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GENEVA – The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has announced that it is now working with more than 350 brands after a number of new brands and retailers, among them Mango, Olymp Benzer and Guess? committed to the initiative in the first quarter of 2018. Remarkably, BCI grown cotton now accounts for 15 per cent of global cotton production.

BCI’s 87 retailer and brand members represent more than 350 individual brand names with, for example, BCI Member H&M representing eight brands alone, these being H&M, COS, Weekday, Cheap Monday, Monki, H&M Home, & Other Stories and ARKET.

All BCI members pay a fee to BCI based on the amount of cotton they source as Better Cotton. This fee is invested into training 1.6 million BCI Farmers on more sustainable agricultural practices such as reducing inputs, including water and pesticides, and also addressing gender equality and child labour issues.

Early last month the revised Better Cotton Principles and Criteria (P&Cs) took effect. The P&Cs are central to the Better Cotton Standard System and lay out the global definition of Better Cotton.

The first major overhaul of the P&Cs was approved by the BCI Council in November 2017 and incorporates several substantial changes. These include a growing emphasis on environmental principles, a shift from water efficiency to a water stewardship approach and a clearer position on gender equality.

BCI, a global not-for-profit organisation, is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. Last year, together with partners, the BCI provided training on more sustainable agricultural practices to 1.6 million farmers from 23 countries.

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