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With Fashion Revolution Day approaching, Fairtrade is calling for brands to pay the true cost of cotton
Cotton is big business, supplying 25.8m tonnes of the raw material to the $294bn global textile trade and the $412bn clothing industry. Cotton is grown by huge agri-businesses in the US as well as by close to 100 million rural households in developing countries, a number that’s more than doubled when workers in transportation, ginning, bailing and storage are taken into account. As well as providing rural employment, cotton plays a major role in the economic and social development of low-income countries, accounting for around 63 per cent of Benin’s export and 72 per cent of Burkina Faso’s.
Do you know where the T’shirt you are wearing was made? How about your favourite pair of jeans? Do you know who cut out the fabric and stitched them together? It’s funny to think that the clothes that fill our wardrobes, that keep us warm and help define our identity are all carefully made by people we’ll never know. Every seam, every zip, every sequin and button was sewn on by someone – those people, the invisible ones, hidden away across supply chains all over the world, whose livelihoods depend on growing cotton, weaving cloth and sewing it into garments for us to wear.
Carry Somers is a pioneer in Fair Trade fashion, creator of ethical brand Pachacuti and the initiator of the Fashion Revolution movement.
It's that time of year: still heady from New Year parties, we all commit to wild new beginnings, reforming ourselves into slim, teetotal nuns dedicated to spreading love and peace. Which is why January can be so depressing: because before long the cold truth dawns that we are in fact much closer to being Bridget Jones than Mother Theresa.
In the world of Fairtrade there is always room for innovation - whether that is developing new products which become Fairtrade firsts, or bringing new groups of farmers into the Fairtrade family, guaranteeing fair prices and a Fairtrade premium for some of the world’s most disadvantaged people.
For me, January brings with it the annual disappointment of breaking my new year’s resolutions.
Even if your personal ethics are important to you, it can still be difficult to stick with them in your business life. It becomes even more tricky when working with luxury goods but paradoxically more important.
Imagine a baby girl born in Kenya today - let's call her Afia - what changes and challenges will she face in her lifetime? When we think about the Global Goals, we should remember the real human stories that lie behind them.
A report on Fairtrade wine published this month by The Co-operative Food couldn’t have come out at a better time. Sales of Fairtrade wine have this year hit an all-time high, reaching almost 30 m bottles a year globally. Last year, in the UK alone, a record 22.2m litres were sold (worth £27.5m), generating vital impacts for grape growing communities across Africa, and Latin and Central America.
Find answers to some of the questions that are frequently asked about Fairtrade.
Ever wondered how many farmers and workers are involved with Fairtrade? Or how the Fairtrade Premium is used? Here's a snapshot from our latest data.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
With Fairtrade you have the power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices you can get farmers a better deal. And that means they can make their own decisions, control their future and lead the dignified life everyone deserves.