Better Cotton Claims Framework
The Better Cotton Claims Framework makes it simple for members to make credible and positive claims about Better Cotton, and allows flexibility in how to communicate about your commitment.
Many other communications resources are available, such as Quotes, Images, Stories from the Field and Promotional Artworks. By combining claims in the framework with these other resources, a member can articulate a compelling story meaningful to them and their customers.
Always refer to the Claims Framework to ensure that the context in which you want to use a claim is not in breach of your agreed conduct as a member. Use of the Claims Framework is governed by the BCI Code of Practice, BCI Terms of Membership, and BCI Monitoring Protocol.
Expand the boxes below and follow the links to read more:
Alternatively, download a printable PDF of the Better Cotton Claims Framework by clicking here.
Use of the BCI Logo and URL falls into the catagory of ‘claims level 1 – commitment based claims.’ Members wishing to develop their sustainability story further, must first use the logo on their website along with the URL, linking to the BCI Website homepage.
Only BCI Members and Partners (this does not include BCI Tracer Users) are authorised to use the BCI logo as marketing collateral.
Full guidelines on how to use the logo and files to download can be found here: www.bettercotton.org/resources/logo
LOGO USE ON-PRODUCT
The logo is an integral part of ‘On-Product Claims.’ All claims made on products, must incorporate the BCI On-Product Mark.
You must be making all claims under all claim types at this Claims Level in order to progress to Claims Level 2 or (in the event of meeting the eligibility criteria,) the On-Product Mark.
A Membership Statement is a claim that enables you to promote your membership to BCI.
For Members and Partners ONLY:
Option 1: ‘We (or name of the organisation) are/is a proud member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.’
Option 2: ‘We (or name of the organisation) are/is committed to improving cotton farming practices globally with the Better Cotton Initiative/BCI.’
For all Members, Partners and Tracer Users (includes Non-Members):
Option 1: ‘We source Better Cotton. The Better Cotton Initiative exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.’
Option 2: ‘We are building our Better Cotton business through the Better Cotton Initiative.’
NOTE: Non-members (Tracer Users) are not permitted to use any other claim, including the BCI logo.
X% DECLARATION AND TARGET
Time-bound target for Better Cotton (or more sustainable cotton) sourcing as a X% of total cotton lint use.
Option 1: ‘We (or name of the organisation) are/is committed to sourcing X% (or X MT) of our cotton as Better Cotton by 20XX.’
Option 2: ‘We (or name of the organisation) are/is committed to sourcing X% (or X MT) of our cotton as ‘more sustainable cotton’ by 20XX.’ ‘More sustainable cotton’ includes (list standards covered here: e.g., Better Cotton, recycled cotton and Organic Cotton).
LOGO AND URL
Only BCI Members and Partners (this does not include BCI Tracer Users) are authorised to use the BCI logo as marketing collateral. Click here to download logo files and guidelines.
PERMISSION PROCESS: As a BCI member, you do not need to request permission to use claims under level 1 of the Claims Framework on any channel, with the exception of claims made On-Product. If you wish to develop on the formulas as presented here, please contact BCI Communications Team. All commitment based claims under level 1 must be made before progressing onto storytelling claims under level 2. Claims under level 1 and some additional requirements (click here to read criteria) must be met before Members can progress to using the On-Product Mark.
You must be making all claims under Claims Level 1 of the Claims Framework before you can progress to making claims at this level. At least one claim must be made from Level 2 of the Claims Framework before you can progress to Level 3 Claims.
These sentences have been specifically designed to provide an accurate reflection of progress at field level – they are meant as examples of ways in which you can use our results. Results Indicators must not be manipulated in any way. Averaging results across different geographies undermines the credibility of the data. Should you wish to use BCI results to support your storytelling, please contact the BCI Communications Team who will help you craft your Better Cotton story in a way that is relevant to your customer.
