Sustainable Cotton Reaches 22% of Global Production as 2.3 Million Farmers Receive Training on Improved Agricultural Practices

Announcements Monday, June 29th, 2020

 
Today, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) launched its 2019 Annual Report. In the report, BCI shares that Better Cotton – cotton produced by licensed BCI Farmers in line with the initiative’s Better Cotton Principles and Criteria – now accounts for 22% of global cotton production*.

In the 2018-19 cotton season, together with expert on-the-ground Implementing Partners and with support from more than 1,800 members, BCI provided training on more sustainable agricultural practices to 2.3 million cotton farmers – 2.1 million gained a license to sell Better Cotton. This drove the volume of more sustainably produced cotton available on the global market to a new level.

At the opposite end of the supply chain, BCI’s Retailer and Brand Members passed a significant milestone at the end of 2019, sourcing more than 1.5 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton ­– a record for BCI. That’s a 40% increase on 2018 and sends a clear signal to the market that Better Cotton is becoming a sustainable mainstream commodity. Better Cotton uptake now accounts for 6% of global cotton production.

It is particularly pleasing to share the progress BCI is making, thanks to the concerted efforts of our members, partners and other stakeholders, towards our 2020 targets. With two more cotton seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21) within which to make further advances at field level, we are committed to not only continuing to deliver beneficial change at field level, but also to learning from the experience and adapting to become more effective. We do not yet know how close we will come to our 2020 targets, and we are still assessing how the current Covid-19 pandemic will impact our efforts. But one thing is certain, we have made significant and undeniable progress over the past 10 years, and there are many successes to celebrate.” – Alan McClay, CEO, BCI.

2019 Report Highlights

  • Better Cotton was grown in 23 countries in the 2018-19 cotton season.
  • Licensed BCI Farmers produced 5.6 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton. That is enough cotton to make approximately 8 billion pairs of jeans, a pair each for every person in the world.
  • Better Cotton now accounts for 22% of global cotton production.
  • BCI and its 76 field-level partners delivered training and support to a total of 2.3 million farmers.
  • 2.1 million cotton farmers received a BCI license to sell their cotton as Better Cotton – 99% are smallholders farming on less than 20 hectares.
  • BCI Retailer and Brand Members sourced 1.5 million metric tonnes of cotton as Better Cotton in 2019 – a record volume.
  • Uptake of Better Cotton now accounts for 6% of global cotton production.
  • BCI welcomed more than 400 new members in 2019.
  • By the end of the year, BCI had 1,842 members across five membership categories, a 29% increase on 2018.

Access the interactive BCI 2019 Annual Report to learn more about our successes, challenges and the progress we are making towards our 2020 targets.

*The percentage has been calculated using ICAC’s 2019 global production figures.