Sustainable cotton achieves record revenues

Some 30 per cent of cotton produced in sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 was certified with the sustainability label Cotton made in Africa (CmiA). The demand for CmiA cotton increased by nearly 50 per cent over 2015.

Around 30 textile companies, including bonprix, Otto, the Rewe Group and Tchibo, use sustainable-certified cotton from sub-Saharan Africa. 50 million textiles were marked with the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) label in 2016, and license revenues for the CmiA label increased by 47 per cent over the previous year to reach close to 1.49 million euros.

Thanks to the boost in sales of CmiA-certified cotton in the textile producing countries, the share of public financial aid to CmiA in 2016 went down to just 1 per cent. The result substantiates the motto of its sponsoring organization: Aid by Trade.

“Every T-shirt and every pair of jeans with the CmiA seal contributes towards combating poverty and thereby counteracting the causes of migration,” Michael Otto, the founder of CmiA, said in a statement.

A total of 20 verification operations were conducted in 2016 to ensure compliance with the CmiA standards. These reviews were carried out by the three independent audit companies EcoCert, AfriCert and Control Union.

“CmiA has now achieved immense importance in the producing countries,” said Bob Akede, lead auditor at AfriCert in Kenya, as CmiA is now the largest standard for sustainable cotton from Africa.

In 2016 alone, some 780,000 smallholder farmers – of which 18 per cent are female – took part in the CmiA initiative and produced 320,000 tonnes of fibre cotton on a cultivation area of 1.1 million hectares.

In addition to its certification label, CmiA also provides assistance and financing for community-based projects such as solar power for training centres.


Image credit: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR via Flickr

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