Option 1: In 2015, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) licensed over 1.5 million farmers from 21 countries on five continents.
Option (as addition) 2: Together, these farmers produced 11.9% of the worlds cotton.
Country and indicator:
Example 1: Less wasted water (China): ‘In 2014, BCI Farmers in China used an average of 16% less water than those not yet using BCI techniques.’
Example 2: Reduced chemical pesticide use (Pakistan): ‘In 2014, BCI Farmers in Pakistan used an average of 15% less harmful chemical pesticides than those not yet using BCI techniques.’
Example 3: Increased use of organic fertiliser (India): ‘In 2014, BCI Farmers in India used an average of 68% more organic fertiliser than those not yet using BCI techniques.’
Example 4: Improved profitability (China): ‘In 2014, BCI Farmers in China made an average of 32% more profit than those not yet using BCI techniques.’
Example 5: Improved yield (Mali): ‘In 2014, BCI Farmers in Mali achieved 15% greater yields than those not yet using BCI techniques.’
READY TO USE COMMITMENT CLAIMS
Ready to use claims that express your commitment to BCI and a more sustainable future for the sector. These claims are ready approved for use and available in multiple languages.
Option 1: ‘Thanks for supporting responsibly grown cotton.’
Option 2: ‘Thanks for supporting responsibly grown cotton, together with XXX [your company’s name].’
Option 3: ‘Supporting Better Cotton farmers, protecting the environment, and working for global change.’
Option 4: ‘By buying cotton products from XXX [your company’s name], you’re supporting responsible cotton production through the Better Cotton Initiative.’
Option 5: ‘We partner with the Better Cotton Initiative to improve cotton farming globally.’
Option 6: ‘BCI aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.’
Option 7: ‘The Better Cotton Initiative exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future.’
Option 8: ‘BCI connects people and organisations from across the cotton sector, from field to store, to promote measurable and continuing improvements for the environment, farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas.’
READY TO USE FARMER CLAIMS
Ready to use claims describe the production principles of BCI. These claims are ready approved for use and available for translation into multiple languages. Pair ‘Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ together for a complete claim.
Option 1:BCI Farmers are farmers who:
Option 2:By buying cotton products from XXX [your company’s name], you’re supporting BCI Farmers who:
Option 3: The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) trains farmers:
- to use water efficiently
- to care for the health of the soil and natural habitats
- to reduce use of the most harmful chemicals
- on the principles of decent work
Option 2: care for the environment and implement the principles of decent work.
PERMISSION PROCESS: As a BCI Member, you do not need to request permission to use the claims options presented under level 2 of the Claims Framework with the exception of claims made On-Product. If you wish to develop on the examples as presented here, please contact the BCI Communications Team.
You must be making at least one claim from Claims Level 2 of the Claims Framework, before you can make claims at this level.
These claims are a calculation of Better Cotton procured (as a percentage of total cotton lint consumption) by an individual Member:
‘We (or name of the organisation) source X% of our cotton as Better Cotton.’
VOLUME PROCURED – REALISED
These claims are a calculation of Better Cotton procured by an individual Member:
Option 1: ‘We (or name of organisation) are already sourcing enough Better Cotton to make X [e.g. all our men’s shirts/our entire bed linen range etc.].’
Option 2: ‘By 2020 we (or name of organisation) are/is committed to sourcing enough Better Cotton to make X [e.g. all our men’s shirts/our entire bed linen range etc.].’
These claims are intended to demonstrate the value an individual Member contributes to BCI over the course of a year. The claims translate your financial investment, directly into the real life reach of BCI; number of farmers reached, number of hectares under cultivation or volume of cotton lint produced. These claims are calculated based on an individual Members’ investment in one year, against the BCI global indicators and BCI total field investment in the corresponding year, as published in the Harvest Report:
Option 1 – Number of BCI Farmers: ‘In 2014 [specific year to match investment], our (or name of organisation) €X investment enabled BCI to reach X farmers.’
