What is BCI Certification?

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global not-for-profit organization that works to improve the sustainability of cotton production worldwide. BCI provides a certification program that aims to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future. The BCI certification is awarded to cotton producers who adhere to BCI’s sustainability standards and principles. These standards cover a range of environmental, social, and economic criteria. BCI certification is not a label that appears on the end product (like some other certifications); instead, it certifies the cotton production process. Brands and retailers that source cotton can then claim the use of Better Cotton in their products, indicating a commitment to sustainable sourcing. The BCI aims to transform global cotton production by creating more sustainable supply chains and driving positive change in the cotton industry. The certification process involves training and capacity building for farmers to help them meet BCI standards and improve their practices.

Benefits of BCI Certification?

Environmental Sustainability

Reduced Pesticide Use: BCI promotes the use of integrated pest management and encourages farmers to reduce the reliance on harmful pesticides, contributing to healthier ecosystems. Water Efficiency: BCI emphasizes water stewardship, encouraging farmers to adopt more efficient irrigation practices and minimize water use in cotton cultivation.

Social Responsibility

Improved Working Conditions: BCI certification requires adherence to fair labor practices and safe working conditions, leading to improved livelihoods for cotton farmers and workers. Community Engagement: BCI fosters community engagement, encouraging farmers to work collaboratively with local communities to address social issues and contribute to community development.

Economic Benefits

Market Access: BCI certification can provide farmers with improved market access, as many brands and retailers are increasingly interested in sourcing sustainably produced cotton. Capacity Building: BCI offers training and capacity-building programs for farmers, enhancing their knowledge and skills in sustainable agricultural practices. This can lead to increased productivity and income for farmers.

Transparency and Traceability

Supply Chain Transparency: BCI certification promotes transparency in the cotton supply chain, allowing consumers and businesses to make more informed choices about the products they purchase. Traceability: The certification ensures traceability from farm to market, providing assurance that the cotton used in products comes from BCI-certified, sustainably managed sources.

Continuous Improvement

Adoption of Best Practices: BCI encourages continuous improvement in farming practices, pushing farmers to adopt better and more sustainable methods over time. Innovation: By being part of the BCI program, farmers have access to the latest research and innovations in sustainable agriculture, facilitating ongoing improvement in their operations.

Global Impact

Contribution to Global Sustainability: BCI contributes to the overall sustainability of global cotton production, making a positive impact on the environment, society, and the long-term viability of the cotton sector.

Who can get BCI Certification?

Individual Cotton Farmers

Farm Groups and Cooperatives

Cotton Producers and Organizations

Ginning Mills

Documents Required for BCI Certification?

  • System Manual
  • System Procedure
  • Policy
  • Objectives
  • Mission & Vision
  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
  • Checklist
  • Forms
  • Formats
  • Records

The extent of Documented Information differs as per:

• Organization’s size
• Activities performed by the organization
• Processes undertaken by the Organization
• Products and services offered by the organization
• The complexity of processes undertaken
• Competence of persons involved

Role of Shamkris and Process of BCI Certification

Shamkris adopts a results-oriented approach to effective system implementation in the organization. A simple and practical method of system implementation helps organizations increase business efficiency and sustainability. Shamkris supports 100% documentation to obtain an accreditation body of success in addition to enhanced performance.

The implementation process is described below:

Day 1

GAP Analysis, Certification Body, Selection, Cost Estimates

• Finding the GAP between existing system related to BCI requirements
• Selecting the appropriate certification Body
• Based on the scope of your business & certification Body you choose

Week 1

Developing Documents

• Management System Manual, Management System Procedures, Policy, Objectives, Forms etc.
• Review of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Week 4

Implementing Management System

• BCI Awareness training for the top management and staff
• Implementing a well-documented management system throughout the organization

Week 8

Internal Audit

• Internal audits identifying nonconformities related to BCI requirements
• Management Review Meetings
• Corrective and Preventive Action plan for nonconformities

Week 10

Certification Body
N-C Closing

• Shamkris acts on your behalf and assists you in the third-party audit
• Closing of any nonconformities identified by the certification body

Week 12

Certification Body

• BCI certificates issued for 1 years

Year on Year

Yearly Compliance

• Support of Yearly documentation for audit

BCI Certification is a recognition awarded by the Better Cotton Initiative to cotton producers who meet their sustainability standards. It signifies a commitment to environmentally, socially, and economically responsible cotton production.

BCI certification is available to individual cotton farmers, farm groups, cooperatives, cotton producers, and ginning mills involved in cotton cultivation. Entities in the cotton supply chain, such as brands and retailers, can support BCI-certified cotton.

BCI certification offers environmental benefits by promoting sustainable farming practices, social benefits through improved working conditions, economic benefits by enhancing market access, and transparency in the supply chain.

BCI certification is not typically visible on the end product. Instead, it certifies the sustainability of the cotton production process. Brands and retailers may indicate their use of Better Cotton without necessarily displaying the BCI logo on the product.

BCI promotes environmental sustainability by encouraging reduced pesticide use, water efficiency in irrigation, and the adoption of integrated pest management practices in cotton cultivation.

BCI focuses on social responsibility by promoting fair labor practices, ensuring safe working conditions, and fostering community engagement. It aims to improve the well-being of cotton farmers and workers.

BCI certification involves ongoing commitment and continuous improvement. Farmers and entities in the supply chain are encouraged to adopt better practices over time, contributing to the overall advancement of sustainable cotton production.

BCI emphasizes traceability by promoting transparency in the cotton supply chain. Certified entities are expected to track and document the flow of cotton from the farm to the market.