Better Cotton General Assembly to Take Place Virtually on 9 June 2020

The BCI General Assembly is the biennial gathering of BCI Members across all BCI membership categories, to elect the BCI Council (the governing body of the organisation) and receive key updates from the BCI Leadership Team.

While the 2020 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference in Lisbon has been postponed to 2-4 March 2021 in response to the current situation regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19 and its global impact on health and travel, the continuity of the BCI governance must proceed as planned.

The virtual BCI General Assembly meeting will take place on Tuesday 9 June. The meeting will take place twice, to enable members across multiple time zones to participate.

Meeting 1 – For Asia, Africa and Europe: 08:00 CET

Meeting 2 – For Americas and Europe: 16:00 CET

Online registration details will be shared with BCI Members shortly.

Read more

Welcoming Marc Lewkowitz as Better Cotton’s New Council Chair

We are delighted to announce that Marc Lewkowitzhasbeen elected as the new Chairperson of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) Council.

Marc Lewkowitz is President and CEO of Supima, the promotional and marketing organisation for American Pima cotton growers. He began his career in 1990, when he entered into the cotton industry through a family-owned gin in Paraguay and has worked as a trader and manager for firms including ContiCotton, Merrill Lynch, Itochu Cotton and Anderson Clayton/Queensland Cotton. Lewkowitz has also served as a member of the BCI Council since June 2016 and as an advisor to the Board of Cotton Council International since February 2013.

I am honoured to have been elected to serve as Chair of the BCI Council. It is an exciting time as BCI celebrates its 10th anniversary this year along with some incredible milestones. We are also looking ahead to the next decade and developing BCI’s 2030 strategy. I look forward to working collaboratively with BCI Members and Partners to ensure BCI continues to drive sustainability in cotton production,” said Marc Lewkowitz, BCI Council Chair.

Marc succeeds Barry Clarke, an independent member and Chairperson since 2017. On stepping down from his position, Barry commented;

It has been a great privilege to serve on the BCI Council for the past six years and to see the successful outcome of the plans we laid together for the future of sustainable cotton. We have made an encouraging start but have so much more to do. All sustainability initiatives face complex challenges but BCI is set for success with collaborative members and outstanding leadership. It will thrive under its experienced executive team, strong Council and highly qualified new Chair.”

TheBCI Councilis elected by BCI Members and is responsible for ensuring the organisation has a clear strategic direction and policy to fulfil its mission ofmaking global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future. Council Memberscome from organisations representing four of BCI’s membership categories (retailers and brands, suppliers and manufacturers, civil society and producer organisations), supplemented by up to three additionalindependent members.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Barry for his contribution to BCI over the past few years and to welcome Marc Lewkowitz into his new role.

Find out more about the BCI Council.

Read more

H&M, Cotton Australia and Basil Commodities Join the BCI Council


We are pleased to announce the results of the 2018 BCI Council Election.

The Council Election was conducted 14-18 May via an online platform. There was one seat eligible for election in each of the membership categories listed below. Here is a list of the successful candidates. You can find the full resultshere.

Producer Organisations
Cotton Australia, Simon Corish

Suppliers and Manufacturers
Basil Commodities, Pathik Patel

Retailers and Brands
Hennes & Mauritz, Harsha Vardhan

About the BCI Council

The Council is an elected board whose role it is to ensure that BCI has a clear strategic direction and adequate policy to successfully fulfil its mission. Council Membersare organisations representing the different membership categories: civil society; producers; retailers and brands; and suppliers and manufacturers.

How is the Council Formed?
The General Assembly, consisting of all BCI Members, is the ultimate authority of BCI and elects a Council to represent it. Positions are open to all Members (except Associate Members). Each membership category has three seats, two elected and one appointed, for a total of 12. Once elected, the council has the option to appoint up to three additional independent Council Members. See all BCI Council Members here.

About the Better Cotton Initiative
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a global not-for-profit organisation, is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. Last year, together with our partners we provided training on more sustainable agricultural practices to 1.6 million farmers from 23 countries. We are truly a joint effort, encompassing organisations all the way from farms to fashion and textile brands, driving the cotton sector towards sustainability. Thanks to these efforts, Better Cotton accounts for around 12% of global cotton production. BCI aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. By 2020, our goal is to train 5 million farmers worldwide on more sustainable agricultural practises, and account for 30% of global cotton production.

Read more

Better Cotton appoints Chief Operating Officer

BCI announces the appointment of Lena Staafgard, formerly Programme Director-Global Supply, as Chief Operating Officer reporting to Alan McClay, CEO. In her new role, Lena will oversee the global operational effectiveness of the organisation, including the supply programme.

Lena Staafgard joined BCI in 2010 as Business Director overseeing membership, fundraising, finance, HR and operations. In 2015, she transitioned to the role of Programme Director-Global Supply and was responsible for national government engagement and implementation of the Better Cotton Standard at field level in all countries of operation. Lena developed a new global fund, the BCI Growth & Innovation Fund, in partnership with IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, which supports Better Cotton projects in eight countries around the globe. Prior to joining BCI, she worked for many years at Forum for the Future in London, advising the private sector on how to integrate sustainability into their business models and strategies.

“The fast expansion and ambitious plans of BCI have prompted us to strengthen the management structure of the organization with the creation of the new role of COO, overseeing global operations. We are delighted that Lena is stepping into this role, where she will be applying her skills and experience to strengthen organisational efficiency and accelerate the growth of BCI,’ commented Alan McClay, CEO of BCI, on the new appointment.

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, by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. In 2015, BCI trained 1.5 million farmers who produced 2.7 million MT of Better Cotton lint, equalling 12% of global cotton production.

Read more

Better Cotton’s Hong Kong general assembly features industry leaders

The BCI 2016 General Assembly on 14 – 15 June in Hong Kong is poised to convene and inspire BCI members from around the world with a distinguished line-up of speakers.

Ranging in topics from transformation in other sectors, to transformative trends in traceability, standards and agricultural research & technology, BCI is proud to welcome these industry leaders:

In addition to the BCI Council elections, this meeting serves as a key BCI event and opportunity to inspire and motive members in their efforts to achieve scalable commodity transformation. Complete meeting details are online:

Prior to the BCI 2016 General Assembly, BCI is hosting a Recruitment Meeting on 13 June in Hong Kong. This is open to the industry and a great platform for updates on the Better Cotton Standard System and global supply. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from members like Nike, Inc. and Dayao Textile Co., and network with the BCI Leadership Team. Limited seats are still available for this recruitment meeting, go to for more details.


Read more

Share this page