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LONDON – The Better Cotton Initiative has announced that it welcomed 210 new members in the first half of 2020, including 32 retailers and brands from 15 countries, 157 suppliers and manufacturers, and 21 cotton traders. The announcement means BCI membership has now surpassed 2,000 members.

The new figures are remarkable – if that’s the right word – given that it was only in November last year that an investigation by Apparel Insider found BCI had quietly ditched its Chinese Implementing Partner, XPCC Cotton & Linen Company.

This organisation is part of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) – known as the Bingtuan in Chinese – which administers its own prison system and associated factories in Xinjiang.

A report into The XPCC’s Cotton & Linen Company concluded that it, “is very likely [to] handle cotton produced by XPCC prison enterprises.”

Meanwhile, in March, BCI announced there will be no licensed Better Cotton from Xinjiang in (2020-21). Around a fifth of the global amount of Better Cotton originates from Xinjiang, which is by far China’s largest cotton growing region. However, with the US slapping import bans on all textile and cotton products from Xinjiang, it looks inevitable that BCI will be forced to completely exit the Chinese market – for the time being, at any rate.

The retailers and brands that joined BCI in the first half of the year include: 7 For All Mankind, A.S. Watson BV, ABASIC S.L., ADT Group Holdings Pty Ltd, All Saints, AMC Textil Ltda, Brown Thomas Arnotts, C. & J. Clark International Ltd, Cawo Textil GmbH & Co., CIVAD, Craghoppers Ltd, Fynch-Hatton GmbH, Grupo Guararapes, Holy Fashion Group, Kentaur, Kesko, Lerros Modern GmbH, Love for Denim B.V., Magic Apparels Ltd, Margaret Howell, Matalan Retail Ltd, Nelly AB, Pepkor UK Retail Ltd, Pick n Pay Clothing, Pimkie Diramode, Seed Heritage, TFG Brands Ltd, Tommy Bahama, Uchino Co., Ltd, Van Gils Fashion B.V., Weber & Ott AG and Whitbread plc.

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