Get to know from Fernand Sadou, who works for the CmiA certified Cotton Company Sodecoton in Cameroun, what changes have been realized for farmers through trainings - thanks to every single CmiA product: “Since we have been a partner of CmiA a lot has changed for us. In my opinion, the content of the trainings must be mentioned in the first place. Farmers have received training for better management to manage their fields. They have learned how to plan the season ahead in advance, calculate their income and revenues, and how they draw the balance of the last season. In addition, there is also a training module on nutrition, where they learn how to get a balanced diet and what advantages this offers for their family, especially the children. Consequently, they can manage their fields in a targeted manner. We only received positive feedback from our farmers to these new trainings. A second major change since the start of the CmiA partnership is that the earnings of our farmers have increased significantly. Previously they had an average of 800 kg per hectare and this season it will be about 1300 kg per hectare. Therefore, they have, of course, much more money than before.” You want to support and create impact yourself, connect with us on www.wearasmile.org #WearaSmile with @CottonmadeinAfrica!
For Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), the protection of valuable natural resources and a better life for smallholder farmers in Africa are our first priorities. We pursue these goals passionately. This is why we now launched our Wear a Smile campaign answering the question how each and everybody can be part and also wear and spread the smile in the world.
Wear a smile with Cotton made in Africa:
You get more than just a nice fashion-piece when you buy a piece of clothing with a Cotton made in Africa labelled product. We are working with about 30 textile companies and brands producing a diverse range of beautiful CmiA textiles for you. For the purchase of CmiA jeans and shirts, accessories or even bedding you can give yourself a special smile - just look for our little red Cotton made in Africa logo.
Make farmers wear a smile with Cotton made in Africa:
Instead of donating, we associate African smallholder farmers with companies on a level playing field. More than 695,000 cotton farmers and their families benefit from our commitment: smallholder farmers get better working conditions, children can go to school and female smallholder farmers are strengthened in their professional independence. You can make more than 5 million people in Africa wear a smile that makes them proud and independent of donations.
Give back a smile to nature with Cotton made in Africa:
Each CmiA product protects the environment and its natural ressources: no monocultures, no deforestation of rainforests, no genetically modified seeds, no dangerous pesticides. Only rainwater instead of irrigation - thereby Cotton made in Africa saves more than 500 liters of water per T-shirt. CmiA also helps to protect our climate, because CmiA Cotton emits 40% less greenhouse gases than conventionally produced Cotton - per kilogramm of cotton.
The main reason for you to smile:
With Cotton made in Africa, you make yourself and others happy, without paying or having to do anything else - except rewarding you with a nice piece of clothing.
Become part of the community and do not miss anything. Log in at wearasmile.org.
Since 2008, the Cotton made in Africa Standard has contributed to making sub-Saharan smallholder cotton production more sustainable. As of now, up to 700,000 smallholder cotton farmers in ten countries of sub-Saharan Africa have been certfied according to the CmiA standard. To continuously improve the CmiA standard, the AbTF has launched a standard revision process in 2015. We would now like to invite all interested parties to take part in the public consultation and give us feedback.
The certification according to CmiA criteria allows cotton companies to trade their lint cotton under the CmiA denomination. Retailers partnering with CmiA can use the consumer-facing CmiA label. To award CmiA sales certificates, the AbTF commissions independent and ISO accredited control bodies in sub-Saharan Africa to regularly conduct third-party verifications of all CmiA partners both on the agricultural production, on the first level of processing (ginnery) and management level of the partnering cotton companies. During these audits, the independent auditors check both compliance with Minimum Criteria and continuous improvement towards sustainability - measured against Development Criteria.
Since the CmiA Standard came into force in 2008, it has been continuously improved. In 2016, we are already at the revision of vol. 3.1 to CmiA Standard Vol. 4. For the CmiA standard revision process, the Aid by Trade Foundation has called together its Technical Advisory Group on Standard and Verification, which comprises about 20 members from all stakeholder groups - cotton producers, traders, retailers, auditors, donors and implementation partners as well as non-governmental organizations.
The first draft of CmiA Standard vol.4 has been commented through the Technical Advisory Group members in internal feedback loops starting in September 2015, as well as during a face-to-face meeting at the annual CmiA Stakeholder Conference in October 2015. The second round of consultation is again taking place internally within the Technical Advisory Group.
Here you can access the ISEAL public consultation platform and give us your feedback until August, 22nd 2016.
By means of every single Cotton made in Africa product you support us in giving children in Africa the chance to get a school education. Cotton made in Africa protects children from dangerous child labor, initiates school projects and provides training to the farmers in order to protect children. Especially in rural Africa not self-evident. Also agricultural trainings and business tranings for the farmers have indirectly a huge impact for children. Rosalie from Cameroun is one of the CmiA farmers who speaks about the benefits she got out of the Trainings and which Impact this had for her and her children: “Because of the trainings the resulting profit allows me to pay the school fees for my children. This makes me particularly happy because my children used to live with their fathers, but they did not send them to school.”#WearaSmile with @cottonmadeinafrica. You want to support and create impact yourself, connect with us on www.wearasmile.org #WearaSmile with @CottonmadeinAfrica!
