI is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. In its fifth harvest season, BCI licensed 1.2 million farmers in 20 countries across five regions of the world, and accounted for 7.6% of global cotton production. BCI now counts over 700 member organisations, including major retailers and brands such as adidas, H&M, IKEA, Levi Strauss & Co., Marks & Spencer, and Nike, who have set ambitious public targets to source sustainable Better Cotton in their supply chains.

Now with 21 full members, the ISEAL Alliance covers a diverse range of sectors and industries. ISEAL membership includes respected standards, such as Forest Stewardship Council, Fairtrade International, the Alliance for Water Stewardship and Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
ISEAL is the global membership association for sustainability standards. Its mission is to strengthen standards systems for the benefit of people and the environment by defining credibility and bringing organisations together to strengthen their effectiveness.

Members embrace the essential values for delivering positive impacts, as reflected in the ISEAL Credibility Principles. Full ISEAL membership helps to distinguish their adoption of credible practices and commitment to delivering and improving positive impacts through standards.