BCI Council Elections 2021: Deadline for Member Applications Extended

 
The deadline for BCI Members to apply for a position on the BCI Council has been extended to 21 January 2021.

Elected by BCI Members, the BCI Council ensures the organisation has a clear strategic direction and policy to fulfil its mission of making global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future.

The Council is equally represented by four BCI membership categories, reflecting the entire cotton supply chain: retailers and brands, suppliers and manufacturers, civil society and producer organisations. There are three seats per membership category, supplemented by up to three additional independent members.

In the upcoming 2021 elections, four seats are up for election, one in each of the following BCI membership categories:

  • Producer Organisations
  • Suppliers and Manufacturers
  • Retailers and Brands
  • Civil Society

Interested BCI Members are invited to submit applications to BCI by 21 January 2021.

BCI Members can find out more and access the application package here.

This is a great opportunity for BCI Members to represent their area of the cotton supply chain, share valuable industry insights, and contribute to BCI’s strategic direction in the coming years, while being part of an exemplary multi-stakeholder governance body.

The electronic elections will take place in February 2021 and the incoming Council will begin its mandate in late March 2021. Please send any questions relating to the elections to:[email protected].

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. Council positions are open to all BCI Members (except Associate Members). Each membership category has three seats, two elected and one appointed, forming a total of 12 seats. Once elected, the Council has the option to appoint up to three additional independent Council Members. More information on the current composition and open positions can be found in the application package.

View the current BCI Council here.

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Better Cotton’s Membership Growth Continues in 2020

In the first half of 2020, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) welcomed 210 new members. BCI works with members across the cotton supply chain to ensure there is continuous demand for and supply of Better Cotton – cotton produced by licensed BCI Farmers in line with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria.

New members in the first half of 2020 included 32 retailers and brands from 15 countries, 157 suppliers and manufacturers, and 21 cotton traders.

The retailers and brands that joined BCI in the first half of the year include: 7 For All Mankind, A.S. Watson BV, ABASIC S.L., ADT Group Holdings Pty Ltd, All Saints, AMC Textil Ltda, Brown Thomas Arnotts, C. & J. Clark International Ltd, Cawo Textil GmbH & Co., CIVAD, Craghoppers Ltd, Fynch-Hatton GmbH, Grupo Guararapes, Holy Fashion Group, Kentaur, Kesko, Lerros Modern GmbH, Love for Denim B.V., Magic Apparels Ltd, Margaret Howell, Matalan Retail Ltd, Nelly AB, Pepkor UK Retail Ltd, Pick n Pay Clothing, Pimkie Diramode, Seed Heritage, TFG Brands Ltd, Tommy Bahama, Uchino Co., Ltd, Van Gils Fashion B.V., Weber & Ott AG and Whitbread plc.

BCI’s demand-driven funding model means that its Retailer and Brand Member sourcing of cotton as “Better Cotton’ directly translates into increased investment in training for cotton farmers on more sustainable practices. At the time of writing, collective Better Cotton uptake by Retailer and Brand Members has already surpassed 794,000 metric tonnes this year, on track to exceed the 2019 uptake if sourcing continues at the current rate.

BCI Supplier and Manufacturer Members support the transformation of the cotton sector by sourcing increased volumes of Better Cotton for BCI Retailer and Brand Members – forming a critical link between Better Cotton supply and demand. In the first half of the year, new Supplier and Manufacturer Members joined from 26 countries including Algeria, Brazil, Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, US and Vietnam.

You can find a list of all new members who joined in the first half of 2020 here.

Total BCI membership has now surpassed 2,000 members. The full list of all BCI Members is online here.

Organisations interested in becoming a BCI Member and supporting cotton farmers to embed more sustainable farming practices around the globe are invited to visit the membership page on the BCI website or get in touch with the BCI Membership Team.

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Applications Are Open for the Better Cotton 2020 Council Elections

Elected by BCI Members, the BCI Council ensures the organisation has clear strategic direction and policy to fulfil its mission of making global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future.

