The savannas of Africa are home to a diverse animal and plant life. However, extensive agriculture threatens biodiversity. In Biodiversity (English Biodiversity, composed of the words “Biology” and “diversity”) refers to the biological diversity at all organizational levels of life – in the ways in which genetic diversity of fauna and flora as well as in all ecosystems. These three levels are closely linked: animals and plants need to survive intact ecosystems, and adequate genetic variability.

An ecosystem in turn only works if it is home to a range of species. Intact habitats are essential for the genetic diversity of an ecosystem. If this balance is disrupted by external influences, it often has unexpected consequences for people, plants and animals. At the end of a complex cause-effect chain is the extinction of entire species and the destruction of ecosystems.  

This allows the natural climatic extreme events such as long dry periods to cope with deteriorating. It is obvious: the effects of declining biodiversity mainly affect poor populations in the country, because they include directly dependent on the fertility of their soil.

Anthony Corsano, Chief Executive Officer of Anvil Knitwear explains the deepening of the company’s sustainability strategy: “Cotton made in Africa is another source of sustainable fiber for Anvil. It is rain fed, utilizes principles of soil conservation, reduces pesticides, and incorporates important ILO labor principles. We also hope our purchases help African smallholder farmers improve their own living standards.”

Headquartered in New York, Anvil Knitwear produces sportswear and accessories under the Anvil® brand and for major private label brands. Anvil has earned its reputation in the textile sector as a transparent sustainability pioneer, marketing its sustainable projects through its AnvilOrganic® and AnvilSustainable® collections.

Win-win situation for textile companies and cotton farmer.

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) operates on the principles of a social business. An entrepreneurial approach that builds on an alliance of international textile company, the demand sustainably produced cotton specifically on the world market and process.

Cotton made in Africa is under the rules of the market and avoids subsidies and intervention in the scheme of world market prices, which depend, as with almost any commodity, supply and demand.

Order made ​​in Cotton Textiles in Africa-quality produce may be leading textile company of the Allianz demand a license fee to the Foundation from. The achieved surpluses in accordance with the principle of a social business passed on to those partners that they have their work permits by – the African small farmers.

From this holistic approach will give all parties a win-win situation

The partners of the alliance will demand for social and environmental standards produced cotton, without having to pay a significantly higher price. The small African farmers and their families have several advantages: they learn more efficient farming methods to higher crop yields to improve their incomes and benefit from social projects like the expansion of school infrastructure. The planned future returns from surpluses improve the income of cotton producers.

Various initiatives, different approaches

Many initiatives are aimed at small farmers involved to improve the living conditions here and give impetus to expand the market for sustainable cotton. To achieve this, they have different approaches. Cotton made ​​in Africa, cotton has some similarities with other initiatives for sustainable production and marketing but differs on key points.

Due to the growing international demand alliance and the resulting growth in demand for African cotton, Cotton made in Africa provides for higher income and better living conditions of small farmers. A special feature is the Cotton made in Africa verification system. This starts with the cotton companies, causing lower verification costs and certification systems that start with the individual farmers or farmer groups. That is, a large part of the yield in future royalties will directly benefit the farmers and their families.

Sustainable cultivation of cotton

Some other initiatives are concerned with the cultivation and marketing of organic cotton. Because these in cultivation are still quite expensive but they can meet the pricing requirements of the mass market are often not today and will remain for now at least a niche product. Large retailers want to buy the raw cotton as favorable as possible, not because consumers are generally willing to give the higher purchase prices. Cotton made in Africa wants to sell as much African cotton on the world market in order to turn possible to improve the living conditions of many small farmers. Therefore has to prove the CmiA cotton in the mass market.

Cotton made ​​in Africa, cotton is not organic cotton. Sustainable cultivation of the raw material is given: Together with its partners, the initiative provides training farmers in modern and efficient production methods that make a conscious, that is the least possible, use of pesticides. In addition, rain-fed cultivation in crop rotation operated. The initiative works closely with organizations, however, the organic cotton together to promote increased sales of sustainably produced cotton to achieve together.

“Sustainability” – More than just a trend word

For Aid by Trade Foundation is, the concept of sustainability in economics (profit), social (People), and ecology (planet) together. The Aid by Trade Foundation defined a set of “sustainability indicators”:

Cotton made in Africa as an agent for social projects

Cotton made ​​in Africa make Public Private Partnerships (PPP) are possible. Explanation: The special feature of PPP projects is that agencies or public institutions (public) with the private sector (private) unite public, a task also financially accomplish together. The initiative takes on the role of the pulse generator and facilitator: it displays and opportunities for promotion needs, bringing both sides to the table for implementation of collaborative projects to ensure the best possible. In the case of Cotton made ​​in Africa, it usually goes to projects that promote the social infrastructure. For example, education projects in primary education and adult education.

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