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Supima Becomes Better Cotton Initiative Implementing Partner

Two of the more influential names in global cotton are getting together.

Supima, the non-profit trade association that owns the Supima trademark and promotes 100 percent U.S.-grown American Pima cotton, has become an implementing partner with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) for the upcoming 2020/2021 harvest season.

In partnership with BCI, Supima will help to establish a greater footprint in the market for BCI-licensed Supima cotton, with the goal of attaining BCI licensing for all Supima cotton growers. This initiative will also act as a bridge for the American Pima industry to meet the demand from brands and retailers for Supima cotton with a verified third-party sustainability license.

Supima and BCI both support the U.S. cotton industry’s development of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol program and look forward to an alignment of programs for a unified sustainability platform based on data, impact and authenticity.

“BCI is delighted to welcome Supima to the team of dedicated implementing partners in the U.S.,” April Kappler, U.S. operations manager for BCI, said. “The partnership is a natural fit–the quality of fiber and advanced farming practices of the Supima member, paired with the only globally recognized sustainability standard for cotton–increases market access for high-quality, U.S.-grown, BCI licensed Supima cotton.”

Supima president and CEO Marc Lewkowitz said the company continues to strive to lead in the premium natural fibers segment through responsible and authentic efforts such as origin verification for all Supima cotton utilizing forensic sciences with Oritain and support of sustainability efforts through the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and the Better Cotton Initiative.

“Supima has a long history working with BCI and initial efforts began in 2013 with Marks & Spencer to source the first U.S.-grown BCI licensed Supima,” Lewkowitz said. “This next step in our partnership with BCI looks to expand the authentic sustainable messaging built around data to bring the most responsible and verifiable identity cotton to the market for our partners to use. Sustainability and responsibility are key messages to the brand and retail markets and doing the right thing is not easy or cheap. The investment by Supima, our licensees, and partner organizations have set the foundation for responsible sourcing and messaging.”

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Founded in 1954, Supima has a global licensing program spanning more than 50 countries and 500 licensees. Products for home and apparel are marketed by top brands and retailers as Supima-branded products to highlight the quality of the products made utilizing America’s premium cotton fiber.

BCI is the largest cotton sustainability program in the world, encompassing organizations from farms to fashion, and textile brands to civil society organizations, driving the cotton sector towards sustainability. Better Cotton accounts for around 19 percent of global cotton production. In the U.S., BCI will license approximately 400 farms in the 2020/21 season.