Business case for US producers


  • Meet a global standard that demonstrates your farm’s commitment to safeguard the environment, and the health and well-being of farmers, farm workers and their communities.
  • Join a global effort to protect and improve the long-term viability of the cotton industry.
  • Meet rising brand, retailer and consumer expectations for transparency regarding cotton production practices.


Meeting a global industry standard for sustainability: The Better Cotton Principles and Criteria are developed and overseen by a multi-stakeholder body comprised of major retailers and brands, farmers, suppliers and civil society organisations. BCI is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world and in the 2018-19 cotton season Better Cotton was grown by 2.1 million licensed BCI Farmers and accounted for 22% of global cotton production. This coordinated program includes core criteria that all growers must meet to market Better Cotton, as well as improvement indicators that allow growers to benchmark and improve their sustainability performance over time. These real-world benchmarks allow farmers to compare their own operations’ performance – in integrated pest management, soil, water and habitat conservation, for example – to their peers.

The long-term sustainability of the cotton industry: As consumers, retailers and brands demand greater transparency about the sustainability characteristics of what they purchase, participation in BCI can boost cotton’s social and environmental profile. Cotton farmers and their supporting organisations have a vital interest in adopting and promoting sustainable practices to ensure consumer demand for cotton products is not negatively impacted by concerns about how the raw material is produced.

Access to new customers: BCI is supported by some of the strongest brands, retailers and traders in the world: BCI’s membership based grew by 29% in 2019 to 1,842 members. Many of these companies are setting aggressive targets for Better Cotton purchases. Being part of BCI gives cotton farmers access to this growing new market and customers. US cotton growers and suppliers who move quickly to join BCI and grow Better Cotton may gain an initial competitive advantage by being early adopters, and having first access to growing markets for US grown Better Cotton.

Public and investor confidence: Undergoing BCI-licensing demonstrates a farm’s commitment to managing the environmental and social impacts of cotton farming, an increasingly important consideration for bankers and investors which may assist in both capital raising and debt financing. Being BCI-licensed can also enhance the farm’s reputation and help protect against reputational risks.