BCI: Top European brand shares sustainability strategies with global suppliers

During the annual suppliers’ meeting of Bestseller brand, Jack & Jones the clothing company shared its latest sustainability strategies and planned targets for Better Cotton sourcing, with global suppliers. The men’s clothing company aims to have 50% of their cotton sourced sustainably by 2018.

Solidaridad’s market developer for the Fashion Programme, Alice Mostert, had a presentation on sustainable cotton and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) during the suppliers’ meeting. She has been involved with BCI for Solidaridad for the past 3 years.

“Better Cotton is a relatively new sustainable cotton option and its member base is growing fast. Brands and retailers like Bestseller are committed to get Better Cotton into their supply chain. They are actively informing and engaging with their suppliers to do this. At the suppliers’ meeting at the end of February, their top 20 suppliers’ showed great interest in BCI. They also wanted to know which spinners use Better Cotton and how to get sustainable cotton into their garments,” Mostert explains.

Impact of Solidaridad BCI projects in various countries

Solidaridad has Better Cotton projects in India, China, Mali, Brazil and Mozambique and is preparing to start new BCI projects. Currently there are 46,000 better cotton farmers in the programme with Solidaridad accounting for 100,000 hectares of land.

“After a number of successful pilots or pre-BCI projects as we call them, we are keen to scale-up. It is important to create a vast availability of supply of Better Cotton to meet the demand and not to drive the price up. Better Cotton is a non-premium product and aims to become a mainstream sustainable commodity, which is an ambitious goal. We are thus happy to work with brands like Bestseller who invest directly into our programme and share the same ambitious goals.”

Bestseller invests in the Solidaridad projects in India with local partner, Basix. This project consists of 3,000 farmers in three different states. Better Cotton farmers focus on minimizing the harmful impact of crop protection, use water efficiently, preserve the natural habitat, care for the health of the soil; and the quality of the fiber and promote decent work.

Experts in agronomic, social and supply chain matters

The Solidaridad Cotton Solutions Network Team in India consists of experts in agronomic, social and supply chain matters. They train the local staff and lead farmers in sustainable developments initiatives on a regularly basis. The project is expected to have an impact at farm level in the reduction of chemical inputs and net income increase of up to a 100%. 

“More and more suppliers and manufacturers are becoming members of BCI and are sharing their experiences,” Mostert emphasized.