Optional addition: reducing their input costs, achieving better yields, and earning more money to benefit their families.’
Option 2 – Number of hectares under Better Cotton cultivation: ‘In 2014 [specific year to match investment], our (or name of organisation) €X investment enabled BCI Farmers to farm Better Cotton on X hectare of land.’
Optional addition: protecting the soil, managing pesticides and fertilisers and preserving water.’
Option 3 – Volume of Better Cotton metric tonnes (MT) lint produced: ‘In 2014 [specific year to match investment], our (or name of organisation) €X investment enabled BCI Farmers to produce around X metric tonnes of Better Cotton.’
Optional addition: ‘That’s enough cotton to make… [completed by member, e.g. x number of bed sheets]’
As a Member, you are free to build your own narrative and wording or add/amend example claims. The BCI Communications Team are happy to support Members in this process. Content must be approved in writing by the BCI Communications Team prior to publication of any custom claims.
PERMISSION PROCESS: Permission is required to use the claims options presented under level 3 of the Claims Framework. BCI will accept the total cotton consumption as issued by the Member, however we may ask you to submit documentation to support these numbers periodically. The responsibility for your communications/claims related to your annual cotton consumption stays with you. The data you use to complete the calculation must match BCI’s own financial data. This is the data that is submitted to BCI (in terms of total lint consumption) and/or data from the Better Cotton Tracer. Members will be required to clarify any discrepancies should they occur. Please contact the BCI Communications Team for more information.
The ‘On-Product Mark’ (OPM) is one of the marketing options available to you as a Retailer Brand Member. It enables you to communicate your commitment to the Better Cotton Initiative, directly to your consumer, via the product itself. Use of the OPM reinforces consumer confidence, builds trust and will ultimately raise awareness about BCI and Better Cotton.
‘On-Product’ is simply one of many channels you can use to reach your consumer. Should a claim be made in direct association with a product or range of products, it is classed as use of the OPM. The majority of our Members that use the OPM do so in the form of a swing tag or sticker, however, an OPM doesn’t have to be physically on a product to be classed as such. An OPM may be in a catalogue, on point of sale in store, on shipment packaging or on a website. The key feature that defines an OPM is that the consumer associates a claim directly with a particular product or range of products.
We have created precise guidelines to ensure that members use the BCI OPM in a way which:
- Protects the credibility of the standard by never deceiving the average consumer, misleading the reader, over-claiming, or leaving a claim open to inaccurate interpretation.
- Incentivises those members who procure meaningful quantities of Better Cotton, and are committed to doing so in the future.
- Unifies the BCI message for readers across diverse products in different regions, creating a more consistent and powerful message, thereby increasing the recognition of Better Cotton among consumers.
Open the tabs below to learn more or apply to use the BCI On-Product Mark!:…
Membership Categories and the On-Product Mark
Click on the circles below to find out if your Membership Category is eligible to use the On Product Mark. Follow the links to start the process:
There are five criteria to be met which establish whether you are eligible to use the On-Product Mark. All five criteria must be met before BCI will approve the use of the mark:
1) PERIOD OF MEMBERSHIP
You must have been a BCI Member for at least one year prior to submitting an application for use of the On-Product Mark.
2) MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY
- Belong to the BCI Retailer and Brand (RB) membership category, OR
- Be a Supplier and Manufacturer (SM) Member who supplies end products to businesses in the service industry (B2B) (e.g. industrial laundries, hotels, hospitals, staff clothing), i.e. not supplying to consumer facing retailers or brands, OR
- Be a Supplier and Manufacturer (SM) Member already supplying other BCI Retailer and Brand members who would like to use the OPM in your own retail activities (B2C). In order to qualify under this category, this B2C activity can represent no more than 25% of your textile business turnover.
Please contact BCI for more details on eligibility criteria. BCI reserves the right to establish if a Supplier and Manufacturer member is eligible to use the On-Product Mark.
