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We’re committed to working with Fairtrade to source cotton in an ethical way. Here Subindu Garkhel, Senior Cotton and Textiles Lead at Fairtrade, tells us why buying Fairtrade makes a huge difference.
With high levels of illiteracy and limited land holdings, many cotton farmers live below the poverty line and are dependent on middle men or ginners who often buy their cotton at prices below the cost of production.
Rising costs of production, fluctuating market prices, decreasing yields and climate change are daily challenges, along with food price inflation and food insecurity. The notorious complexity of the cotton and textile supply chain means that farmers have little power to negotiate with others in the chain to secure better prices.
Producer organisations are audited against Fairtrade Standards, which provide a framework for a sustainable approach to production that can have long-term economic, social and environmental benefits for farmers and their communities. The Fairtrade Minimum Price aims to cover the average costs of sustainable production and acts as a safety net for farmers at times when market prices fall below a sustainable level.
The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum of money, paid on top of the selling price, that farmers or workers invest in projects of their choice. They decide together how to spend the Fairtrade Premium, such as improving their farming, businesses, or health and education in their community.
The challenges the world faces are intricately interconnected. We cannot address poverty until we address inequality; rampant development exacerbates climate change; any approach to eradicating child labour and forced labour must address sustainable livelihoods throughout value chains; and a lack of equal rights for women inhibits progress across the board.
Fairtrade cannot achieve this alone, but by working in partnership with governments, with companies, with civil society and with farmers and workers – this ambition for the world can become reality.
Companies like White Stuff, that are seeking sustainable supply chains are a critical component of the Fairtrade system – by sourcing Fairtrade products and licensing the FAIRTRADE Marks, they support farmers and workers at Fairtrade producer organizations to take more control over their own futures.
These businesses also offer shoppers an ever-increasing variety of ethically sourced, independently certified choices, showing trade can be fairer, more sustainable and better for all involved.