The Better Cotton Initiative is a comprehensive approach to sustainable cotton production that covers all three pillars of sustainability: the environment, the society and the economy. BCI practice-based Principles and Criteria form the global definition of Better Cotton. These principles and criteria provide rules and guidance to farmers participating on how to achieve better cotton social and environmental sustainability goals.
- Better Cotton farmers minimize the harmful impact of crop protection practices:
Cotton attracts a variety of insects, and is susceptible to diseases and weeds. BCI supports farmers with IPM adoption, to develop better information and understanding of insect behaviour, as well as emphasizing the use of pest control methods rather than using pesticides.
- Better Cotton farmers promote water stewardship:
BCI supports farmers in implementing good water management practices by taking a Water Stewardship Plan at the farm level, which includes mapping and understanding water resources, using proper irrigation and managing the water level along with quality.
- Better Cotton farmers care for the health of the soil:
BCI helps farmers in implementing a soil management plan to maintain and enhance soil health, soil structure, soil fertility, identifying and analyzing soil type and continuously improving nutrient cycling.
- Better Cotton farmers enhance biodiversity and use Land responsibly:
BCI directs farmers to adopt a sustainable and developmental Biodiversity Management System, biodiversity on and around the farm, identify and map biodiversity resources, restore degraded areas, and increase the number of beneficial pests according to the Integrated Pest and management plan, ensuring crop rotation and protection of coastal areas.
- Better Cotton farmers care for and preserve fibre quality:
BCI supports farmers in harvesting, managing and storing seed cotton to minimise trash, and contamination damage and adopting management practices that maximise fibre quality.
- Better Cotton farmers promote decent work:
BCI supports farmers in promoting fundamental principles and rights at work on employment and income opportunities, social protection and social security, and social dialogue; based on international labour standards.
- Better Cotton farmers operate an effective management system:
BCI supports farmers in operating a management system that includes the framework of policies, processes and procedures ensuring they can fulfil all the tasks required to meet the BCI Principles & Criteria; and to enable continuous improvement in farming practices.