NOTE: No other Membership Categories are permitted to use the On-Product Mark. BCI is developing alternative marketing tools to allow these Members to communicate their support of Better Cotton and BCI fully and appropriately.
You must be meeting all claims from Level 1 (commitment based claims) of the Claims Framework as follows:
- Membership Statement visible on a consumer facing website. This must be the e-commerce website (where this exists) not alternative sustainability or micro-site, of the BCI Member and, if applicable, the specific Brand under that Member wishing to use the On-Product Mark.
- Logo and URL (see ‘logo use guidelines’) visible on a consumer facing website. This must be the e-commerce website (where this exists) not alternative sustainability or micro-site, of the BCI Member and, if applicable, the specific Brand under that Member wishing to use the On-Product Mark.
- Time-bound target for Better Cotton (or more sustainable cotton) sourcing as a X% of total cotton lint use visible on consumer facing website of the BCI Member. This must be the e-commerce website, (where this exists) not an alternative sustainability or micro-site. Where applicable, it is encouraged that public facing targets are also shared by the individual brand (under the Member/Group) who plans to use the On-Product Mark.
4) PROCUREMENT THRESHOLDS
You must be procuring Better Cotton, and over time meet the below thresholds (at Membership level):
- Minimum criteria for On-Product Mark Use: >5%
- End of Year 3: >25%
- End of Year 5: >50%
The procurement percentage is measured against your organisation’s total annual cotton lint consumption as declared by you. BCI verifies the amount of lint sourced as Better Cotton via the Better Cotton Tracer.
For Members that have been approved to use the On-Product Mark prior to January 31st 2017, a grace period has been included: the minimum criteria for use must be met before December 31st 2017.
For Members applying to use the OPM for the first time as of January 31st 2017, a minimum criteria of 5% must be met before the application for use can be submitted.
Year 3 and Year 5 thresholds are defined as being the end of the third and fifth year following sign off of the first On-Product Mark.
After Year 5 you must maintain a procurement level of above 50% in order to continue using the On-Product Mark.
NOTE: You must meet the Procurement Threshold criteria before Artwork for the On-Product Mark will be reviewed or approved by the BCI Communications Team.
5) VOLUME BASED FEE
You must be up to date in paying the Volume-Based Fee. The current Volume-Based Fee calculation methodology is available in Members Application. Please contact the BCI Membership Team for more details.
Mass Balance Administration
We’ve created guidelines within the boundaries of the current traceability system used by BCI: Mass Balance administration.
Under this system, no absolute guarantee can be made that there is Better Cotton physically present in the finished product and in what quantity. This is why you will always hear us refer to products ‘sourced as’ Better Cotton. All our claims use careful wording and industry-recognised good practice to ensure that the message focuses on the commitment of the BCI member to responsibly sourced cotton, and not the content of the product itself. This applies to our On-Product Mark, as well as our off-product claims. It is also important that the users of the On-Product Mark fully understand the systems in place to share responsibility to never be misleading, and to always protect the credibility of the Better Cotton Standard System when communicating about BCI.
The future guidelines for using our On-Product Mark may change as we move towards physical traceability for our members, and new guidance may be developed which also refers to the content of the product. However, for now the focus is on commitment based claims under Mass Balance traceability. We look forward to seeing the On-Product Mark’s use by members, helping to drive demand for Better Cotton worldwide.
NOTE: The On Product Mark can only be used on products with a 50% or greater cotton content.
To read more about Mass Balance administration, the Better Cotton Tracer and watch a short animation explaining the two, click here.
Click here to download logo files and full guidelines.
ELEMENTS OF THE MARK
- Logo: this shape forms the graphic part of the mark and is the BCI corporate logo.
- URL www.bettercotton.org: The BCI website address must always be displayed in the form included in the mark.
