The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector's future. The goal of BCI is to generate transformative, long-term change in the cotton sector, from field to store, by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.

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Alan McClay, CEO

Overall, we are achieving scale in an exceptionally short time, and building the momentum we need to transform the market.

2015 marked the sixth Better Cotton harvest. Together with our Implementing Partners, we licenced 1.5 million farmers worldwide, who produced 2.6 MT of Better Cotton lint. That’s 11.9% of global cotton production. We saw a 23% increase in participating farmers and a 34% rise in lint, year-on-year. Overall, we are achieving scale in an exceptionally short time, and building the momentum we need to transform the market.

The year was a watershed for BCI, with the Fast Track Programme successfully accomplishing all its objectives before ushering in the Growth & Innovation Fund (GIF). We will maintain a consistent approach throughout this vital transition, thanks to our strategic partnership with IDH and the support of pioneering brands and retailers, civil society and governmental bodies. Their collective action is central to delivering BCI farming projects around the world.

BCI’s membership grew by a further 50% in 2015. And some of the world’s largest retailers and brands publicly communicated their commitments to procuring sustainable cotton. We are proud that our members are acting on the key sustainability issues we see today in cotton farming, including pesticide and fertiliser use, water management and efficiency, gender issues and labour conditions.

We have also begun to review the Better Cotton Standard System, in order to ensure it remains relevant and continues to drive effective improvements at farm level. We aim to complete this process by 2016.

Importantly, BCI is now entering our defining ‘Mainstreaming phase’, designed to establish Better Cotton as a responsible mainstream commodity, accounting for 30% of global cotton production by 2020. In this way, we aim to catalyse positive change throughout the sector, and promote healthy production for future generations.

Finally, I would like to thank BCI’s partners, members and stakeholders for your ongoing support, and I invite both BCI members and the wider cotton industry to join us in this ground-breaking phase of our evolution.


In 2015, BCI successfully completed our ‘Expansion phase’, exceeding targets and reaching 1.6 million farmers worldwide. Here, we share highlights and results from 21 countries on five continents.


Find more about BCI country programmes using our interactive map


Access information and figures that illustrate BCI’s global reach


Discover how we are creating systemic change through the Better Cotton Standard System


BCI membership grew by 50% in 2015, and we enhanced the Better Cotton Tracer to enable the tracking of Better Cotton sourcing from field to store. In this section you can find information on these and other efforts designed to foster demand for Better Cotton.


Here is how our members and partners are communicating their commitments to Better Cotton, helping to make it a responsible mainstream commodity.

Adidas logo

h and m logo

IDH logo

IKEA logo

Levis logo

M and S logo

Nike logo

WWF logo


BCI remains in a strong financial position and continues to move closer to being 100% financially independent. Our priority remains to invest as much as possible in field-level efforts, including training and capacity building. For example, in 2015, BCI and its partners invested nearly €12 million in 70 farm projects across eight countries.


Thanks to the following individuals and organisations who, by supporting and participating in BCI, are driving change:

  • Our implementing partners, who bring the Better Cotton Standard to life every day and help us reach millions of farmers around the world.
  • Our funding partners–IDH, SECO, SIDA and WWF-Sweden, WWF-Pakistan, GIZ and the Farmer Support Programme (Solidaridad)—for their generous support.
  • All our Retailer and Brand members who are driving demand for Better Cotton and providing funds for farmer support.
  • All the BCI members from across the supply chain who are working with us in creating transformational change within the cotton sector.
  • Cotton Australia and WWF-Sweden for providing the footage used in the video.

We invite BCI members and everyone in the cotton sector to join us as we redouble our efforts and establish Better Cotton as a responsible mainstream commodity.

BCI logo and link

download as pdf