Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund

What we do

The Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF) identifies, supports and invests in field-level programmes and innovations while fostering adoption of the Better Cotton Standard System by governments, trade associations and other entities.


The Fund mobilises contributions through BCI Retailer and Brand Members, the support of public and private donors, and the commitment of BCI's Implementing Partners to co-fund their work.

Who we are

The Better Cotton GIF is governed by the BCI Council in partnership with BCI Retailer and Brand Members, BCI Civil Society Members, and Government Bodies. IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, is the official Fund Manager along with being an important funder.    


To support BCI in its aim 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.


Who is involved in the Fund?

The Better Cotton GIF is governed by the BCI Council, in partnership with BCI Retailers and Brands, Civil Society Members, and Government Bodies. IDH is both the official Fund Manager and an important funder. Representatives from IDH and BCI form the Better Cotton GIF Secretariat, who propose and implement the Better Cotton GIF strategy, manage and process applications and promote knowledge sharing.

Two multi-stakeholder committees support the Fund’s annual investment programme: The Buyer and Investor Committee (BIC) and the Field Innovation and Impact Committee (FIIC). The BIC is charged with linking supply and demand and proposing new strategic initiatives. The FIIC support the annual investment strategy development and application review process. BCI Members who meet certain criteria are invited to join the Better Cotton GIF committees and participate in the development of its investment strategy. Current 2020-21 committee members include representatives from the following organisations.

Buyer and Investor Committee 

Adidas, ASOS, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, BESTSELLER, C&A, GAP Inc., H&M, IKEA, Levi Strauss & Co., M&S, Nike Inc., Tommy Hilfiger, VF Corporation, BCI and IDH.
To be updated in Feb 2021

Field Innovation and Impact Committee 

IDH, BCI, adidas, C&A, Pesticide Action Network, Laudes Foundation and GIZ


How does the Fund work?

BCI works with partners across the world who also invest considerable time and funds in implementing the Better Cotton Standard System at field-level. The financial section of the BCI 2019 Annual Report provides an overview of resources directed to this effort, highlighting the Better Cotton GIF as one component of a global network of supporters.

BCI Retailer and Brand Members also contribute to the Fund through a fee based on the volume of Better Cotton they procure and declare. This fee enables brands to directly and efficiently support field-level programmes. Additionally, the Better Cotton GIF invites global institutional donors and government agencies to match the fees contributed by the private sector.

The Better Cotton GIF plays an important role in enabling projects to reach more farmers and equip them with learning opportunities on sustainable farming practices; however, it is not the only funding mechanism supporting the BCI model.


How is funding allocated?

The Better Cotton GIF makes investments on an annual basis to fund capacity building projects that aim to help farmers adopt practices consistent with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. These projects are delivered by approved BCI Implementing Partners (IPs) in the following strategic focus countries: China, India, and Pakistan. It may also support growth in Central Asia, and throughout Africa, in partnership with the Aid by Trade Foundation. The Better Cotton GIF also supports direct programmes in Turkey, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal. Every September, IPs are invited to submit proposals to the Fund. Following a rigorous review process, funding is allocated to projects that align with the Fund’s annual priorities, long-term strategy and assessment criteria. Shortlisted proposals are presented in January to the Field Innovation and Impact Committee (FIIC), who vote on each proposal.


Long-term goals

By the end of the 2020-21 cotton season, BCI aims to support 5 million farmers through its capacity building programmes, of which the Fund is projected to directly subsidise approximately 80-85%, primarily in India, Pakistan and across the African continent.

Global Portfolio

2018-2019 Portfolio Summary


€14 million


1.3 million
Participating Farmers


2.6 million
Better Cotton Hectares


2.3 million
Metric Tonnes of Better Cotton lint produced


2019-2020 Portfolio Estimate*


€10 million


1.8 million
Participating Farmers


3.6 million
Better Cotton Hectares


3.1 million
Metric Tonnes of Better Cotton lint produced

*non-final figures

Annual Report 2019-2020

Learn more about the Fund’s activities in the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund Annual Report 2019-2020.

Download Report

If you’d like to stay up to date with BCI’s activities, sign up to BCI’s quarterly newsletter.


  • "The beauty of the Fund is that we work with all key cotton stakeholders."

    Pramit Chanda, GIF Fund Manager and Country Director, IDH India

  • "With support from the Fund, we can reach thousands of farmers, get feedback on our budgets and receive training and products for the safety of ourselves and our plants."

    Vishal Patel, Managing Director of Basil Commodities, BCI Implementing Partner, India

  • "In our environment, every penny counts, so the funding we receive from the Better Cotton GIF makes a difference."

    Francisco Santos, CEO of SAN JFS, BCI Implementing Partner, Mozambique

  • "I think the biggest driver behind the Fund’s effectiveness is the involvement of big brands to motivate local suppliers."

    Arif Hamid Makhdum, Director of the Sustainable Agriculture Programme at WWF Pakistan, BCI Implementing Partner

  • "We see BCI as the mainstream model for sustainable cotton."

    Philipp Meister, Senior Director Sustainability Strategy, Adidas


By the end of the 2020-21 cotton season, BCI aims to reach 5 million farmers and account for 30% of global cotton production. It aspires to establish Better Cotton as a sustainable, mainstream commodity, transforming the cotton sector worldwide. The Better Cotton GIF is the main investment mechanism that will help catapult BCI towards these targets.

Over the years, the Better Cotton GIF mobilised investments from various institutions, including the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the German Government’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). Every year, we continue to look for donors who share our goals and are interested to support the Fund.

To achieve this growth, and to enable BCI to continue addressing the most relevant issues in cotton farming and the communities it supports, the Better Cotton GIF is delighted to issue an open invitation to new public and private investors to invest in the Fund. Contributing to the Better Cotton GIF will give you an active voice in driving the success of your investment and in creating a more sustainable future for millions of cotton farmers, businesses, and consumers around the world. With the cotton sector’s progress significantly contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, the Fund now has a clear opportunity to bring BCI’s mission to scale and transform the cotton industry as we know it.

To learn more about how your organisation can get involved, contact Ruchira Joshi: joshi@idhtrade.org.


To learn more about how your organisation could help transform the global cotton industry please contact Lena Staafgard, Chief Operating Officer, BCI.

United Kingdom
Yay! Message sent.
Error! Please validate your fields.


BCI Implementing Partners with proven ability to deliver Better Cotton projects in line with the annual Better Cotton GIF strategy are invited annually to submit project proposals to the Fund.

The following six countries are of strategic focus for the current 2020-21 season funding cycle: China, India, Pakistan, Mozambique, Mali and Turkey. Following a multi-step review process, applications will be formally reviewed by the Better Cotton GIF Field Innovation and Impact Committee in January 2021. Only those approved through a unanimous vote will receive funding.

Organisations who are either:

  • Interested in becoming a BCI Implementing Partner and seeking funding for a project within a Better Cotton GIF focus country or,
  • An existing BCI Implementing Partner interested in seeking funding for a Better Cotton GIF focus country

Are encouraged to submit a request for interest at any time of the year. To begin this process, please contact joshi@idhtrade.org with the subject line “Better Cotton GIF Funding Opportunities”.

If you are a BCI Implementing Partner working in a country that is not a focus area for the Fund, please reach out to your primary BCI contact for more information.


Yay! Message sent.
Error! Please validate your fields.