The Council is equally represented by four BCI membership categories, reflecting the entire cotton supply chain and beyond: retailers and brands, suppliers and manufacturers, civil society and producer organisations. There are three seats per membership caucus, supplemented by up to three additional independent members.

Every two years, during the BCI General Assembly, BCI Members have the opportunity to elect their new BCI Council representatives whose seats are up for election at the end of their three-year term. This year, the General Assembly will take place virtually on Tuesday 9 June (online registration will open soon).

Ahead of the General Assembly, BCI is accepting applications for the 2020 Council elections.

BCI Members can download the election application package here. The current Council composition and open seats can be found in the application package.

This is a great opportunity for BCI Members to represent their area of the cotton supply chain, share valuable industry insights, and contribute to BCI’s strategic direction in the coming years, while being part of an exemplary multi-stakeholder governance body.

View the current BCI Council here.

If you are interested in representing your organisation on the BCI Council and have any questions, please contact Eren Ozalay at [email protected].

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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.

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Better Cotton Welcomes More Than 210 New Members in Second Half of 2019

 
In the second half of 2019, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) welcomed more than 210 new members across its membership categories. BCI works with members across the cotton supply chain and beyond to ensure there is continuous demand and supply of Better Cotton – cotton produced by licensed BCI Farmers in line with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria.

New members in the second half of 2019 included 32 retailers and brands from 13 countries, 179 suppliers and manufacturers and three civil society organisations.

The civil society organisations that joined BCI in the second half of the year are the Indira Priya Darsini Women’s Welfare Association (India), which addresses women’s empowerment, sustainable agriculture, child labour, skill development and training; the Sustainability Innovation Advocacy Foundation Pakistan, an organisation of researchers, scientists and policy scholars committed to sustainable development; and the Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organisation, which seeks to improve the socio-economic conditions of disadvantaged, vulnerable and rural communities.

BCI was also joined by a number of retailers and brands in the second half of 2019. New members are Acturus Capital SL (El Ganso), Amazon Services, AS Colour, Biniaraix Manufacturing SLU (Camper), Capri S.r.L, Centrale d’Achats Kidiliz, Debenhams, Decjuba, Drykorn Modevertriebs GMBH & Co., Factory X, General Pants Co, Hawes and Curtis, House of Anita Dongre Limited,Hunkem√∂ller, Indicode Jeans, J Barbour and Sons Ltd, J.O.G. Group B.V., JoJo Maman B√©b√©, Keen & Toms Holding Limited – Hypnos Beds, Kontoor Brands Inc., Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd, M&Co, Mamiye Brothers, Medanta Oy, Mulberry Company (Design) Ltd, Oasis and Warehouse Ltd, PWT Group A/S, River Island Clothing Co. Ltd, Schoolblazer, Shop Direct Home Shopping Limited, The Cotton Group SA/NV (B&C Collection) and The Warehouse Group Limited.

In total, 66 new retailers and brands joined BCI in 2019. Of these 66 new members, 52 had already started sourcing cotton as Better Cotton by the end of the year. This reinforces the trend we see, that more sustainable materials are an important part of any sustainability programme in the fashion and retail sector.

Retailer and brand member sourcing of cotton as “Better Cotton’ directly translates into increased investment in training for cotton farmers on more sustainable practices, due to BCI’sdemand–drivenfunding model. The total uptake of Better Cotton by BCI Retailer and Brand Members in 2019 surpassed 1.5 million metric tonnes – a record for BCI.

In addition to new retailers, new supplier and manufacturer members joined from 26 countries, including Bangladesh, Belgium, Egypt, Malaysia, Moldova, Netherlands, Peru, Thailand and Vietnam. Suppliers and manufacturers support the transformation of the cotton sector by joining BCI and sourcing increased volumes of Better Cotton for BCI Retailer and Brand Members – forming a critical link between Better Cotton supply and demand.

