2005

A multi-stakeholder ‘round table’ of commodity experts led by WWF meets to discuss the future of sustainability in each sector; solutions for each sector’s farmers; and the environment. One of the ideas is the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). Organisations including adidas, Gap, H&M, Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO), International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), International Finance Corporation, IKEA, Organic Exchange, Oxfam, Pesticides Action Network (PAN) UK and WWF pledge their support.

2006-2009

Preparation Phase

A team examines the potential for supply and demand of Better Cotton – cotton that is better for its growers and their environments. Global and civil society organisations and brands register their interest.

2009

BCI is launched. The first Better Cotton global standard is published.

2010

Implementation Phase

The organisation focuses on Brazil, India, Pakistan and West & Central Africa. The regions vary in climate, farm size, agricultural methods and environmental and social conditions. The diversity allows us to test the concept of Better Cotton and refine it for roll-out in other countries.

2011

First harvests of Better Cotton in Brazil, India, Mali and Pakistan.

2012

First harvest of Better Cotton in China.

2013

Expansion Phase

BCI focuses on training more farmers, growing Better Cotton supply and demand, and increasing membership. First harvests of Better Cotton in Tajikistan, Turkey and Mozambique. An online platform to track volumes of Better Cotton through the supply chain is launched.

2014

Australia

Cotton Australia’s myBMP standard and ABRAPA’s ABR standard (Brazil) are successfully benchmarked with the Better Cotton Standard System. Farmers in these programmes can opt to sell their crop as Better Cotton. First harvests of Better Cotton in Australia and Senegal.

2015

Better Cotton partners with the Israel Cotton Production and Marketing Board. Israeli farmers join the Better Cotton programme.

2016

Mainstreaming Phase

The Better Cotton Fast Track Programme is launched to invest in field-level programmes. (It will later become the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund.) Governments and trade associations start adopting the Better Cotton Standard System.

2017

First harvests of Better Cotton in Kazakhstan and South Africa.

2018

Two million farmers in 21 countries are trained on more sustainable practices, receive their Better Cotton licenses and produce over five million tonnes of Better Cotton, the equivalent of 8 million pairs of jeans. Retailer and Brand Members source more than one million tonnes of Better Cotton.

2019

10th anniversary

Our 10th anniversary. More than 20% of global cotton production is now Better Cotton.
 

2020

The Mainstreaming Phase ends and Better Cotton reviews its targets. The Covid-19 pandemic sees us adapt to deliver remote training, assurance and licensing activities. Better Cotton now has more than 2,000 members.

2021

Our 2030 strategy and new brand identity to be launched.

2030 Strategy

Later in 2021 we will be launching our strategy to take us to 2030.