The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has launched a revised version of its Better Cotton Chain of Custody (CoC) Guidelines.

The Better Cotton Standard System is a holistic approach to sustainable cotton production, which covers all three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic, and addresses the many challenges of cotton production. 

Its CoC is the key framework that connects demand with supply of Better Cotton and helps to incentivise cotton farmers to adopt more sustainable practices. The CoC Guidelines incorporate two different chain of custody models: product segregation between the farm and gin and mass-balance after the gin level.

BCI has conducted the review to improve clarity, completeness and accuracy of the CoC Guidelines; to improve the implementation of CoC requirements by BCI members and Better Cotton Platform (BCP) suppliers; and to improve the consistency of interpretation of CoC requirements by all users. 

The latest revisions focused predominately on removing outdated CoC requirements, clarifying and strengthening existing requirements, addressing any ambiguous language and restructuring the layout of the document. The V1.4 guidelines now also clearly define and distinguish between mandatory requirements and best practice guidance.

Importantly, the basic Chain of Custody requirements have not changed – BCI still requires a product segregation model in place between farm and gin level (i.e. Better Cotton must be kept segregated from conventional cotton) and a mass-balance chain of custody model is applicable after gin level.  

The new V1.4 guidelines replace the previous V1.3 and will be effective as of 1 August, which is the beginning of the ICAC international cotton season.

Retailers and brands affiliated with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) sourced more than 1.5m metric tonnes of Better Cotton by the end of 2019, a 40% jump on the previous year.

BCI revealed the data last month as part of its 2019 Annual Report and said it marked a new record that “sends a clear signal to the market that Better Cotton is becoming a sustainable mainstream commodity”.