Who We Are
Better Cotton is the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton. Our mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment.
Cotton is one of the world’s most important renewable natural resources. Safeguarding the growing and production of it is essential. In 2005, as part of a ’round-table’ initiative convened by WWF, a group of visionary organisations came together to make sure it had a sustainable future. Initial support came from organisations such as adidas, Gap Inc., H&M, ICCO Cooperation, IKEA, International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Organic Exchange, Oxfam, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK and WWF.
We are the architects of multi-stakeholder commitment
Today our vision is a reality. The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), or just Better Cotton for short, is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. In just over a decade, we have convinced stakeholders who span the industry to be our partners. Farmers, ginners, spinners, suppliers, manufacturers, brand owners, retailers, civil society organisations, donors and governments. This adds up to more than 2,100 members. They buy into our approach of training farming communities to produce cotton in ways that improve things for everyone and everything connected with this fluffy white staple.
We are the guardians of the farmer-centric approach
With the support of our stakeholders, we can focus on who and what matter in a sustainable future: farmers, farmworkers, their communities, and their education, knowledge and well-being. Working with close to 70 different field-level partners, we continue to reach more and more of the world’s cotton-farming communities. Nearly all of them – farmers and farm workers – work on smallholdings less than 20 hectares in size. Helping them to enjoy better yields, improved working conditions and greater financial security has been transformative. Over 2.4 million farmers now have a licence to sell their cotton as Better Cotton. In total, our programmes have reached almost 4 million people whose working lives are connected to cotton production.
We are the drivers of a holistic plan
We want to support farming communities socially, environmentally and economically. This 360-degree approach to growing cotton and to improving lives and livelihoods is as relevant to the tiniest smallholding as it is to the largest industrialised farm. With better soil and water management, less use of pesticides and greater resilience to climate change come opportunities. For smallholders, it means an improved crop and access to market. For farm workers and farming communities, it means decent work, gender empowerment and less inequality. For farmers operating on an industrial scale, it means embracing new and more innovative practices, where sustainability translates into profitability.
We are Better Cotton
Our methods are already yielding positive results but there remains much to do. Over the next ten years, we will continue towards our goal of transforming the cotton sector. To implement planned change while being ready to respond to unforeseeable events.
We are driven on by the realisation that Better Cotton is not a commodity but a cause. It is shared by everyone who cares about cotton and its sustainable future. So, join us and the cotton-producing community, and be part of something better.