By  on February 7, 2017

The Better Cotton Initiative said Tuesday that Barry Clarke has been elected chairperson of the BCI Council.Clarke, who was vice chair of the BCI Council, succeeds Susi Proudman, who has stepped down to concentrate on her new role at Nike Inc. as vice president of global apparel and equipment materials.Clarke has specialized in strategic planning for multistakeholder sustainability initiatives, including the Sustainable Agriculture Network and the ISEAL Alliance. He currently serves on the board of the Alliance for Water Stewardship and was previously chair of Save the Children U.K. and the International Save the Children Alliance.The BCI Council is elected by BCI members and is responsible for ensuring the organization has a clear strategic direction and policy to fulfill its mission of making global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. Council members are organizations representing the four membership categories — retailers and brands, suppliers and manufacturers, civil society and producer organizations, supplemented by up to three additional independent members. BCI has grown to about 1,000 members.Clarke, said, “It is an exciting time for the initiative, as we are in a period of rapid expansion to mainstream cotton production. I look forward to collaborating with my council members, BCI staff and our partners to ensure that BCI supports and facilitates the development of cotton farmers globally.”Additional moves on the BCI Council include the election of Phil Townsend of Marks & Spencer as vice chair, and Michelle Miracle, senior director for global apparel at Nike, taking a position on the council.BCI’s key goals are to reduce the environmental impact of cotton production, improve livelihoods and economic development in cotton-producing areas, improve commitment to and flow of Better Cotton throughout the supply chain and ensure the credibility and sustainability of the Better Cotton Initiative.

The Geneva-based organization has more than 1.6 million farmers worldwide, producing in excess of 2.6 million metric tons of Better Cotton.

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