Aldi launches Fairtrade certified cotton t-shirts

Premium discount store Aldi has extended its commitment to sustainable sourcing by launching its first range of t-shirts made from Fairtrade certified cotton to go on sale in UK stores in Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 (29 February – 13 March).

Premium discount store Aldi has extended its commitment to sustainable sourcing by launching its first range of t-shirts made from Fairtrade certified cotton to go on sale in UK stores in Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 (29 February – 13 March).

The new range of Ladies and Men’s Fairtrade Cotton T-Shirts (£3.99) will be available in stores nationwide from 3 March 2016.

Cotton is grown in more than 100 countries, and plays a major role in the economic and social welfare of developing and newly industrialised countries. However, despite supplying the raw commodity that the multi-billion dollar global clothing and textile industries depend on, growing cotton is failing to provide millions of poor rural households in developing countries with a sustainable and profitable livelihood. With high levels of illiteracy and limited land holdings, many cotton farmers live below the poverty line and are dependent on the middle men or ginners who buy their cotton, often at prices below the cost of production.

By offering Fairtrade cotton products, businesses contribute to a more sustainable future for cotton farmers, their communities and the environment.  Members of Agrocel hope to invest their Fairtrade Premium from Fairtrade sales in funding higher education for farmers’ children, upskilling women in local craft businesses and building a water, pesticide and carbon footprint database of individual farmers and using technology to share with brands.

Cotton farmer and Agrocel member Parbatbhai Suzabhai said:

“Fairtrade has helped improve our lives in many ways. Before joining, I sold my cotton through local traders with huge problems. Payments were not on time, I was cheated in weight and price. Now I can avoid these problems. And we have increased our food security through rain water harvested drip irrigation and a seed programme. We produce rotational crops to increase our income and there are technical services. We also have an empowerment programme.”

Euan Venters, Commercial Director of the Fairtrade Foundation said:

“Congratulations to Aldi for fashioning a brighter future for Fairtrade cotton farmers in India. Lots of us care about how we look – and buying clothes made with Fairtrade cotton means we help the fashion business and at the same time help low income cotton farmers around the world. Fairtrade supports farmers’ to have more control of their future and more secure lives for themselves and their communities. Fairtrade cotton has grown in value by 28% globally in the last year alone and Aldi’s move will further contribute towards improving farmer’s livelihoods.”

Fairtrade Standards provide a framework for cotton farmers to form democratic organisations or strengthen existing organisations. This enables farmers to increase their negotiating power in the marketplace, improve business systems, access new markets, develop long-term trading partnerships and implement sustainable farming practices. Fairtrade Minimum Prices contribute to financial stability, while Fairtrade Premium can be invested in improving cotton quality and productivity, climate change adaptation and improving community welfare.

The new cotton range builds on existing Fairtrade commitments made by Aldi in 2011 to convert a range of bananas, coffee, tea, flowers and chocolate to Fairtrade in a programme that quickly rolled out to other Fairtrade markets such as Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Jonathan Neale, Joint Managing Director for Corporate Buying at Aldi, comments:

 “We’re proud to offer clothing that supports the Fairtrade project, which brings life changing development to communities by improving working and living conditions, education and health care.”

The Fairtrade Cotton Briefing provides a detailed overview of the cotton industry and its challenges, and explores why Fairtrade is needed and what it can achieve.

 

Aldi’s range of Fairtrade Cotton T-Shirts will be available in stores from the 3rd March, as part of the Ladies and Men’s Spring Fashion range. But get down there quickly; as with Specialbuys, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

 

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