Better Cotton Initiative

BCottonICotton is one of the most commonly used “natural” materials, but to maximise its production, it is also one of the most intensively grown, relying on continued use of pesticides and fertilizers, and consuming vast amounts of fresh water in regions where water is often scarce.

Created in 2004 by a round table initiative and launched in 2005 with support from WWF, Oxfam. M&S, Adidas, IKEA and others, BCI sought to break this cycle by working with farmers & processors to develop more sustainable farming and production methods whilst at the same time improving the livelihoods and economic development of cotton-producing areas. Today, BCI is working throughout the world, including with over 100,000 farmers in Pakistan who, compared to conventional farming practices, on average use 36% less pesticides, 67% less synthetic fertilizers and 4% less water, as well as ensuring safer working practices and production methods throughout the supply chain.

The future? In the short term, BCI have targetted 2.5 million tonnes of Better Cotton produced by 1 million farmers globally by 2015. Then, by 2020, BCI aims to be working with 5 million farmers worldwide, producing 8.2 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton – about 30% of global cotton production. And choose carefully – it’s on your high street today.

(To visit the BCI website, click on the image above. On the same site you can also search through members to see which brands and companies are already supporting the BCI initiative and using Better Cotton in their products)