- TM: the mark must be directly accompanied by a TM mark. The letters TM indicate that this is a trademark. Registration of the trademark is pre-approved in a number of countries.
- Text Claim: the mark must be directly accompanied by an approved, On-Product Text Claim.
The BCI On-Product Mark can be used on hangtags, swing tags, other kimble tags, stickers, consumer packaging, catalogues, online product pages etc. The BCI On-Product Mark must not be permanently attached to a product (e.g: care labels or back neck printing).
If you are a Supplier and Manufacturer (SM) Member who supplies end products to businesses in the service industry (B2B) (e.g. industrial laundries, hotels, hospitals, staff clothing), i.e. not supplying to consumer facing retailers or brands, exceptions to the above may apply. Please contact the BCI Communications Team for further details.
The mark can be used in:
- BCI green: R141 G198 B64, or C50 M1 Y98 K0, or Hex #8DC640, or Pantone Solid Coated 368 C.
- Black: when the mark is printed in black it must be clearly visible, i.e. not used on an existing dark background.
- White: for use on dark backgrounds.
Use of the colour green as a background or design feature:
Whilst we do not, under every circumstance, enforce the use of BCI green on Members’ communications, we reserve the right to request its use where the use of another, similar green causes brand confusion. This decision will be made at the BCI’s discretion .
SIZE AND PROPORTIONS
The minimum size for on-product applications of the mark is 25mm, measured from the left to the right hand side of the URL. There is no maximum size restriction for display of the mark on-product or off-product. The logo should be enlarged or reduced proportionally, without distortion, and used in its entirety.
The minimum clearance around every edge of the mark is the width of the letter ‘I’ in ‘BCI’ excluding the TM mark and the tail of the letter ‘g’ in ‘www.bettercotton.org’.
A text claim from the below list must accompany the On-Product Mark at all times:
TEXT CLAIM TRANSLATIONS
If you want to use a text claim in a language other than English, please send your enquiry to the BCI Communications Team to establish whether a translation in your desired language already exists.
We aim to approve all new translations within a maximum of 10 working days (2 weeks) after we receive the complete proposed text, and will collaborate if any amendments are needed. The translation must not be printed, published, or displayed until approval is granted.
Once a new translation is approved, you will be able to use it in any artwork without requesting further approvals.
The organisation name; ‘Better Cotton Initiative’ and product; ‘Better Cotton’ must never be translated.
Should a claim be made in direct association with a product or range of products, it is classed as use of the On-Product Mark (OPM). The majority of our Members that use the OPM do so in the form of a swing tag or sticker, however, an OPM doesn’t have to be physically on a product to be classed as such. An OPM may be in a catalogue, on point of sale in store, on shipment packaging or, in this case, on a website. The key feature that defines an OPM is that the consumer associates a claim directly with a particular product or range of products.
ELIGIBILTY FOR E-COMMERCE USE
There are five criteria to be met which establish whether you are eligible to use the On-Product Mark. The same criteria applies for it’s use in an e-commerce context. See the section above titled ‘Eligibilty Criteria’.
The logo and text claims are both elements of the mark, and must be used together. The only exception for this exists should your website not have the capabilities to support displaying a logo. In this case, the text claim may be used with the BCI URL. Logo downloads and guidelines for use are available here.
Minimum sizing and logo legibility are dependent on the layout of your website. Please contact the BCI Communications Team for more details regarding logo usage for e-commerce.
Claims made in association with a product or range of products in an online context, must be selected from the pre-approved list of ‘On-Product Text Claims.’ Custom built claims are not allowed in this context.