At the end of 2019, BCI had welcomed more than 400 new members across its membership categories, closing the year with a total of 1,842 members. You can find a full list of BCI Membershere.

If your organisation is interested in becoming a BCI Member and supporting more sustainable cotton farming practices around the globe, please visit themembership pageon the BCI website,or get in touch with theBCI Membership Team.

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Better Cotton’s Membership Grows as New Organisations Support More Sustainable Cotton Farming

 
In the first half of 2019, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) welcomed 200 new members across its membership categories. BCI works with members across the cotton supply chain to ensure there is continuous demand and supply of Better Cotton – cotton produced by licensed BCI Farmers in line with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria.

New members in the first half of 2019 included 34 retailers and brands from 13 countries, 162 suppliers and manufacturers, two civil society organisations, and one field-level producer organisation.

The retailers and brands that joined BCI in the first half of the year include ANTA International (China), Asics Corporation (Japan), Blue Illusion (Australia), Fillippa K (Sweden), Giorgio Armani Operations (Italy), Kiabi (France),Kohl’s Department Stores (United States), MAC Mode (Germany), Melco Resorts and Entertainment (China), Mos Mosh (Denmark), O’Neill Europe (Netherlands), SOK Corporation (Finland), Voice Norge (Norway), Walmart (United States) and Whistles (United Kingdom).You can find a full list of BCI Members here.

BCI’sdemand–drivenfunding model means that retailer and brand member sourcing of cotton as “Better Cotton’ directly translates into increased investment in training for cotton farmers on more sustainable practices. At the time of writing, Better Cotton uptake by these members has already surpassed one million metric tonnes this year, exceeding 2018’s uptake.

BCI’s newest civil society members are the HCV Network (United Kingdom) and the Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain (Japan). HCV Network strives to protect high conservation values in areas where the expansion of forestry and agriculture may put important forests, biodiversity and local communities at risk, while the Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain is a non-governmental organisation promoting a sustainable supply chain in Japan.

Supplier and manufacturer members support the transformation of the cotton sector by joining BCI and sourcing increased volumes of Better Cotton for BCI Retailer and Brand Members – forming a critical link between Better Cotton supply and demand. In the first half of the year, new members joined from 25 countries including Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

At the end of the first half of 2019, BCI membership totalled more than 1,600 members.You can find a full list of BCI Members here.

If your organisation is interested in becoming a BCI Member and supporting cotton farmers to embed more sustainable farming practices around the globe, please visit the membership pageon the BCI website,or get in touch with the BCI Membership Team.

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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.

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Five Brands and One Civil Society Organisation Have Joined Better Cotton, Showing Their Support to Cotton Farmers Around the Globe

During Q3 2018, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) welcomed Action Service & Distributie B.V.(the Netherlands), Deckers Outdoor Corporation (United States), El Corte Inglés (Spain), J P Boden Ltd.(United Kingdom), and Nederlandse dassenfabriek Micro Verkoop B.V. (the Netherlands) asthe newest Retailer and Brand Members to join BCI.

BCI also welcomed Gram Unnati Foundation (India) as the newest BCI Civil Society Member.

At the end of Q3 2018, more than 190 new organisations (across all BCI membership categories) had joined BCI, taking total membership to more than 1,390 members. You can find all BCI Members here.

What it means to be a BCI Retailer and Brand Member

BCI Retailer and Brand Members are committed to supporting a more sustainable future for cotton production. They pay a fee to BCI based on the amount of cotton they sourceas Better Cotton*.This fee is invested into training 1.6 million BCI Farmers on more sustainable agricultural practices like reducing inputs (water, pesticides) and addressing gender inequality and child labour issues.

What it means to be a BCI Civil Society Member
Civil Society Members are progressive not-for-profit organisations who are taking decisive steps towards securing a more sustainable future for cotton production by partnering with the Better Cotton Initiative.

