The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. Together with their partners they provide training on sustainable farming practices to more than two million cotton farmers across 21 countries and aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.

Oxford HR worked with the BCI to find their current CEO, Alan McClay. Alan has extensive experience with supply chains, consumer goods and social compliance; given his skillset and what BCI were looking for, he feels it was a perfect match.

Alan is thrilled to have been able to take up such a unique role. “BCI was an extraordinary opportunity. It’s a unique organization and the founders were visionary. The team I lead is an extraordinary collection of talent and drive. It’s exciting and it continues to be exciting.”

Asked what BCI’s plans are for the year ahead, Alan describes that, as an organization, they are still working to achieve the stretch goals they had in place prior to his joining, as these allow the team to outperform and keeps them on their toes. Alan will also focus on the 2030 plan, “which will be well designed and aligned with the SDGs.” He stresses the importance of building robustness and attention to infrastructure, as BCI has seen accelerated growth and needs to be brought to cruising speed. “BCI has proved itself and there’s a lot that can be done, and a lot that needs to be done. Growth takes management and staying power, but I’m lucky to be in this situation. There’s a long future ahead.”

Alan’s comments on the Oxford HR involvement, were that it was a seamless process. “I felt supported and well guided and felt I had all the information I needed; light touch guidance without being intrusive.”