What is Fairtrade cotton?
At Earthlings we believe in making responsible choices when we source and develop our organic cotton baby and toddler clothing. All of our clothes are made ethically from organic Fairtrade certified cotton.
So why choose Fairtrade cotton?
The economies of some of the world’s poorest countries are dependent upon cotton. Predominantly a smallholder cash crop, cotton is important at both local and national levels.
- Two-thirds of the world’s cotton is produced in developing countries
- 100 million rural households are involved in cotton production
But the price that farmers in developing countries receive for their high quality cotton is driven
down by Northern subsidies and competition from synthetic fibres.
Subsidised cotton production inthe US, EU and China leads to:
- Overproduction, which leads to...
- Dumping of cheap cotton, whichleads to...
- The fall of real cotton prices, which leads to...
- Impoverished livelihoods and eroded economies in developing countries
The production of synthetic fibres like polyester is growing faster than ever before, increasing the pressure on cotton prices and adding to the problems faced by cotton farmers.
Fairtrade certification guarantees a fair and stable price for small-scale cotton farmers – whatever the state of the global market.
By purchasing products made with Fairtrade Certified cotton, you can help reverse the injustices they face.
The pressure to increase yields by using more chemicals in conventional cotton farming threatens human health and environmental sustainability.
Fairtrade farmers are committed to reducing chemical use and protecting the environment.
Fairtrade cotton farmers reduce and replace conventional pesticides and fertilisers with natural alternatives.Many can then go one step further and convert to organic production.
Fairtrade standards prohibit the use of genetically modified cotton seed.
Farmers introduce other crops into rotation patterns, diversifying income and improving soil fertility.
The Chetna Project:
The cotton Mill in India that produces Earthlings organic baby clothing is directly linked with two farmer producers of cotton - namely Chetna Organic and Zameen Organic.
A total of 1,500 farmers are currently involved in Chetna. Chetna Organic began in 2004 with funding support from Solidaridad & ICCO in the Netherlands and is managed by ETC, in Hyderabad, India. Chetna is a Fairtrade certified project. This implies many benefits to participating farmers.
Fairtrade certification coupled with organic certification ensures that the cotton farmer is protected from price fluctuations in the world market and is paid approximately 60% above the price of conventional cotton, a premium which is almost 20% more than the price of non fair-trade certified organic cotton.
An additional 15% premium goes to the group itself and is used to further social, economic and environmental development in the farmer’s village. The price received by farmers through fair-trade market arrangements is ensuring an enhanced standard of living for these farmers.
Fairtrade certified farmers and farmer groups under Chetna receive support and training through adaptive farmer field schools (FFS), which are discovery based and where farmers share and learn from each other.
In the FFS, they are coached and supported on ensuring production quality & quantity through low cost technologies, access to:
Institutional credit, quality infrastructure & extension services, indulging in group certification processes, collective bargaining & marketing of all their farm produce through a sustainable & socially responsible public-private-partnership channel, entrepreneurship development, combining efforts with volumes & being active business partners in the supply chain rather than depending on individual payments from manipulative and exploitative traders & money lenders and holding equity in a national level farmers’ owned and controlled company/association (Chetna) and supply chain.
The FT premium allows establishment of a community revolving credit fund that provides short-term loans so that borrowing from money lenders at exorbitant interest rates is avoided.
Chetna Organic Cotton Project is expected to grow to include 17,000 farmers by 2010 and produce 20% of the organic cotton grown in India.
The FAIRTRADE Label:
Choosing Fairtrade gives small-scale farmers the power to improve their livelihoods.
Look for the FAIRTRADE Label on Earthlings clothing and packaging - it's YOUR independent guarantee that our products have been made using Fairtrade certified cotton.
Fairtrade Cotton is YOUR choice for lasting change