Continental Clothing Company, one of Britain’s largest wholesale t-shirt manufacturers, will launch a new range of Fairtrade organic cotton t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts under its new label FAIR SHARE.
The decision to invest in Fairtrade cotton came about as a result of numerous requests from the market, and sends a strong signal to the rest of the fashion industry that there is growing customer demand for ethically sourced clothing. By offering Fairtrade cotton products, businesses contribute to a more sustainable future for cotton farmers, their communities and the environment.
The first order of 300,000 items is made from Fairtrade cotton grown by members of Pratima Agro Fairtrade co-operative in Orissa, India. The farmers are investing Fairtrade certification premiums in projects to enable women to build businesses and market goods so they have their own independent income. It is expected that Pratima will earn over £9000 in Fairtrade Premiums per year on top of the Fairtrade price and organic premium thanks to the move.
Euan Venters, Commercial Director at the Fairtrade Foundation said: “Thanks to big players like Continental Clothing Company engaging with Fairtrade, cotton farmers can improve their livelihoods and have a brighter future. This is a defining moment for the fashion supply chain, and shows how best practice can be applied all the way from cotton farmer to workers on the factory floor. This manufacturer has set the sustainability bar extremely high and we hope the rest of the industry is taking note.”
Continental Clothing Company have recently announced that they are ring-fencing the normal price escalation in their supply chain to ensure that garment workers in their factory can move towards being paid a living wage, and plan to encourage other brands sourcing from the same supply chain to participate in their new programme.
Fairtrade cotton was launched to put the spotlight on cotton farmers who are often left invisible, neglected and poor at the end of a long and complex cotton supply chain. For farmers, the challenges range from the impact of climate change, poor prices for seed cotton, through to competition from highly subsidised producers in rich countries and poor terms of trade. Through tools like the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium and stronger, more democratic organisations, Fairtrade has sought to provide these farmers with an alternative route to trade and higher, more stable incomes.
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