CmiA in Numbers
Since 2005, the Cotton made in Africa initiative has been successful in its mission to improve the living conditions of a growing number of African smallholder farmers and puts a "face" on the anonymous mass-produced cotton in international trade that is both positive and recognizable. More and more textile companies worldwide rely on sustainable CmiA cotton. We provide full transparency about our work through measurements studies that are conducted and published online on a regular basis as well as through verification reports and our annual reports.
Cotton made in Africa – Results that Speak for Themselves
The social, environmental, and economic value propositions of Cotton made in Africa are monitored through impact assessment. It documents how participation in the Cotton made in Africa initiative impacts the lives of the participating farmer families and their habitat in the long term.
Impact Monitoring: Measuring Sustainability Goals of Cotton made in Africa
CmiA does more than simply establish criteria under which the cotton is produced and monitors compliance. For us it is important to ensure that the goals of our initiative, namely to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and protect the environment, are actually achieved which we analyze using scientific methods. We pay special attention in particular to:
|Social aspects such as the equality of men and women|
|Ecological aspects such as checking soil fertility and the conservation of natural water resources|
|Economic aspects such as the development of the income situation of farmer families|
|Food security: This includes the adequate supply of food (quality, quantity, and nutritional diversity)|
Social and Economic Impacts: Showing Commitment, Shaping the Future
Since the establishment of Cotton made in Africa in 2005, our work has contributed significantly to making cotton cultivation in our project countries economically and socially sustainable. More and more smallholder farmers are now able to improve their living conditions and those of their families on their own. Thanks to the growing number of participating farmers and the wide geographical reach, the initiative has been able to establish itself as a major player in the cotton sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Today (2015) some 650,0000 smallholder farmers currently benefit from the skills they acquire through training in modern and improved cultivation methods. Including family members, this figure adds up to over 5.5 million people. By working with Cotton made in Africa, the employees in the ginneries benefit from fair contracts and prompt payment. Training on topics of social issues and health educate about health risks in both cotton cultivation and in the family context of smallholder farmers.
Agricultural training enabled the farmers to increase their crop yields compared to a control group that is not part of the Cotton made in Africa initiative by an average of 23 percent and thus to also improve their income.
Cotton made in Africa contributes together with partners in the public and private sectors through cooperation projects to improving the educational infrastructure in the project regions, to ensuring a better drinking water supply and to strengthening the rights of women. These projects that go beyond pure cotton cultivation strengthen the local community and contribute directly to improving the living conditions of African cotton farmers and their families.
Ecological Impacts: Protecting Nature, Saving the Environment
Cotton made in Africa makes a significant contribution to environmental protection in the growing regions through environmentally friendly methods often borrowed from organic farming. Smallholder farmers who grow cotton according to the Cotton made in Africa standards do not use any artificial irrigation and practice rainfed agriculture exclusively. They use only a certain selection of pesticides, increase the use of natural fertilizers by building compost pits, and harvest by hand. They also follow the threshold spraying principle. This means: Only once a field has exceeded a certain level of pest infestation a pesticide is used which is specifically designed to eliminate the pest. Overall, Cotton made in Africa has a proven significantly better environmental track record than conventionally grown cotton. This is the result of two studies on the ecological footprint of Cotton made in Africa, conducted by Systain Consulting and PE International on behalf of the Aid by Trade Foundation. Find both studies here.
As part of the investigation, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of Cotton made in Africa were measured using a life cycle assessment. A life cycle assessment is a systematic analysis of the environmental effects of products, processes, or services throughout a product’s entire life cycle. This includes all environmental effects which are released at the upstream and downstream processes such as the production of raw materials, consumables, and supplies. The latest study shows that CmiA cotton emits up to 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of cotton fiber than conventional cotton and saves more than 2,100 liters of water per kilogram of cotton fiber compared to the global average. Get to know more about it here.