Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

  • BCI operates as a not-for-profit organization through a cooperation with group of organizations that together define a better and more sustainable way of growing cotton
  • Why care: Addressing sustainability issues related to cotton agriculture is important for people growing it, important for the environment it´s grown it and for all the industries relying on the fibre for day to day business, taking care of the weakest part of the cotton production chain: the farmers
  • How care:
    • supporting and training farmers in growing Better Cotton, through working with experienced partners at field level.
    • regular farm assessment and measurement of results through consistent results indicators, encouraging farmers to continuously improve
    • connecting supply and demand in the Better Cotton supply chain
    • monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to measure progress/change, to ensure that Better Cotton delivers the intended impact.

Sustainability challenges

American cotton farmers still face sustainability challenges.

-In many parts of the US Cotton Belt, farmers are struggling to manage weeds that have developed resistance to common herbicides, making it necessary to use different materials and/or herbicide rotations to mitigate resistance.

-California, known for its long-staple varieties, has experienced a multi-year drought, making irrigation water both scarce and costly.

In other regions, like West Texas, water tables are falling, compelling farmers to invest in more efficient irrigation methods, or transition to less water-intensive crops. Some Better Cotton farmers are installing drip irrigation, which can reduce irrigation water needs by up to 50%.

In the 2017-18 cotton season, 360 licensed BCI farms in 14 states produced 245,000 metric tonnes (1.1 million bales) of Better Cotton on 218,000 hectares – accounting for 5% of US cotton production.

GLOBAL GOAL – 30% of global cotton production = BCI


1) Principles and Criteria
BCI Farmers minimise the harmful impact of crop protection practices
BCI Farmers promote water stewardship
BCI Farmers care for the health of the soil BCI Farmers care for and preserve fibre quality
BCI Farmers enhance biodiversity and use land responsibly
BCI Farmers promote decent work
BCI Farmers operate an effective management system

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