Refecting its growth and global reach, the Better Cotton Initiative has promoted Lena Staafgard, who was program director, global supply, to the new position of chief operating officer.
Staafgard reports to Alan McClay, chief executive officer of the Geneva-based global sustainable cotton group. In her new role, Staafgard will oversee the global operational effectiveness of the organization, including the supply program.
Staafgard joined BCI in 2010 as business director, overseeing membership, fund-raising, finance, human resources and operations. In 2015, she transitioned to the role of program director, global supply, responsible for national government engagement and implementation of the Better Cotton Standard at field level in all countries of operation.
She developed the BCI Growth & Innovation Fund in partnership with IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, which supports Better Cotton projects in eight countries. Prior to joining BCI, Staafgard worked for many years at Forum for the Future in London, advising the private sector on how to integrate sustainability into their business models and strategies.
“The fast expansion and ambitious plans of BCI have prompted us to strengthen the management structure of the organization with the creation of the new role of chief operating officer, overseeing global operations,” McClay said. “We are delighted that Lena is stepping into this role, where she will be applying her skills and experience to strengthen organizational efficiency and accelerate the growth of BCI.”
Established in 2009, BCI’s mission is 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 by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. In 2015, BCI trained 1.5 million farmers who produced 2.7 million metric tons of Better Cotton, equaling 12 percent of global cotton production. BCI now operates in 21 countries.
BCI counts some 700 member companies and organizations, including major retailers and brands such as Adidas, H&M, Ikea, Levi Strauss & Co., Marks & Spencer and Nike Inc.
By 2020, BCI anticipates that Better Cotton will be recognized as a mainstream sustainable commodity, with the Better Cotton Standard System part of day-to-day business in the cotton sector. BCI aims to have five million Better Cotton farmers producing 8.2 million metric tons of Better Cotton by 2020, representing 30 percent of global cotton production.