Read more about BCI’s presence in Western China in the dropdown boxes below.

As both the world’s largest cotton producer and a major consumer of cotton, China is a key country for Better Cotton. Sustainable cotton production is a major challenge here, with 24 million farmers depending on cotton cultivation to earn a living and the environmental footprint this represents.

A BCI Representative Office was registered in Shanghai in May 2012 and is recognised in China as a Swiss Trade Association. This structure was chosen to help guarantee the success of Better Cotton in China.

Who grows Better Cotton?

In the 2017-18 season, 79,093 licensed BCI Farmers in China produced 1,188,000 metric tonnes of Better Cotton lint on 524,000 hectares. BCI Farmers in China are organised into large farms that are either renting land from the state or from rural collective economic organisation.

Who are BCI’s Implementing Partners in China?

BCI works with a number of Implementing Partners in China including: Solidaridad China; Cotton Connect China; Songzi Agriculture Technology Promotion Center; Binzhou Nongxi Cooperative; Yuli Zhong Wang Industry and Trade Company; Guoxin Rural Technical Service Association; Xinjiang Luthai Fengshou Cotton Industry Company; Akesu Jintian Farm Company; Yuli County Zhongliang Cotton Company; HuaFu Top Dyed Melange Yarn Company; Shandong Huitong Textile Company; Xinjiang Taichang Industrial Company; Changzhou Keteng Textile Company

When is cotton grown in China?

In China, cotton is sown throughout the month of April and harvested from September to November.

Stories from the Field

Find out how a Chinese co-op in Xinjiang is helping more than 275 smallholder farmers to raise their yields and profits. Read more here.

Climate Change Resilience Series: Helping BCI Farmers in China Conserve Water and Raise Yields Despite Extreme Weather.

Announcement: BCI Suspends Licensing in Western China

11 March 2020

BCI is suspending its assurance activities in the Xinjiang region of China for the upcoming cotton season (2020-21) based on the recognition that the operating environment prevents credible assurance and licensing from being executed.

BCI assurance activities for the last season finished in September. There will be no licensed Better Cotton from Xinjiang next season (2020-21).

BCI Review and Expert Task Force in 2020

BCI has contracted a recognised global expert to conduct an external review to document the situation in Western China, evaluate the risk level and propose mitigation and remediation steps, which include supporting BCI’s efforts to define the criteria that must exist before assurance activities can resume in the region.

In addition and with a global focus, BCI is establishing an expert, multi-stakeholder Task Force on Forced Labour and Decent Work to develop recommendations for the BCI Programme and to ensure we operate with integrity – and in accordance with clearly defined environmental and social criteria – everywhere we work. The Task Force is made up of experts as well as representatives from our membership categories and includes organisations such as Solidaridad, Ergon and Impactt. We will share the full list of Task Force participants on the BCI website later this month.

BCI will share key recommendations from both the external review and the Task Force in July.

Support for Farmers

Cotton is grown in areas of the world with formidable challenges, both environmental and social. BCI’s mission dictates that we operate in many of these regions, therefore, we must manage complex, socio-political and economic conditions in order to deliver support and interventions where they will have the most impact.

While we will not license any Better Cotton from Xinjiang for the coming season, we will continue to support farmers in the region during this period.

We remain committed to our mission: to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment in which it grows and better for the sector’s future. These actions put us in a better position to further that mission while upholding the high standards rightly expected by BCI stakeholders. We will continue to engage with all concerned parties and experts to adapt and respond to challenging contexts so that we can further support farming communities and promote more sustainable practices.

Task Force on Forced Labour and Decent Work

Cotton is grown in areas of the world with formidable challenges, both environmental and social. BCI’s mission dictates that we operate in many of these regions, therefore, we must manage complex, socio-political and economic conditions in order to deliver support and interventions where they will have the most impact.

In order to adapt and respond to Decent Work* challenges in particular, BCI is actively engaged in dialogue on Decent Work and forced labour issues with our stakeholders, including civil society organisations, retailers and brands, and expert organisations. These efforts were initiated originally in line with BCI’s aspiration to explore the possibility of developing a BCI Programme in Uzbekistan. Over the last year the focus has broadened to also include increasing concerns about forced labour in cotton production in Xinjiang, China.

Task Force on Forced Labour and Decent Work

Building on this, BCI is working to strengthen the Core Indicators of Better Cotton Principle Six: Decent Work, with an initial focus on Indicator 6.3.1 Forced Labour. To this end, BCI has set up an expert Task Force on Forced Labour and Decent Work to review selected elements of the Better Cotton Standard System. Based on this review, the Task Force will produce recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the system in identifying, preventing, mitigating and remediating forced labour risks. You can find further information about the Task Force below.

Task Force Members

The Task Force on Forced Labour and Decent Work brings together representatives from civil society, retailers, brands and consultancies with a strong expertise in human rights and forced labour issues in supply chains, particularly in the textile sector. The Task Force also draws on the expertise of a project adviser with a background tackling the risks of child and forced labour in cotton harvest at the International Labour Organization, as well as its wider membership.

Civil Society 

  • Patricia Jurewicz, Founder and Vice President | Responsible Sourcing Network
  • Isabelle Rogers, Global Cotton Programme Manager | Solidaridad
  • Chloe Cranston, Business and Human Rights Manager | Anti-Slavery International
  • Shelly Han, Chief of Staff & Director or Engagement | Fair Labour Association
  • Komala Ramachandra, Senior Researcher | Human Rights Watch

Consultancies / Research Organisations 

  • Rosey Hurst, Founder and Director | Impactt
  • Aarti Kapoor, Managing Director | Embode
  • Brett Dodge, Senior Consultant | Ergon

Retailers and Brands

  • Lydia Hopton, Ethical Trade Manager | M&S Clothing and Home
  • Aditi Wanchoo, Senior Manager – Development Partnerships Social & Environmental Affairs | adidas

Project Advisors

  • Stephen McClelland, Independent Senior Consultant

Find out more about the Task Force members here.

Read the Task Force Terms of Reference here.

*Decent Work is defined as work which offers fair pay, security and equal opportunities for learning and progression, in an environment where people feel safe, respected, and able to express their concerns or negotiate better conditions.