ISEAL awards Better Cotton full membership status

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.

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Better Cotton Achieves ISEAL Membership

We are delighted to announce that BCI’s application to join the ISEAL Alliance has been approved and BCI has now become an associate member of ISEAL. ISEAL is the global membership association for sustainability standards, and includes as members some of the most recognised and credible standards systems in the world, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) UTZ Certified, Fairtrade and RainforestAlliance. All members must embrace the ISEAL Credibility Principles, meet the entry level criteria of ISEAL’sCodes of Good Practice,agree to fully comply with the Codes within a set time frame, and commit to continuous learning and improvement.Since being established in 2005, BCI has been working hard to build the system that follows good practices as recommended by ISEAL.

Patrick Laine, CEO, BCI: ”With more than 450 sustainability initiatives being implemented around the globe, it is understandable that companies are unsure about which ones to commit to. Adoption of ISEAL practices by sustainability initiatives provides companies assurance that the initiative is credible, and not just a marketing program or awareness-raising campaign.BCI is delighted that its program has received this level of recognition.”

Karin Kreider, Executive Director, ISEAL: ”ISEAL applauds the Better Cotton Initiative on all of the effort the organisation has put in to become an ISEAL associate member and demonstrate that its global standards programme follows credible and effective practices. We are thrilled to have such an influential initiative in the cotton sector joining the ISEAL Alliance and committing to working alongside other sustainability standards to deliver positive impacts.”

Being an ISEAL member, full or associate, is a sign of trust that a Standards System is credible and has been developed following globally recognised good practices. With the recognition of ISEAL, prospective BCI members can have confidence that by supporting Better Cotton, they are supporting a more sustainable future for the cotton sector as a whole.

Follow these links to learn more about ISEAL and the Better Cotton Standards System.To read the announcement on ISEAL’s website, click here.



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