At Better Cotton, we want to be absolutely sure that we’re making a difference. That’s why besides supporting and training millions of farmers and farm workers around the world to grow cotton more sustainably, we also collect data on everything we do. This enables us to measure sustainability improvements, understand our impact, and share our learnings.

Today, we are pleased to share our new Impact Report. In this year’s report, we share the latest field-level results (from the 2019-20 cotton season) and evaluate how licensed Better Cotton Farmers performed on environmental, social, and economic criteria, compared to farmers who weren’t participating in the Better Cotton programme. We call these our ‘Farmer Results’, and they cover elements including the use of pesticides, fertilisers and water, as well as decent work, yields and profits. 

“Impact is what we all want to see in sustainability. To be sure we’re making a tangible difference, we collect results data where possible. This helps us to understand whether our approach is effective and identify opportunities for improvement. It also enables us to celebrate progress and demonstrate the value of our work to others.”

– Alia Malik, Senior Director, Data and Traceability

The report also explores other ways in which Better Cotton and the work of our members contributes to positive change in cotton farming.

While Better Cotton focuses primarily on supporting farmers on the ground, it’s vital that we also drive demand for Better Cotton, in order to continue building our reach and impact. In the report, three Better Cotton Retailer and Brand Members (Kmart Australia, George at ASDA, and Bjorn Borg) share their experiences with sustainable cotton sourcing and how they communicate about Better Cotton to their customers.

With continuous improvement a core principle for Better Cotton, the report also looks at how we’re strengthening our systems and services to deliver greater impact. This includes important initiatives such as our traceability workstream and the revision of our Better Cotton Principles & Criteria.

2019-20 Cotton Season Results

In the report, you will find some of the key environmental, social, and economic outcomes achieved by Better Cotton Farmers in China, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey in the 2019-20 cotton season. For example, in Tajikistan, Better Cotton Farmers used 16% less water than Comparison Farmers, in India they achieved 9% higher yields, and in Pakistan they used 12% less synthetic pesticide. Results are illustrated by country and by sustainability indicator.

Results by country: Pakistan

Results by indicator: Water use

You can find all results data within the report. Alongside the data, Better Cotton Farmers also share their insights on what sustainable cotton means to them and call out the key success and challenges of the season, providing a compelling snapshot of each Better Cotton programme country.


All Better Cotton Farmer results are relative to the results achieved by Comparison Farmers (non-Better Cotton farmers in the same geographic area who are not participating in the Better Cotton programme). For example, Better Farmers in Pakistan used 16% less synthetic fertiliser than Comparison Farmers in the 2019-20 cotton season.

Cotton is sown and harvested in different annual cycles all over the world. For Better Cotton, the 2019-20 cotton season harvest was completed towards the end of 2020. Better Cotton Farmer results and indicator data must be submitted to Better Cotton within 12 weeks of the cotton harvest. All data then goes through a rigorous data cleaning and validation process before it can be published.

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