LOCATION OF THE ON-PRODUCT MARK
The Logo component of the On-Product Mark can be located:
- In the product title/description
- In the product details (expandable, roll-over or hidden tab)
The Logo component of the On-Product Mark must not be located:
- In the product details where this suggests Better Cotton is part of the fabric composition
The Text Claim component of the On-Product Mark can be located:
- Adjacent to the logo component of the On-Product Mark
- Separate from the logo component of the On-Product Mark either:
- In the product title/description
- In the product details (expandable, roll-over or hidden tab)
- On the sustainability pages of the same website. In this case, the logo itself must contain a link to these pages
DIRECTING THE CONSUMER TO LEARN MORE
When the On-Product Mark is used in an e-commerce context, it is crucial that the customer is able to learn more about BCI’s work and the Member’s relationship with BCI. There are two ways in which this information can be displayed. Either:
- A link, directly from the logo itself or in the form of a hyperlink in the product description, connecting the consumer with the BCI website homepage
- A link,directly from the logo itself or in the form of a hyperlink in the product description, connecting the consumer with the Members’ own sustainability webpages where they will find approved copy explaining more about BCI. These sustainability pages must also contain an obviously accessible link to the BCI website homepage
Approval Process and Application
If you fulfill all the Eligibility Criteria and wish to use the BCI On-Product Mark, please contact the BCI Communications Team.
- You will receive confirmation that the eligibility criteria has been met, an authorisation to proceed in developing the On-Product Mark within 5 working days.
- You can then start developing the relevant artwork (the BCI Communications Team is available to support, if needed). Once you have finalised your designs, please send all your complete digital artwork files carrying BCI On-Product Mark – including details of the background material(s), sizing, and colour specs – to the BCI Communications Team for approval.
- You will receive confirmation within a maximum of 10 working days (2 weeks) after we receive the finished artwork. We will advice if amendments are needed. The mark must not be printed, published, or displayed until approval is granted.
- You will need to be able to inform BCI of the planned launch date of the On-Product Mark along with the planned distribution of it’s use (across which product areas and geographical locations).
- Each, individual artwork must be signed off by BCI. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis.
On-Product Mark Member Examples
Click here to download a short presentation of On-Product Marks that are currently in use.
MONITORING MEMBERS’ BETTER COTTON COMMUNICATIONS
Why do we monitor claims?
We monitor BCI members’ claims in their communications about their commitment and involvement with the Initiative. This allows us to:
» Advise members how to continuously improve their communications in order to support our mission.
» Address any breaches of BCI guidelines in a standardised way, thereby reassuring all members that the credibility of the community remains intact.
Activities to implement our Monitoring Protocol for claims:
» All web content is checked by BCI once per year for a calculated sample from each membership category.
» Members’ communications are actively and regularly monitored by BCI.
» Other members notify BCI where any false or questionable claims are suspected.
» For on-product claims, Retailer and Brand declarations in the Better Cotton Tracer are also monitored.
Incorrect or misleading use:
Our Monitoring Protocol also includes resolution procedures for suspensions and withdrawals for misuse:
Warning: If communication is in breach of the Better Cotton Claims Framework.
Suspension: When the communication is not retracted or removed by the member within 30 days of receiving the formal warning.
Expulsion: When the communication is not retracted or removed by the member within 60 days of the suspension.
The claims Framework is governed by:
ON-PRODUCT MARK MONITORING PROTOCOL
We monitor the steps to be followed by members prior to approval and once the products carrying the BCI On-Product Mark are in store. Members are obliged to share with us, planned launch dates for the on-product mark, and update us when these are live in stores.
We have developed new resolution procedures to address any misuse of the On-Product Mark:
Should members no longer fulfil the On-Product Mark eligibility criteria, or issue On-Product Mark communications that are in breach of the present Claims Framework, they will receive an official warning from the BCI Secretariat. The warning will state in what respect the member has breached our requirements, and will outline corrective actions or consequences, depending on the nature of the breach. Examples of potential breaches and BCI responses include:
NOTE: Once the On-Product Mark is live, BCI reserves the right to use it’s imagery as in appropriate external communications (including but not limited to: Newsfeed posts, Members Newsflashes, Outreach Presentations and the Communications Showcase).