*BCI uses a supply chain model called Mass Balance. As cotton moves through the supply chain and is converted into different products (for example, yarn, fabric and garments), credits are also passed along the supply chain. These creditsrepresentvolumes of Better Cotton a BCI Retailer or Brand Member has ordered. We define this as “sourcing’ Better Cotton. Sourcing volumes are tracked by BCI’s online sourcing platform. Physically traceable Better Cotton does not end up in the hands of the retailer that placed the order; however, the farmer benefits from the demand for Better Cotton in equivalent volumes to that “sourced’. Remember, knowing where the Better Cotton ends up does not benefit BCI Farmers. A brand cannot claim that a product they sell physically contains Better Cotton.

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Sector-Wide Engagement Drives Large-Scale Change

 
BCI aims for large-scale transformation of global cotton production. We strive to enable as many cotton farmers as possible to gain access to knowledge and tools to improve the environmental, social and economic sustainability of cotton production, and to benefit from implementing improved practices at field-level.

To bring about market transformation and develop Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity, we must be able to scale the BCI programme. BCI has come a long way since the first harvest of Better Cotton in the 2010-11 cotton season – after just eight seasons, BCI has reached nearly 2 million farmers.

Designed to Achieve Scale

  • Sector-Wide: We learnt that in order to lay the foundation for transformational change within the cotton sector and to achieve scale, it was imperative to include diverse stakeholders, all working towards the same goal. Today we are truly a joint effort, uniting more than 1,350 organisations all the way from farms, to fashion and textile brands, to civil society organisations, driving the entire cotton sector towards sustainability.
  • Training Partners: BCI does not train cotton farmers directly, instead we work with trusted Strategic and Implementing Partners across the world, who invest considerable time and funds in implementing the Better Cotton Standard System. In the 2016-17 season we worked with 59 Strategic and Implementing Partners in 21 countries.
  • Collaboration with Other Standards: BCI recognises three other sustainable cotton standards as equivalent to the Better Cotton Standard: myBMP, managed by Cotton Australia; ABR, managed by ABRAPA; and CmiA, managed by the Aid by Trade Foundation. Cotton produced to these standards can also be sold as Better Cotton. In addition, BCI looks for opportunities to collaborate with other sustainable cotton initiatives –our collaboration with Cotton 2040 has already led to the launch of CottonUP, a guide which helps retailers and brands scale their use of more sustainable cotton including Better Cotton, organic, Fairtrade, Cotton Made in Africa, myBMP and recycled cotton.
  • Accessibility: There are no additional costs for smallholder farmers to join the BCI programme and to obtain a license to grow and sell Better Cotton. This significantly reduces the barriers to entry. Farmers receive access to training on more sustainable agricultural practices with a focus on continuous improvement.
  • Mass Balance Chain of Custody:Mass Balance is a supply chain methodology, which simply put,means what comes out must balance with what went in. This methodology means Better Cotton can be mixed with conventional cotton in the supply chain. By using a system of Mass Balance, BCI is able to reach more farmers, encourage more sustainable practices to be implemented around the world. Ultimately, BCI is focused on making cotton production better for farmers, the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future. Knowing where the Better Cotton ends up does not benefit BCI Farmers. Learn more about Mass Balance here.
  • The Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund: The Fund utilises the Volume Based Fee paid by Retailer and Brand Members, seeks to obtain match funding from public and private donors, and makes strategic investments into Better Cotton projects in the countries where projects have the potential to achieve both impact and scale. This allows BCI and its Partners to reach more regions, train more farmers and produce more Better Cotton, dramatically accelerating the scale-up of Better Cotton worldwide.

Thanks to the continued support of our Members, Partners and donors, from across the entire cotton sector, we are on track to meet our 2020 target – to reach and train 5 million farmers and ensure that Better Cotton accounts for 30% of global cotton production.

You can read more about BCI’s progress in the BCI 2017 Annual Report.

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