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H&M, Ikea and Gap Top Better Cotton Initiative’s 2018 Leaderboard

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has released its 2018 Leaderboard of retailer and brand members, the top 15 of which represented 88 percent of the Better Cotton that was sourced last year.

The top five companies were a mix of retailers and brands in apparel and home furnishings. They were led by merchants Hennes & Mauritz, Ikea and Gap Inc., followed by apparel and footwear brands Adidas and Nike Inc.

The next 10 included apparel companies Levi Strauss & Co., PVH Corp., C&A, Bestseller, VF Corp. and OVS Spa, and retailers Decathlon, Target Corp., Marks &  Spencer and Tesco.

The “fastest movers” of 2018 (listed in alphabetical order) were Benetton, Burberry Ltd, Fatface Ltd, Gant AB, Gap, HEMA BV, La Redoute, Marimekko Corp., Nike, Olymp Bezner KG, Peak Performance, PVH and Stadium AB. These retailers and brands increased their volumes of cotton sourced as Better Cotton by more than 20 percent compared to 2017.

“Cotton is our main raw material and it’s a natural choice for our consumers,” Simone Colombo, head of corporate sustainability at OVS, said. “However, we know that being natural doesn’t necessarily mean being sustainable. That’s why, in 2016, we decided to source only more sustainable cotton by 2020. BCI represents a core pillar in our strategy to reach that goal as the initiative increases cotton farmers’ capabilities to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and focus on continuous improvement.”

Dorte Rye Olsen, sustainability manager at Bestseller, said since joining BCI in 2011, “we’ve increased our uptake of Better Cotton year on year and invested in farmer training and support.

“Bestseller has a target to source 100 percent of its cotton more sustainably by 2022–to achieve this we source Better Cotton, Cotton made in Africa, organic cotton and recycled cotton,” Olsen said.

BCI has a goal to reach and train 5 million cotton farmers by 2020. In order to achieve this, BCI calls on its members to be as ambitious as possible in setting Better Cotton sourcing targets.

“We’re pleased to note that of BCI’s current 125 retailer and brand members, 27 already have a public target to source 100 percent of their cotton more sustainably by 2020,” BCI said. “An additional 23 members have sustainable sourcing targets that are set for just beyond 2020.”

In 2018, 92 BCI retailer and brand members sourced more than 1 million metric tons of Better Cotton, a new record for BCI. This represented 4 percent of global cotton consumption.