Cotton is one of our most important raw materials. We’ve almost achieved our goal of using 100% sustainable cotton. The lion’s share comes from the Cotton made in Africa initiative of which we are the biggest partner.
Cotton made in Africa – in short “CmiA” – stands for sustainability in the broadest sense of the word. The initiative promotes conservation and high-quality cotton, as well as social responsibility for people working in sustainable cotton fields and ginning factories.
The Cotton made in Africa initiative is supported by the Aid by Trade Foundation. It follows the principle of self-help through trade. The certified cotton is highly sought after by a global alliance of textile companies and brands. They pay a license fee to use the Cotton made in Africa label.
License fee proceeds are fed back into helping smallholder farmers grow cotton in line with CmiA principles, securing their own livelihoods and improving those within their communities
In concrete terms: unlike conventional cotton, no genetically modified seeds or hazardous pesticides are used. There’s a 40% reduction in CO₂ per kilo of CmiA cotton. What’s more, crops are only grown using rainfed cultivation methods, saving over 2100 litres of water for every kilo of CmiA cotton harvested. Strict cultivation criteria also help preserve local biodiversity.
Regular training workshops show farmers how they can grow cotton in a more eco-friendly and efficient way. Every farmer is actively encouraged to have their say. Schemes discouraging child labour and endorsing education, gender equality and equal pay all help improve the lives of those in local communities.
Over a million smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa now grow cotton sustainably with support from the Cotton made in Africa initiative.
Find out more about the Criteria for Cotton made in Africa.