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Cotton production chain experiences Fair Labor Practices audit
Sep '09
The Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) is a non-profit rganization seeking to address human needs created by poverty in the Western Hemisphere's second poorest nation by helping communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities; by working with Nicaraguan communities to help them realize their own goals, rather than bringing in "ready-made solutions."

We've spent the past five days accompanying inspectors from Scientific Certification Systems working toward our goal of getting the organic cotton production chain certified in Fair Labor Practices & Community Benefits. SCS does third-party production chain certification, and we are hoping to be the first cotton production chain certified in Fair Labor Practices & Community Benefits which will mean that the garments made with our cotton, gin, yarn etc. will be able to carry a label certifying that the people whose work went into making that product all the way up the production chain were treated fairly, making it the first garment in the world with that status!

Bená Burda from Maggie's Organics came to Nicaragua as well as a representative from the International Labor Rights Fund who was present as an observer at the inspections. All in all, the SCS auditors inspected: 1) Nicaraguan co-ops producing organic cotton (including two women's co-ops) 2) Our cotton gin 3) The Genesis Spinning Plant Cooperative 4) Knitting and dying process in Costa Rica 5) Sewers making organic cotton clothing 6) Maggie's Organics in Michigan

At the sites they inspected in Nicaragua, there are improvements to be made basically in record-keeping and written manuals of different procedures, all of which are relatively easy for us to comply with and relatively uniform across the chain – we can work on basic outline on manuals for the whole chain to use. Achieving this certification (again, we will know more when we receive the auditor's report) will not only assure quality jobs with good conditions for the folks all along the production chain, but it will also allow a consumer to pick up a piece of clothing, see a tag on it and feel good buying it, knowing they are supporting a fair production chain. -- Becca

Center for Development in Central America

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