• BCI's revised Better Cotton Principles and Criteria (P&Cs) take effect this month.
  • Approved by the BCI Council in November of last year, the revision marks the first major overhaul of the P&Cs .
  • The P&Cs which are central to the Better Cotton Standard System and lay out the global definition of Better Cotton.
The Better Cotton Principles and Criteria (P&Cs) are central to the Better Cotton Standard System and lay out the global definition of Better Cotton

The Better Cotton Principles and Criteria (P&Cs) are central to the Better Cotton Standard System and lay out the global definition of Better Cotton

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is to launch its revised Better Cotton Principles and Criteria (P&Cs) this month in a move that will incorporate several substantial changes.

Approved by the BCI Council in November of last year, the revision marks the first major overhaul of the P&Cs, which are central to the Better Cotton Standard System, and lay out the global definition of Better Cotton. By adhering to the P&Cs, BCI farmers produce cotton in a way that is measurably better for the environment and farming communities.

Firstly, BCI has increased its emphasis on environmental principles.

"Our reinforced approach towards pesticide use and restriction includes phasing out highly hazardous pesticides and banning pesticides listed in the Rotterdam Convention," it says. The use of minimum personal protective equipment (PPE) when applying pesticides has also been integrated.

In addition, the Standard has also shifted focus from a water efficiency to water stewardship approach, in order to notably address collective action towards local sustainable use of water. The water stewardship pilot project launched in October 2017 to test the new approach across small, medium and large farms in India, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan and Mozambique.

And BCI's approach to biodiversity now focuses on the identification, mapping and restoration or protection of natural resources. A new 'land use change' approach, based on high conservation value assessment, is a safeguard against any planned conversion of land for the purpose of growing Better Cotton. The new method will be tested in high-risk countries.

Regarding social issues, the Standard now provides a clear position on gender equality, which is aligned with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work agenda requirements on gender. Guidance on various topics such as child labour, sanitation facilities and equal payment have also been included.

Farmers will be trained on the revised Better Cotton Standard this month.

At the end of last year, BCI said it is well on its way to achieving its target of reaching 5m farmers by 2020, due to a 43% growth in retailer and brand members.

Better Cotton making big strides to hit 2020 target