When positive change is created, people or companies often want to communicate about it. Better Cotton is no different.
A benefit of Better Cotton membership is being able to make ‘claims’ about commitments made to Better Cotton — and the impact of those commitments.
However, it is crucial that the claims being made are not misleading, which is why we are committed to ensuring that claims made about Better Cotton are credible, transparent, and accurate.
What is a sustainability claim?
In its Claims Good Practice Guide, ISEAL defines a sustainability claim as
a message used to set apart and promote a product, process, business or service with reference to one or more of the three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic.
Better Cotton Claims Framework
The Better Cotton Claims Framework is one component of the Better Cotton Standard System. It was created through a multi-stakeholder consultation process and is subject to an annual review. The Claims Framework equips our members to make credible and positive claims about Better Cotton while allowing flexibility in how to communicate about their commitment. It provides guidelines on what can and can’t be said according to a member’s cotton sourcing threshold as well as the approval process for a claim.
The Better Cotton Claims Framework
We also have many other communications assets available for members to use, such as images, videos, ready-made materials and Stories from the Field. By combining claims in the framework with these other resources, Better Cotton Members can articulate a compelling story that is meaningful to them and their customers.
Members should always refer to the Better Cotton Claims Framework to ensure that the context in which they want to use a claim is not in breach of their agreed conduct as a member.
The Better Cotton logo and mass balance
To learn more about the Better Cotton on-product mark and how this can be used by Retailer and Brand Members in conjunction with our system of mass balance, visit our What’s Behind the Logo? webpage.
The policy landscape of sustainability claims is fast evolving. To understand how these changes will affect member claims, Better Cotton liaises with legislative bodies wherever possible. We welcome any new information on this topic from members and other stakeholders.
In May 2021, new guidance was released on sustainability claims by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets ACM. This guidance is particularly relevant to Better Cotton Members using the on-product mark (OPM) or making any other form of product-level sustainability claims. Note that the guidance applies not only to Dutch brands, but to all brands selling products in the Dutch market. Please view our advice for members on the ACM legislation.
The Norwegian Consumer Authority updated its legislation with regards to how products are marketed as sustainable in Norway. New legislation, which was published in January and came into effect in March 2020, requires brands to ensure that when a mass balance system is in use, a ‘transparent communications approach’ is taken. We understand that brands who communicate in line with the Better Cotton Claims Framework V2.0 by March 2020 will not be affected by these changes. This includes transitioning to the new Better Cotton on-product mark and including information about mass balance on your brand/commerce website.
Whilst efforts have been made to ensure that the claims outlined within the Claims Framework are transparent and never misleading, the choice to make claims, and the responsibility to ensure claims comply with relevant laws and legislation, lies with the Better Cotton Member. We cannot guarantee compliance with local legal requirements and we always recommend that members consult their own legal teams to ensure that claims are appropriate for the markets in which they operate.
Contact our member communications team via the contact form if you have any questions about the Better Cotton Claims Framework, or would like to learn more.