As the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) enters its tenth year, CEO Alan McClay has outlined a series of actions the organisation will take in 2019, including the launch of an updated Better Cotton Claims Framework.

The global not-for-profit organisation is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world with more than 1,400 members and working with 60 field-level partners, to reach and train 1.6m cotton farmers in 23 countries.

While McClay says BCI has achieved a lot in the past ten years, he acknowledges there is a long way to go to ensure global cotton production is “better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future”.

“As BCI heads towards its second decade, the organisation’s focus is firmly fixed on the future and building a strategy to 2030,” he says. “We are truly a collaborative effort and we continue to work with all of our stakeholders to ensure BCI and the Better Cotton Standard System effectively address cotton production challenges while meeting the sourcing needs of our members”.

One such example is an update of its Better Cotton Claims Framework.

Previously referred to as BCI Communication Rules, the Better Cotton Claims Framework has been designed as the key vehicle which allows members to make positive and credible claims about their own Better Cotton activities, and links these activities directly to the value and impact of Better Cotton in terms of sustainable cotton production, and improved livelihoods for cotton-growing communities.

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“We recognise that the need for BCI members to communicate about sustainability is growing and evolving, and the Better Cotton Claims Framework must evolve in parallel with these growing market and consumer expectations,” McClay says.

“At the beginning of the year, we launched a review of the framework. Following a period of consultation, the Better Cotton Claims Framework V2.0 will be released in the spring. We are also continuing to refine the monitoring and evaluation of our field-level work in order to facilitate credible communications about the outcomes and impacts of members’ investments in more sustainable cotton production.”

In addition, BCI is to turn its attention to the SDGs and explore it and its members can work to further align with the goals.  

“Over the last year, we conducted a mapping exercise whereby we compared BCI’s organisational objectives to the 17 Goals and related targets to determine where BCI is driving them in a tangible way. We identified 10 SDGs where BCI is making robust contributions,” McClay says.