For over 10 years Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) has been working with people along the textile value chain - from the field to the point of sales. Together, they are working towards a situation where a sustainability strategy spawns a culture of sustainable consumption. All the more reason to give them the stage in the 2015 annual report for the 10th anniversary of the Foundation. The interviewed CmiA partners talk about challenges and opportunities in connection with an issue which could not be more urgent or more topical in view of environmental disasters and refugee crises.
Cotton made in Africa was established in 2005 with the aim of combining sustainability and profitability and thereby offering both smallholders and companies successful sustainable perspectives on their economic activities to date. The flight of hundreds of thousands of people to Europe and the increasing pressure on our ecosystems demonstrate that CmiA is still relevant after its foundation by Dr. Michael Otto in 2005. Sustainably produced raw materials are becoming more and more important for CmiA partner Stefano Caccia from the company Denim de l’Ile (DDI) in Mauritius which makes denim products for international brands. “Sustainability is currently the most important subject in the denim industry. Everyone is rethinking their production process and supply chain in relation to this subject,” he said. “CmiA is a great help to us in this respect. Demand from customers is increasing, we have an advantage over our competitors, and all at fair prices. We are delighted to see how sustainability is finally becoming “sexy”.”
In the financial year of 2015, 30 textile companies and brands together paid over EUR 1,000,000 as license fees in order to be supplied with CmiA cotton. Revenues from partnership contributions went up due to the growing worldwide network of CmiA partners. The money is used to finance the work of CmiA in the project regions.
Around 750,000 smallholders have now received agricultural, social and business management training in close cooperation with their partner, the Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI), and the cotton companies in Africa. This training is enabling them to achieve lasting effects through the increase in their yield and income. In addition, local projects in environment, empowerment of women, education and health will be funded through the new CmiA Community Cooperation Program. This was launched to mark the 10th anniversary of the Foundation with an endowment of 1 million euro from Dr. Michael Otto.
The annual report is available to download free of charge in German and English here.
CmiA joins the UK’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) to actively support the change within the textile supply chain and work together on a more sustainable textile industry in the UK. As part of the SCAP 2020 Commitment retailers and brands can reduce their carbon, waste and water footprint of clothing by sourcing CmiA certified cotton.
Cotton is the most widely used raw material for global textile production and can have a large environmental impact if it is not produced in a sustainable way. Cotton made in Africa promotes sustainable production and makes a significant contribution to environmental protection due to its environmentally friendly growing and processing methods. “CmiA offers retailers and brands in the UK the unique chance to adhere to their commitment to SCAP to reduce their carbon and water footprint by 15% by 2020 due to CmiA’s proven track record in producing much lower carbon and water impacts. The new cooperation between SCAP and CmiA is a great opportunity for more sustainability in the textile supply chain for UK retailers and brands”, says Abi Rushton, Associate Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation in the UK. More than 50 organizations including retailers such as Asos, Ted Baker, Arcadia Group, New Look, John Lewis and Tesco have already signed up to SCAP, which is led by WRAP, the UK’s resource efficiency experts.
Smallholder farmers who grow cotton according to the Cotton made in Africa standard do not use any artificial irrigation and exclusively practice rain fed agriculture. CmiA cotton saves more than 2,100 liters of water per kilogram of cotton fiber compared to the global average. CmiA partner retailers can save up to four bath tubs of water per one single t-shirt by using CmiA cotton instead of conventional cotton. Additionally, CmiA farmers learn good agricultural practices, increase the use of natural fertilizers by e.g. building compost pits, do not use highly toxic pesticides in accordance with international conventions and harvest by hand. As a result, CmiA cotton emits up to 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of cotton fiber than conventional cotton. These are the results of a study on the ecological footprint of Cotton made in Africa cotton, conducted by PE International.
“We are pleased about the cooperation with SCAP and are eager to take an active part in SCAP’s aim to reduce resource use and secure recognition for corporate performance by helping SCAP hit the sector-wide targets of reducing carbon, water and waste by 15% by 2020. Together, we offer UK retailers and brands, which are looking for a sustainable raw material, a simple solution with a major impact for their ecological footprint“, concludes Tina Stridde, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation.
“We are delighted that Aid by Trade Foundation has joined SCAP. More sustainable forms of cotton such as Cotton made in Africa represent a significant opportunity for clothing retailers and brands to drive reductions in their carbon, water and waste footprints”, concludes Sarah Clayton, Head of Products & Services, WRAP.
About Cotton made in Africa
Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) which helps people to help themselves through trade in order to improve the living conditions of cotton farmers and their families in sub-Saharan Africa. Smallholders from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe are currently participating in CmiA. Training courses teach the cotton farmers modern, efficient and environmentally-friendly cultivation methods which help them to improve the quality of their cotton, generate higher yields and therefore earn a better income for them and their families. For more information on Cotton made in Africa please visit: http://www.cottonmadeinafrica.org/en.
SCAP’s ambition is to improve the sustainability of clothing across its lifecycle. By bringing together industry, government and the third sector we aim to reduce resource use and secure recognition for corporate performance by developing sector-wide targets. The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) is led by WRAP - the UK’s resource efficiency experts. For more information on WRAP please visit www.wrap.org.uk or follow us on Twitter - @WRAP_UK. For more information on the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan please visit: www.wrap.org.uk/content/sustainable-clothing-action-plan-1