Global non-profit organisation Better Cotton is making revisions to its Better Cotton Principles & Criteria, which are a key part of the Better Cotton Standard System.

The Better Cotton Standard System is used by over 2.7 million cotton farmers around the world and it is designed to drive the cotton sector towards a more sustainable and climate-friendly future.

Chelsea Reinhardt, Director of Standards and Assurance at Better Cotton explains: “At Better Cotton, we believe in continuous improvement – not only for Better Cotton Farmers, but for ourselves as well.”

She adds: “In line with codes of good practices for voluntary standards, we periodically review the Better Cotton Principles & Criteria. This helps to ensure we keep up with innovative agricultural and social practices, and the latest scientific and technological research.”

What are the revisions being made to the Better Cotton Standard system?

Better Cotton explains that over the past five years, it has seen increasing focus on areas such as climate change, decent work, and soil health. The Principles & Criteria revision is a chance to ensure the Better Cotton Standard System aligns with leading practice and supports the initiative’s ambitions to drive field-level change.

The Better Cotton Principles & Criteria lay out the global definition of Better Cotton through seven guiding principles. By following these principles, farmers produce cotton in a way that is better for themselves, their communities, and the environment.

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The revision process will include extensive consultation and engagement from all Better Cotton stakeholders, from producers and worker representatives to technical experts, other cotton initiatives, and retailers and brands. The revision process is expected to run from October 2021 through to early 2023.

There will be a public consultation period in late 2022. Better Cotton has said it will reveal more details closer to the consultation period.

How can the apparel industry get involved with the revision process?

The revision process will be supported by several technical working groups who will work closely with Better Cotton to revise the current sustainability indicators within the Principles & Criteria.

Better Cotton is inviting those with expertise in one of these key areas and those who are familiar with the Better Cotton programme and Principles & Criteria to apply to be a part of a working group:

  • Decent Work & Gender
  • Crop Protection
  • Natural Resources Management