BCI revises Better Cotton Principles and Criteria

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has revised Better Cotton Principles and Criteria (P&Cs), the mainstay of the Better Cotton Standard System which lays out the global definition of Better Cotton. By adhering to the P&Cs, BCI farmers produce cotton in a way that is better for environment and farming communities. Farmers will be trained on the revised standards.

The first major overhaul of the P&Cs was approved by the BCI Council in November 2017.

There is an increased emphasis on environmental principles. The reinforced approach towards pesticide use and restriction includes phasing out highly hazardous pesticides and banning pesticides listed in the Rotterdam Convention. The use of minimum personal protective equipment (PPE) when applying pesticides has also been integrated into the Standard.

The Standard has also shifted focus from a water efficiency to water stewardship approach, in order to notably address collective action towards local sustainable use of water. A water stewardship pilot project was launched in October 2017 to test the new approach across small, medium and large farms in India, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan and Mozambique.

The approach to biodiversity now focuses on the identification, mapping and restoration or protection of natural resources. A new ‘land use change’ approach, based on high conservation value assessment, is a safeguard against any planned conversion of land for the purpose of growing Better Cotton. The new method will be tested in high-risk countries.

On social issues, the Standard now provides a clear position on gender equality, which is aligned with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work agenda requirements on gender. Guidance on various topics such as child labour, sanitation facilities and equal payment has also been included.
As of this month farmers will be trained on the revised Better Cotton Standard. (SV)

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