As the world's largest standard for sustainable cotton from Africa, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) now certifies around 40 per cent of the cotton produced by smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Demand from the textile industry for CmiA cotton is up on the previous year by around 79 per cent and the trend is set to continue in 2018.
Additional companies now on board with CmiA include Tendam Global Fashion Retail from Spain, Vlisco from Holland and Gudrun Sjöden from Sweden. Around 1,033,500 smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are currently working with CmiA and growing cotton in accordance with the CmiA sustainability criteria. CmiA cotton is grown by smallholder farmers only in different climatic zones in Sub-Saharan Africa.
New international partners have joined the Demand Alliance for CmiA cotton, adding further strength to the backbone. Tendam Global Fashion Retail, formerly Grupo Cortefiel and one of the leading fashion retailers in Europe, is the first CmiA partner in Spain to sell shirts for men and women with the CmiA seal under the Springfield brand. Beyond using the sustainably grown cotton, the company goes one step further - all CmiA labelled products are manufactured in Ethiopia according to the Hard Identity Preserved (HIP) system. The HIP system ensures complete transparency at every step in the textile value chain, said CmiA in a press release.
In addition, Vlisco Group, the Dutch creator of original, high-quality textiles for the Central and West African markets, is now an official partner of the initiative. Vlisco Group's factories in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire already use significant quantities of CmiA cotton in the production of the Uniwax, GTP and Woodin brands; the Dutch-produced Vlisco brand will follow suit in 2019.
"Working with CmiA fits perfectly with our strategy of doing more in Africa, for Africa, not to mention giving us a unique opportunity to make real a difference with regard to corporate social responsibility", said Fiona Coyne, director sourcing and CSR at Vlisco Group.
More than 30 retailers and brands from the textile industry purchase and process the sustainable raw material and have exceeded their targets for 2017, according to figures for the financial year of 2017. Around 90 million products with the CmiA seal of approval were launched on the market in 2017 in total, representing an increase of 79 per cent in comparison to the previous year.
Income from license fees paid by partnering retailers and brands to use the CmiA brand was also up by 14 per cent on the previous year at around €1.7 million. The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) was therefore financially self-sufficient, managing entirely without public subsidies for the first time. This means that the foundation is putting its mission - helping people to help themselves through trade - into action.
Among the top buyers in 2017 were the Otto Group with market leader bonprix, the Rewe Group, Aldi Süd and Tchibo. Other major customers purchasing CmiA cotton include Engelbert Strauss, Ernsting's family, Asos, Bestseller, Armani, S.Oliver and Hakro. Smaller fashion labels like Hiitu from Germany, Cooee from Great Britain, Weaverbirds from Denmark and Abaana from Uganda are also making an important contribution by selling an exclusive selection of products made from CmiA cotton, ranging from children's clothing to high-end fashion textiles.
"Our partners are demonstrating that sustainable cotton can be used worldwide on a very broad basis in the textile industry. With CmiA, textile companies can reconcile sustainability with profitability and contribute to the protection of the environment and to better working and living conditions for African smallholder farmers and their families," said Tina Stridde, managing director of CmiA, explaining the success of the initiative.
Entrepreneur Dr Michael Otto started up CmiA in 2005 as an independent initiative. The supporting organisation behind the CmiA is the AbTF which is based in Hamburg. (KD)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India